The Credulity Nexus (Rik Sylver, #1)
Graham Storrs

In a clash between transhumans and the religious right, a washed up PI ends up as the meat in the sandwich – with the fate of humanity resting on his reluctant shoulders.

When struggling PI Rik Sylver takes on a simple courier’s job, it turns out the package he is transporting contains a virus that can control people’s minds and powerful, dangerous people want to take it from him – many of them deadly transhumans from Omega Point. All Rik has to do is hand over the package and get paid – but then he loses it and the only way to save himself and everyone he loves, is to collaborate with the people who are killing his friends to retrieve it Yet things are not what they seem and deciding who or what to believe is the only way Rik can save himself and the world he knows.

The Credulity Nexus is the first book in the Rik Sylver series and also the first of Graham Storrs’s novels set in his Placid Point universe. Moving between the Earth, the Moon and Omega Point, this is a fast-paced science fiction thriller, with the trademark plot twists that will delight readers of this author’s previous work.

The Credulity Nexus (Rik Sylver, #1) book cover

This is Graham’s fifth novel, and I must admit the quality of this work impressed me just as much as anything he’s previously penned. It has an amazing sense of the golden sci-fi era about it – his homages to Heinlein are marvellous – and the opening chapter really gels that sort of work into a contemporary futuristic setting, if that makes any sense at all. It’s hard to describe accurately, but books depicting the future written thirty years ago have a very different feel to the majority of today’s titles. Storrs has managed to leap that gap, I felt like I was reading something Heinlein himself would’ve written today. And the phrase “dumb ox”, it’s just the sort of thing any of Heinlein’s Narrators (Ames, Kettle-Belly Baldwin, Mannie Davis, Matt Dodson (having grown up a bit of course), Maureen Johnson and possibly most appropriately The Great Lorenzo) would’ve dropped in a heartbeat.

What did I love about it? I like the way Storrs takes something growing today (The Tor Project, for instance) and just fits in a technological extrapolation (in the form of skin-on-skin contact bypassing prying eyes). He’s not pushing politics down your throat with the statement, but he’s giving us the future with the crap included. I learned a new word, too – I have never read a book where anything was crepitated before, how cool is that?

I also especially think it’s brilliant how the work has its own distinct vitality, yet is clearly part of a larger whole. You can really read this by itself, but then you’ll want to go pick up Placid Point just so you can read more about some of the things mentioned. The “upload” angle is very much a part of the story, and it’s fascinating to see how the time line of the world Storrs is building is going to be filled in over the coming years. I think it’d be pretty cool if we had an online time line to look at, or the back of the book included one showcasing published short stories (and planned future publications?) and roughly where they’re going to go.

The structure of the book worked well. I loved the opening, as I’ve already said, and things really start to explode in chapter three. From there on Storrs plays on the old hat technique of courier with a job to do, but it’s so interspersed with asides and potent and interesting technologies that it doesn’t really feel like a rehash at all. Then of course we enter the climactic events toward the end of the book and the whole thing shifts on to a new and exciting path, and by the time the book ends and we are shown where everyone’s ended up we’re breathless to see the ramifications in future stories: for the characters, the Earth, Omega Point, and every thing and one inbetween!

On a basic level, The Credulity Nexus is a sci-fi thriller with an intelligent antihero who I’m sure has many more stories in him, with plot twists you and he see coming about at the same time on some occasions, which is very cleverly executed. But it’s also a tantalizing glimpse into a future which holds both promise and pain in equal measure, a universe of possibility and problem Storrs can assuredly rock with short story after novel after series. We’ve seen Heinlein’s Future History and Sanderson’s Cosmere. I think it is not at all unfair to say Storrs has birthed Transhumanity in glowing fashion. Long, long may it endure.

Published by Sean Randall

I am an avid reader, technologist and disability advocate living in the middle of England with my wife, daughter and pets.

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