Brookmyre, Christopher

Tagged: Author

(1968-    ) UK author who remains best known for his Jack Parlabane sequence of noir thrillers, beginning with his first novel, Quite Ugly One Morning (1996), and all featuring an investigative reporter profoundly at odds with the powers that be. His first tale to contain fantasy elements, Pandaemonium (2009) plays, not entirely successfully, an Equipoisal game with uneasily matched registers of story: Scientists at a military research establishment, whose work is sufficiently advanced to be described as sf, have engaged in an experiment which awakens supernatural forces, perhaps the devil.

Of direct sf interest is Bedlam (2013), effectively a Tie to a computer Videogame currently in development, Brookmyre having scripted it before writing the novel. In a Near Future world conspicuously imperilled by human-based degradation of the environment (see Climate Change), an Uploaded version of the protagonist finds himself in a totally immersive Virtual Reality, soon realizing that he now occupies the cannon-fodder role of a Cyborg warrior in the Doom- or Quake-like First Person Shooter game Starfire (not to be confused with Starfire [1979], a space Wargame), whose coding may have been tampered with and whose defects allow transition into other virtual Game-Worlds running on the same Computer substrate. Differences between playing and living in the various videogames are explored to knowingly comic effect. What is simulation and what is (or once was) real becomes, as is frequently the case in novels of the early twenty-first century, difficult to sort; eventually a corporate scheme to exploit the system's many uploaded Identities is revealed and confronted. [JC/DRL]

Christopher Brookmyre

born Barrhead, Renfrewshire, Scotland: 6 September 1968

died

works (selected)

  • Pandaemonium (London: Little, Brown, 2009) [hb/]
  • Bedlam (London: Orbit, 2013) [hb/Mark Swan]

links

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