Myopia

Richard Dent, Ronilson Freire, and Patrick Berkenkotter. Dynamite, $19.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-5241-1943-0

In Dent’s intricate but overwrought dystopian steampunk debut, Earth teeters on the brink of environmental collapse, while the general population’s so plugged into an all-encompassing social network they don’t comprehend the impending apocalypse. Two hundred years in the future, the omnipresent agency known as the Central Lens Network has rendered privacy and autonomy obsolete, and it observes and influences the thoughts and experiences of nearly every living human. Few exist outside the system and dream of freedom from this bleak, joyless world where the government, big business, and the entertainment industry function as one. Twelve-year-old Matthew Glen discovers a pair of lenses invented by his murdered scientist father that will allow him to access the Network undetected. This attracts the attention of his father’s eccentric colleague, James Chase, an adventurer who—alongside his trained pet falcon—promised he would protect Glen’s family. Matthew’s newfound sight sets in motion a chain of events that could topple the network. The murder mystery and fragmented structure of the plot are ambitious, but the script focuses so much on worldbuilding that it becomes myopic. Readers will appreciate the big ideas but find the lack of character development leaves them skimming at a surface level. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow and Nesbit; Kim Yau, Echo Lake Entertainment. (May)
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