Nearly fifty years ago counter culture guru and LSD advocate Timothy Leary popularized the phrase “turn on, tune in and drop out.” In the current era of hyper-connectivity that phrase might need some altering and updating to something like “turn on, plug in and lock in.” It is our seemingly shear dependence on our devices; smart phones, tablets, laptop and now even watches to run our daily lives that helps to ratchet up the fear factor in author Chuck Wendig’s latest outing Zeroes: A Novel.
This one takes a dash on Phillip K. Dick, (think Minority Report) shakes it vigorously with some William Gibson and add a pinch of Terminator and you on your well to a scary, high tech thrill ride. Imagine the National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal juiced on steroids.
A group of seemingly disparate hackers are snatched off the streets, are coerced with threats of jail time into going to work for the government on a super secret project, the details of which they know nothing about. Wendig doles out the bits and pieces of the storyline like a master chef reveals a prized recipe. Slowly but surely the group slaps the puzzle pieces in place and that’s when all hell breaks loose and it’s a battle save not only themselves, but also the rest of the country.
This would boil down to entertaining sci-fi if it were not for the simple fact that given the rallying cry of our overgrown government doing so much in the name of “protecting” us by any means possible, that it cuts a little too close to reality. It is that ring of the truth that makes this one a winner.