Excerpts from KIRKUS REVIEWS: A futuristic novel focuses on a powerful team of operatives.
This epic SF adventure begins with a girl named Jen Marov. Jen may be small but she is strong and an excellent climber. When she travels to Paris with her family, she is even able to climb the Eiffel Tower. Jen winds up with a successful career in the circus before pursuing a love of mountain climbing. Where will she wind up later in life? As a member of a fierce, do-good-oriented yet covert organization called Dog Breakfast.
It is the 2070s and life on Earth, while recognizable to readers, is also wildly strange. Humans still populate the planet and struggle with capitalism, technological innovations, and environmental changes. But they have also managed to broaden their horizons. So-called soupers (because their orbiting environments look something like giant soup cans) live in space.
Then there are advancements like travel by zephyrs (referred to as “gasbags”) and a protein-heavy foodstuff called sclup. The story expands to cover everything from a metropolis suspended over Canada named Tsawwassen to the excitement of something called “slasherrock,” but the ultimate focus falls on Dog Breakfast and its members. They are a tough group who train, eat, and sleep together. They learn to do things like dodge bullets and of course stomp the bad guys (although, as one member asserts, “we try to avoid violent solutions”). Will Dog Breakfast be able to pull off a difficult attack on the world’s corporate elite?
To say there is a lot going on throughout Quantaman’s narrative would be an understatement. Aside from the tale’s many events, readers get a primer on everything from hexagonal cities to the breakdown of a fictional company’s stock price. Such explanations are occasionally even accompanied by the author’s illustrations.
This fine attention to detail, reminiscent of the work of William Gibson, helps to create a full picture of humanity’s future endeavors.
But some aspects are more creative than others. A palmslate is basically a computer tablet, which, for simplicity’s sake, could have just been called a computer tablet. A crèche, on the other hand, is a school that raises children from the ages of 2 to 18 with intriguing results. The plot is likewise highly detailed and always in motion. Action scenes are prevalent and varied. Bad guys are felled with mini-crossbows and good guys can deploy other people’s car air bags.
Overall, the book delivers an ambitious action tale in a vivid landscape that manages to be both foreign and familiar. A lively, techno-fueled caper.