Renae had been kind enough to read a few of my blogs recently and provided the encouraging compliment that she could see me as an author.
What I didn't know at that time, however, was that Renae already was an accomplished author.
Renae at no time pushed herself as an author, nor did she ever as me to review her book. Rather I came across the publishing news of Tokyo 2060: Welcome to the Future via Twitter. I contacted her and asked if she would like a review. She welcomed the suggestion and provided me with an electronic copy via Amazon, that retails for $0.74 Canadian.
Dear Renae - you'll never get rich that way, but dammit, it was still a very fine story!
I'm not sure what I was expecting - but I wasn't expecting polish. Renae and her story are polished. No spellers, no typos, no grammar complaints.
As the book's title suggests, the plot takes place in the Japan of 2060... and pretty much opens with the author admirably describing how the new technology of flying cars would not only work, but how it could be utilized by society.
I had always pictured stupid, irresponsible pilots zig-zagging all over the airways, but Tokyo 2060 does not allow that, providing decent science for why it could not happen.
So... the science, though not written in that hard science way that can be difficult to digest, seemed solid to me.
In fact, I think the way Renae writes and presents the science is superb.
My only complaint, is that I think some of the spoken lines were a little stiff. Not as natural as it could have been... but truthfully, that does not take away from the novella at all.
I think that I excel at conversational dialogue, but can't write descriptively to save my life. We each have our strengths, and I think that Renae's lies in her imagination and her ability to create what sounds like legitimate science. Let's put it this way... I felt like the science throughout the book was good.
The actual story revolves around androids, and the main character's - Poppy - feelings towards artificial intelligence... either a distrust of the 'droids', or a lament for the old way of life that appears to be changing and slipping away.
One scene I enjoyed was the fact that Tokyo 2060 mandated that a section of the city only be allowed to sell classical Japanese items - not anything mechanized or 'futuristic'... I guess I'm a romantic, and like the fact the old ways of Japan were still being observed despite the obvious advances in the city's technology.
It's cool... I wouldn't expect Tokyo, or Japan, for that matter to change the way it does things simply because of modern technologies.
The author goes through great pains to ensure we see that the customs of bowing, meishi exchange and wearing of indoor slippers was expected still in 2060AD, even while flying cars and personal androids were soon to become all the rage.
When it comes time to introduce the personal android, Renae does not disappoint, providing the reader (me) with snippets for every conceivable question I could come up with in my head.
If you have ever read any of my blogs, you will know that I tend to ask a heck of a lot of questions about even the simplest things and try to present the reader with as much information as they may or may not desire.
The author does that in a non-overpowering way. Kudos to her.
The novella is one that can be read in an hour or so... three quick chapters full of description... and I admit that I was curious to see where the angst was going to come in and how it was going to be rectified.
While I think the ending left open further stories for Tokyo 2060 to explore - and I hope Renae chooses to do that - I was left satisfied with the ending. It wasn't like those early Stephen King novels where I'd read it, slam my head against the table and moan "Not the Devil, again!" No... this seemed like Renae has something further up her sleeve. Heck, I do!
I'll not spoil the story, but I will suggest that lovers of future science intrigue give purchase to Tokyo 2060: Welcome to the Future.
You can purchase a copy from Amazon.com (direct link to the book included).
Renae... the 'utopian' Tokyo of 2060 raises some interesting points for future stories... with droids and robots taking the place of human jobs, does it create unemployment concerns or are the alleviated by the fact that Japan has a declining birthrate circa 2015? I leave that for you to contemplate, and hope you continue the story even further.
You know you wanna.
Buy a copy of her book. It's easy to download onto your computer or handheld device, plus I also received from Amazon copies of three classic tales: Pride & Prejudice, Aesop's Fables, and Treasure Island.
Renae - loved the book. Keep going - I want more!