“Kill Code” by Clive Fleury

Kill Code is a dystopian action tale, full of conflicts at several different levels. It even has a bit to say about the reality of reality. As opposed to virtual reality, of course.

But authors have to be careful with VR scenes, because they make it too easy for the author to manipulate the conflict. Just like the “it was all a dream” endings we all hate, the “it was only VR” grows thin after a while. It rather reduces the suspense when, time after time, we discover the events we were so worried about didn’t really happen. Telling us, “If you die in there, you die out here,” doesn’t really do the trick.

This story is written in the first person, and the main character, Hogan, is fully rounded, sympathetic and realistic, although a bit larger than life, as we expect in this sort of tale. The supporting characters tend to fall rapidly into stereotypes, especially the Krails, nomadic bikers straight out of Mad Max and every other dystopian novel since.

I did catch some rather unlikely scenarios, such as the “sliding down the roof” gunfight. Also, it’s rather vague exactly how the overall VR system works, and why and how the subjects are used in it. I suppose a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is necessary, but the Sci-Fi genre is a competitive market, and writers have to do their homework.

However, it’s a great plot, full of complexities. Just when we think it’s all over, there’s another setback and the action continues. I would like to see just a little bit of character development over the course of the story, especially the relationship between Hogan and Ruby.

Recommended for Dystopian Sci-Fi fans.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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