Book Blog: Cry Pilot by Joel Dane

Posted by on Aug 9, 2019 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

Cry Pilot by Joel Dane
out now; Indiebound, B&N, and Amazon

I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

By the description, I expected far-future sci-fi. Cry Pilot is that, and a whole lot more–like a cyberpunk and military scifi combination, all in an original take on post-climate-change apocalypse Earth.

Kaytu is a complicated young man trying to do right. He’s a gutter rat, a former refugee, and he has set his eye on military service with one of the major corporations that holds dominion over Earth. With his background–which only emerges in perfectly-paced detail across the book–he’s forced to take a more criminal route, which gets him assigned to be a cry pilot–essentially, a piece of meat dropped into an AI-driven mecha that does battle with other bio-machines that threaten to undo the resettlement and terraforming of the planet. Most cry pilots die. He does not–nor does the flighty drug addict with him. Together, they soon find themselves placed in different roles as they train to face a horrific threat unlike ever seen before.

With some scifi books with a far-future setting, it feels like the emphasis is on the world and tech and the characters are outright tropes. Not so here. Everyone feels vivid and alive. Kaytu’s peers are an eclectic bunch, and as he became attached to them, so did I (a dangerous thing when they are facing some pretty nasty threats). The world is incredibly immersive and detailed, and it builds in just the right way; I never felt overwhelmed. Not only is the tech advanced, but social constructs are radically different, too, but this is handled in a casual, natural way. Poly relationships are common (and make perfect sense, given the need for humanity to repopulate) and sexual preference is fluid.

I found the book to be absolutely enthralling. Not only is the story fantastic, but as a writer, I can only admire the elegant pacing of the world’s construction. This is a book to point to as an example of how to do scifi right.

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