Monday, October 22, 2012

SPOILER FREE book review: Free Fall

Android: Free Fall
By William H. Keith

From the back of the book:
  When an influential lawyer is murdered miles above Earth's surface, Captain of Detectives Rick Harrison reluctantly accepts the case.  Harrison quickly finds himself at the center of a deepening conspiracy.  Why did the killer use a mining laser, an unwieldy weapon?  What is the connection between the victim and the powerful anti-android lobby?  And the toughest question Harrison never expected to ask: what defines humanity?

My thoughts:
I initially picked up this book because I wanted to get a better insight into the Android universe inhabited by the Infiltration board game and Netrunner, which at the time had yet to be released.  Let me just say, I got exactly what I asked for, and then some!

To begin with, if you are a fan of Shadowrun or Bladerunner, then you'll probably also enjoy this book and the Android universe in general.  The novel itself was surprisingly pretty adult, with some unexpected sexual content playing a big part of the general plot.  It was also pretty graphic at times and definitely not what I expected from a book by a gaming company like Fantasy Flight Games.  Mind you, this is not a negative comment, on the contrary, it was handled very well, fit the story, and made it a much darker story.  It was nothing more than you'd find in any rated R crime/conspiracy movie out nowadays, but still enough to make it not something your 10 year old should be reading. (or sensitive adults/prudes for that matter)

All that aside, the book was really well written.  The author did a good job of portraying all the fancy tech and places you'll encounter, and making them believable.  I found the plot to be pretty well crafted.  Generally in these type of stories I can guess "who did it" and often times the "why" long before the author intends the reader to.  The plot had many different layers and twists to it, which kept me guessing the whole time.

By the end of the story, I felt I had a pretty solid picture of what the Android universe entailed.  I feel I have a greater appreciation and connection to the characters and factions within Infiltration and Netrunner.  I now know what a Jinteki clone looks, acts, and sounds like.  I now know some of the moral dilemmas behind the androids created by Haas-bioroid.  I now also know exactly why the runners in Netrunner, well, RUN!  Now when I play Netrunner, the Corps and the Runners just feel more alive!

Long story short, if you are playing Infiltration or Netrunner and want to dive deeper into the setting, this is the perfect book to do so!

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