©2006 Night Shade Books; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Hardwired is a tough, sleek juggernaut of a story, punctuated by strobe light movements, coursing to the wail of jets and the twang of steel guitars." (Roger Zelazny)
Very good narrator, story is from 2 points of view and takes a little bit to get used to but works great. I have listened to this book twice already.
I generally don't like cyberpunk. Gibson's Neuromancer left me cold. But Williams, in my opinion, is a better and more versatile writer. I listened to this book because he wrote it.
I was not disappointed. The cyberpunk aspects of the story serve to enhance the characterization and the setting and do not dominate.
The story is told from the perspectives of Cowboy and Sarah. Both are interesting characters and I never found myself wanting to finish one POV so I could get to the other, which sometimes happens when the story is told from multiple viewpoints.
The conflict with the orbitals is resolved in a way that flows naturally from the story and does not feel forced. A poor resolution could have wrecked my view of the book no matter how good the rest of the story.
Finally, Stefan Rudnicki does an excellent job of making the various characters distinct. I have not read the print version, buit I suspect the audio version is a better experience because of Runicki's narration.
If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.
I'm a big fan of Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs stories and this is an obvious precursor. The story is a little complex, but nowhere near as hard to follow as any of Morgan's. Williams writes well and avoids sentimentality. I especially enjoyed the character whose brain is absorbed into cyberspace.
A hard boiled, cyberpunk styled tale of two very different people just getting by, in a very depressing, but scary believable and essentially balkanized, former United States. The world is now run by various corporations that don't even reside on the planet. They hover above it and manipulate life below without being part of it. There are social classes built around them and a whole slew of other things that the author builds in his vision of earth's future.
Through a series of events in the story, the two main character's, Cowboy, an ex-fighter pilot turned bootlegger and Sarah, a sometimes body guard, thug and killer for hire, find that their lives have become intertwined. The pace of the story became a little slow for me in the middle, but on the whole, this was an excellent story and I think worth your credit. If you are a fan of the cyberpunk genre and or Richard K. Morgan, Neal Stephenson, William Gibson and their like, then Hardwired should be an satisfying choice for you.
Also, veteran narrator, Stefan Rudnicki was definitely on top of his game reading this one. He has, for me, the kind of voice that can sometimes distract me from the story that I'm trying to listen to. Other times, I find that he throttles back his voice a little too much and in some cases, sounds a bit monotoned and unexciting, In Hardwired. I think he chose just the right balance.
Hardwired is Good SciFi Stuff! Couldn't put it down. If you enjoy William Gibson and/or Richard K Morgan you are going to enjoy this novel. The narrator is also very good. I got a Blade Runner vibe from the story.
This is one of my favourite audiobooks. It is the first I have listened to a second time. The reading perfectly compliments the writing style. Yes the story has plot holes and it stretches credibility a bit, but the pace, energy and drive of the narration are breathtaking.
It creates a future world but does not get bogged down in detail for details sake, which sometimes happens with SF authors...If you are reading a book and you hit a paragraph waxing lyrical over some technical gizmo you have a choice of reading it and revelling in the detail, or letting your eye skip to the start of the next paragraph. You cannot do that so easily with an audio book.
Perhaps an analogy would help. If this audiobook was a picture of an fighter plane going into action it would be 'Whaam' by Roy Lichtenstein - graphic and immediate with just enough detail to carry you into the action, rather than say a Robert Taylor painting - accurate down to individual rivets! Don't get me wrong, I love to look at a Robert Taylor print, but having someone describe it to you ... well you get the picture!
This is probaly the best audiobook I've ever heard. It's like it was written specifically as an audiobook, the narrative, the imagery, the flow of the language are all great. I wish I could un-hear it and experience it again.
Story, context and characters are high quality and make sense, in the terms this kind of story can make sense. For me, a clear five star up there with my all-time favorites Altered Carbon, Old Man's War and the Mars trilogy.
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