Saturday, February 11, 2006

Déjà Vu by Ian Hocking


Jon Courtenay Grimwood, writing in The Guardian Review:

"Investigator Saskia Brandt is dedicated to fighting high-level crime, or at least she thinks she is. David Proctor has no memory of bombing a British research facility in 2003, but plenty of people seem to think he did it. Then there's Bruce Shimoda, who is doing his absolute best to hide from a metal shark. While John Hatfield is a billionaire American philanthropist. Unless, of course, he's something else ... Ian Hocking's first novel mixes terrorism, time travel, counterintelligence and virtual reality.

"What makes Déjà Vu interesting is the understated, almost 1950s feeling Hocking brings to what is essentially a post-cyberpunk novel about murder and identity. His layering of the narrative is thoughtful and the way he makes events from different decades mirror each other shows quiet skill. This is a small-press publication; as such, it probably won't get the exposure it deserves. Larger publishers may want to take note."

Saskia Brandt will return in Flashback.

Déjà Vu is available from Amazon and a number of other locations.

Reviews

'A crisply-written, fast-paced thriller that makes assured use of cutting-edge science fiction ideas.'

--- Ken MacLeod, best-selling author of The Star Fraction.

'You've never read anything like it before.'

--- SFX

'I was enthralled and contagiously compelled to carry on throughout. The level of computerisation of daily life is plausible and handled with casual panache. It's gripping, fascinating, and powerful, and really well written, with wonderful pace.'

--- Ian Watson, screenwriter Artificial Intelligence: AI

'An interesting debut novel that successfully blends cyberpunk and technothriller and presents a few good sci-fi ideas along the way. ...The scenes set inside the digital world developed by Proctor and his partner Bruce Shimoda are particularly impressive. [This book] suggests that Hocking (whose first novel this is) can create interesting scenarios. There are some inventive and witty AI conceits, and Hocking's near-future world is neatly extrapolated from ours.'

--- Andy Sawyer, The Alien Online [read in full]

'The novel mixes real and virtual worlds with an absorbing near-future thriller narrative and intriguing ruminations on the nature of memory and self and has genuine cross-over appeal beyond the SF&F genre. The reviews he’s picked up ... point to a new voice in Brit SF that we should all be taking an interest in.'

--- Joe Gordon, Forbidden Planet International [read in full]

'A multi-threaded, thought-provoking sci-fi thriller. The story balances technology and people nicely, having the right mixture of both - the character building doesn’t overshadow the technology, and visa versa. There are some well thought out uses for technology, some of which I think are unique. Interaction between the characters is well thought out. It is always a nice suprise to see a debut novel such as Déjà Vu. Thoroughly recommended.'

--- Richard Hawkins, SciFi.uk.com [read in full]

'Déjà Vu is a pacey, crisply-written thriller set in a plausible near future. A clever blending of traditional SF tropes with cyberpunk shadings, there are some intriguing notions and a skilfully woven mystery element. Ian Hocking’s debut novel displays both sound scientific extrapolation and a mature confidence.'

--- Stan Nicholls

'I found Déjà Vu to be fast-paced, complex, ambitious, and written in a mature, clean-lined style that belied its status as a first novel. I felt that it trod a careful line between the all-comers accessibility of the contemporary thriller, and the more targeted ideas-driven pleasures of genre SF. In the first of these areas I found the principal characters real-feeling and engaging, while in the second the of issues of identity and personality were given a treatment that was detailed and fresh and which genuinely -- to my eye at least -- seemed to break new ground. All in all, I thought it an enviable debut.'

--- Stephen Gallagher, novelist and screenwriter

'Excellent...crisp and professional. This book bodes well for the future.'

--- Michael Allen (aka Grumpy Old Bookman) [read in full]

'A smart read filled with clever, fresh dialogue. The plot of Déjà Vu is intricate enough to leave readers pondering its twists long after they've finished it.'

--- Debra Hamel, book-blog.com [read in full]

'Get ready to have a mind-blowing experience. [This is] one mighty potent story, my friends. [I was] enthralled. Save this book for when you can isolate yourself and dedicate some time to a thought-provoking experience. This is good stuff.'

--- POD Girl [read in full]

'A fast-moving science fiction thriller. ...The book's real strength is not its imaginative look at the future of science, although this is fascinating, but the way the writer is able to make the disorientation the characters feel affect the reader. It is a gripping story told in a smart, simple manner. ...This may be a sci-fi book, but its strengths are the traditional virtues of any good book; namely, characters and plot. I imagine that Ian Hocking could turn his hand to more than one genre, and I have high hopes for his next book. Déjà Vu is an adventurous but unpretentious and very impressive debut.'

--- Exeposé [read in full]

'This is a science fiction novel. This is a chase novel. This is a multi-stranded, complicated novel that defies understanding at times, but is still fully involving and provides a very clever and satisfying denouement. This novel works. The writer's style is consistent with his content and the story fairly speeds along. It is confusing at times, but that is only because we are not given all the facts at once. This means that when we do find out what has been going on, we can happily exclaim, "Of course!" Science fiction does not work for everyone and this book, with its sentient computers, nano-technology and brain-wipes, will not be to all tastes. It was to mine, though, and, if you're that way inclined, I confidently predict it will be to yours too.'

--- Tregolwyn Book Reviews [read in full]

'It's well written...lots of action, some violence, plenty of clues and motifs hinting at what is to come, but enough suspense to keep you turning the page. ...I think the author is too good a writer to get trapped in the pigeonhole (black hole?) of SF.'

--- Exeter Flying Post

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