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BWW Review: ANYONE by Charles Soule

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BWW Review: ANYONE by Charles Soule

"Someday, you will change the world. Changing the world was not about you. It was about the world. About everyone else."

~ANYONE


While Sci-Fi isn't always my immediate go-to genre, whenever I see one with an intriguing concept, I immediately want to learn more. Last year, I picked up THE PUNCH ESCROW by Tal M. Klein because the way the book used fundamental, world-changing tech was comped to Ernest Cline's READY PLAYER ONE and WARCROSS by Marie Lu. The summary for the second novel from best selling comic creator Charles Soule, ANYONE, sounded instantly intriguing, the way THE PUNCH ESCROW or Blake Crouch's DARK MATTER did, with new, innovative tech that could change the world -- and also make a brand-new tech. After reading the novel, I'd also compare it to this year's RECURSION by Blake Crouch, which just won the 2019 Goodreads Choice Award in the Sci-Fi Category.Both books center around tech attempting to cure Alzheimer's and creating something new and revolutionary in the process.

Gabrielle White is a scientist with a very specific goal: She is going to change the world. She tells herself this every day on the way to her barn. This is her last chance. After tonight, she is out of money. But tonight will be the night. Only...it's not. Her result once more is a failure, and in frustration, she sets her machine on max and does something dangerous, burning through the last of her grant money. She wakes up in her daughter's nursery....in her husband's body. Gabrielle blows through her family's entire savings account trying to fix this, and must now beg her benefactor for more money -- but doesn't want to tell him what she's discovered. She wants to keep the new invention to herself. Instead, she damns the world......

ANYONE jumps between the "present" and the "past," beginning in Gabrielle White's barn and going through the days that invented Flash technology, then jumping to 25 years in the future where the Flash technology White invented has been stolen and released by Stephen Hauser and his company Anyone. The "present" is narrated by a woman in her 20s named Annami, who needs a lot of money fast. She enters the illegal darkshare, where people can Flash into a vessel's body and do anything they want for 24 hours. Annami is terrified, hoping she isn't killed or maimed when her body is taken over, and then the worst happens on her first darkshare. She wakes up in a pool of blood, hunted down for reasons unknown, and sets off a dangerous chain of events in her quest to take down Anyone and the tech that has corrupted the world.

Charles Soule creates a tight, fast-paced sci-fi thriller. His first novel, THE ORACLE YEAR, published last year and has already been picked up for television by Tomorrow Studios, who produced Hanna and Snowpiercer. He will be a screenwriter for the series as well. He is well-known in the comic world, having written for Marvel, DC, and other publishers. Some of his most well-known titles are from the series Daredevil, She-Hulk, Death of Wolverine, and Star Wars. Soule brings all the action he is known for in his comics over to his novel, and shares a dangerous, terrifying world with readers.

I don't really want to talk too much about the meat of the story and the mechanics, because thrillers are so easy to spoil with the smallest things, and I personally hate being spoiled and get so much less enjoyment out of a book if I have been, you know? If you're a fan of speculative fiction, or studying tech that transforms a world, definitely look into ANYONE by Charles Soule. This is the kind of sci-fi that intrigues me the most, and really makes me think. ANYONE wasn't a disappointment and took me on just the ride I hoped it would.

ANYONE by Charles Soule was published on December 3, 2019 by Harper Perennial.

ABOUT ANYONE:

Charles Soule brings his signature knowledge-and wariness--of technology to his sophomore novel set in a realistic future about a brilliant female scientist who creates a technology that allows for the transfer of human consciousness between bodies, and the transformations this process wreaks upon the world.

Inside a barn in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a scientist searching for an Alzheimer's cure throws a switch-and finds herself mysteriously transported into her husband's body. What begins as a botched experiment will change her life-and the world-forever...

Over two decades later, all across the planet, "flash" technology allows individuals the ability to transfer their consciousness into other bodies for specified periods, paid, registered and legal. Society has been utterly transformed by the process, from travel to warfare to entertainment; "Be anyone with Anyone" the tagline of the company offering this ultimate out-of-body experience. But beyond the reach of the law and government regulators is a sordid black market called the darkshare, where desperate "vessels" anonymously rent out their bodies, no questions asked for any purpose - sex, drugs, crime... or worse.

ANYONE masterfully interweaves the present-day story of the discovery and development of the flash with the gritty tale of one woman's crusade to put an end to the darkness it has brought to the world twenty-five years after its creation. Like Blade Runner crossed with Get Out, Charles Soule's thought-provoking work of speculative fiction takes us to a world where identity, morality, and technology collide.


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