Some cultures used to think cameras took our souls. Maybe that’s what’s happened to us. Maybe our need to document our every thought, our every emotion, has robbed us of everything. Stripped us down to nothing but pixels on a screen.
All Petri’s friends are on Glaze but she’s got to wait for her sixteenth birthday to get the chip. Her mother’s an ex-hacker genius who works for her “uncle” Max’s company; the very company who created and run the mega social network. She counting down the days until she matters as far as her peers are concerned. When a peaceful protest turns sour, Petri is identified as inciting violence, (she was just being sarcastic). Instead of a trial, she’s given a blank chip, a ban from accessing Glaze for another 5 years. In her eyes her life is over before it even began. But there is another option, one which means delving into the dangerous and illegal world of hackers.
Glaze is an action packed social commentary on both the positive and negative aspects of social media. So interesting to see some of our current behaviour brought out into the open and examined in this fictional world. The wealth of knowledge and support we have at our fingertips is amazing when you compare it to 20 years ago, imagine if it was all in your head, accessible with just a thought. Is limiting access to individual impeding on their civil rights? Are our happy social circles shielding us from other viewpoints, for better or for worse?
“Since I got chipped I’ve felt shrunk, somehow. Lost among all those voices. I don’t know what I really think, about anything.”
Not to mention the scary thought of what giant corporations could be doing with our data. At what point do you draw the line, especially if all you can see are personal benefits? In Glaze there is only one social network that matters, there isn’t any choice in the matter other than not joining. And not joining means being excluded, something many people already feel about Facebook today.
The hackers that Petri meets seems harmless at first. As the story progresses, it follows the fine line between doing something for the greater good and doing more harm than good. There are always two sides to the coin. Some have noble causes but others can threaten the systems we rely on so much. Sometimes it’s a bit of both.
One thing Petri cares about is her right to vote, to make sure there is a future for her generation. Her naivety is something that slowly wears off throughout the book. There’s a quote, that I have lost, which is about the true meaning of privilege, which struck a chord. I don’t think we are too far away from her world, which is frightening stuff. I loved every page.
Glaze will be published as a limited edition hardback by Jurassic London on 22nd May 2014 and Kim will be self-publishing paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to Kim for providing a copy for review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.
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