Book Review: Complete Darkness by Matt Adcock
For centuries many have pondered the prospect of an afterlife and feared what came to be known as ‘hell’. In the near future, we map the elusive ‘dark matter’ around us, only to find out that it is hell itself, and it is very real…
As the satanic President Razour attempts to bring forward Armageddon to prevent humanity repenting, the fate of us all rests in the hands of Cleric20, a hedonistic loner with a chequered past, and his robot sidekick, GiX.
An action-packed literary shock to the senses that mixes flights of comic fantasy with bouts of brutal violence. Mankind’s only hope seems to be having a very bad day.
Find Complete Darkness at Amazon here.
In a star-speckled universe of books, it can sometimes be difficult to spot a shiny new spark. Then one comes shooting into your world and knocks you sideways with sheer verve, creativity and brilliance. Once ended you stumble into the daylight blinking and wonder just what asteroid belted you for six, and can you please have some more?
Complete Darkness is that supernova. It bursts into your mind and takes you on a ride into the future, where social media is wired into the brain and your emotional status is wired from your brain to your own external hardware, proclaiming your status for all to see. Whether you want them to or not. Here, in future London (or L2 as it’s known), we meet Cleric20 and his robot sidekick, GiX, a retired Godbot.
L2 belongs to a dystopian future overseen by the satanic President Razour, who has at his command an army of A.I. soldiers and BattlemaGes. Omnipotent government is everywhere, plugged into peoples’ thoughts and emotions through cyber tech. It can stream anyone’s thoughts or unconscious desires at will. Track people. Remove them at a whim, with little thought of the body count it leaves behind.
Technology is making sinister biological weapons with unforeseen consequences. Psychobabble and technology are combining to disastrous effect. There is unlimited weird science. And mankind is plummeting towards hell.
Cleric20 is a dissolute loner, muddling through life enjoying all the substances and women it has to offer. The novel pitches him into chaos, targeted by the might of President Rezour and fighting for survival before ultimately enduring a strange metamorphosis thanks to an untested biological agent.
Complete Darkness asks questions of creation, of faith, of consequences. What does happen when social media is hardwired into the brain? A ‘chatter epidemic’, sensory overload that can be overwhelming. And we also have the high stakes gaming consequence of a steady diet of reality TV taken to its logical conclusion – The Hunger Games / Running Man scenario with a nice cash bonus, if you like. And this is just the background to the main event.
This short novel brims with ideas, concepts and future technological blueprints. It never loses sight – regardless of how much technology is hardwired into a human brain – of what it is that makes us human. We seek entertainment, sex, oblivion. We are capable of great acts of heroism and selflessness, but also of stupidity and selfishness. We believe in both what we can see, but also that which we don’t.
Complete Darkness does have an unusual narrative structure, which took a few pages to catch before beginning to fly. Once on board it is a furious, funny ride. Much of it can be related to our own time and place, particularly the issue of unintended consequences with high human collateral, where man plays God trying to enact revenge or repair human damage, and only succeeds in creating more destruction.
Sharp, wry and funny, with a dose of theology for good measure, Adcock imbues his dystopian future with wit, drawing numerous narrative threads together with skill, and a host of explanatory footnotes and acronyms. There’s a great deal to take in when reading Complete Darkness, and it promises a lot more to come in the eagerly anticipated sequel. Cracking stuff.
With thanks to Matt Adcock for the ARC of Complete Darkness.
As well as an author, Matt is a blog editor, Communications Professional (Consulting for Embrace The Middle East), and the weekly film reviewer for a regional newspaper group. Matt is a lover of all things virtual, sci-fi, superhero and theological… Is currently writing the foreword for a new anthology of short stories being created by a group of high school students for world book day 2020 – and is working on second novel SOUL : TRACE – where we manage to trace peoples souls whilst a serial killer stalks London 2 and beyond…