Monday, June 20, 2016

Trick is figuring out which of us are ones and which of us are zeroes

Chuck Wendig books are always so much fun. He's one of those dependable authors. After a few successes* I'm pretty confident that whatever he writes I'll enjoy and don't really bother reading the summaries. He may not be my favorite author (though he might one run of my favorite blogs and overall seems like a lovely person), and I'm a bit on the fence about his latest Star Wars book, but that has far more to do with hesitations towards SW and not what he's written. Hell, the only reason I'd considering reading a SW book** is because he wrote it. Well that and the fact that he pissed off a bunch of homophobes by making one of the main characters (the main character? I dunno, for you see, haven't read it) gay and that is just swell.

But I did read his book Zer0s about government conspiracy and hackers and some sci fi-y elements and honestly when I picked it up I didn't really know anything about it beyond "hackers" (see above re: not even bothering to read summaries). It was just a fun book, one that I couldn't wait to jump back into.

I don't want to get too much into the plot because well, I didn't really know it before going in and I don't know if it makes a difference to go in blind or not, but I had fun so yeah, let's recommend that. But one thing I do want to talk about is the characters and how they are awesome. Because that is definitely an area where Wendig thrives. His characters are believable as characters. They appear to have actual, for realsies motivations, react to situations in ways that make sense for actual people (even when those situations are super crazy) AND in this book are diverse. Diverse without being stereotypes, which shouldn't be that difficult, but there are enough examples out there to prove that can be a sticking point for many writers. This is not a world populated by a bunch of white guys with maaaaaaaaaaybe one girl and/or one POC guy to claim inclusiveness.

Like I said, I won't go too much into the plot but I will give you a bit. A bunch of hackers are arrested for various online crimes and are given a choice: go to jail or come work for us for a year and have the slate wiped clean. This is how we get a country boy, an inner-city kid, an aging conspiracy theorist, a troll, and a social justice hacker shoved together, looked after by an agent who really does not understand this computer stuff. OF COURSE there are personality clashes and a shady government program, deceptions and alliances.

The book is fun (which I know I've said a few times but IT IS) and suspenseful and thrilling and funny and yes, sometimes violent and involves some creative cursing, because if you read Wendig you're going to get those things. Grade A work, Wendig.

Gif rating:
*Blackbirds, Mockingbird, Blue Blazes and I'm surprised there aren't more.
** I'm sorry, Star Wars fans. I know you are awesome and love the stuff and I don't think there's anything WRONG with it, it's just not super my thing.

Title quote from page 67, location 1396

Wendig, Chuck. Zer0es. Harper Voyager, 2015