by Kevin Wright
I had some concerns when I began reading Ren Warom’s Escapology. But I’ll get to that. For now, just know that I’m a fan of William Gibson’s Neuromancer. A big fan. It’s my favorite sci-fi novel, in fact. William Gibson’s writing moves. It’s sleek and stylish and you may not know where it’s going or even where you are when you get there, but you definitely feel the wind blowing back your hair while it’s happening. Ren Warom has a similar style which is the style of excellence incarnate. Warom’s writing style wasn’t my concern, however, it was merely its foreshadowing.
In the interest of avoiding spoilers with either work, let me just say that my concerns pertained to the many and profound similarities between the two, culminating in Escapology’s first chapter appearance of a character by the name of Mim who is dead-nuts identical to Molly from Neuromancer. Dead-nuts…
As I said, I had concerns.
Before Mim’s nail-in-the-coffin appearance, there was always this echo of Neuromancer pervading the prose in many forms: in the main character(Shock Pao), in the setting(the Gung), in the opening sequence(hangover), in the drugs(pervasive), and in the writing style(excellence incarnate). However, holding my concerns at bay and on the strength of Warom’s writing, I continued reading, and I didn’t stop because, as it turns out, my concerns were unfounded.
As I said, I’m a fan of Neuromancer. Warom is, too, she has to be, and that first chapter of Escapology is Warom’s tip of the cap to Gibson’s Neuromancer. She’s acknowledging Neuromancer for the masterpiece it is before striking off on her own drug-induced cyberpunk thriller. It’s a madcap dash through a futuristic techno-junglescape where everyone and anyone is a predator. The rub is that there’s always a bigger, badder, nastier predator waiting just around the next corner. And it’s hungry and you’re delicious.