Monday, February 17, 2020
The Bookwyrm's Review of Bulb by Bradley Wind
Author: Bradley Wind
Length: 363 Pages
Publisher: Kind Books
Release Date: October 13, 2019
Rating: 4/5 Stars
I get a lot of requests to review books. I heard the premise for Bulb and decided to give it a go. I can honestly say I have never read anything quite like it. It crosses a few genres and raises some disturbing questions about the nature of privacy.
Ben Tinthawin is a 29 year old artist living in a future where privacy is a thing of the past. The Grand Archive, created by Dr. Mamon, has seen to that. Every thought and experience person have is stored in the Grand Archive for all to view. Initially causing riots, its now accepted by the vast majority of the population, being the ultimate form of entertainment. There is a movement to keep off the grid, but its far outpaced by the group who accept the Archive.
Ben is struggling to recover from the car crash he came out of fairly unscathed that killed his mother and father, as well as the aftermath which left him even more emotionally damaged. He is left raising his 7 year old conjoined twin brothers Ed and Francis, a result of their father's genetic tampering. Ben also goes to counseling and is also trying to recover from a broken relationship, which is due to the pitfalls of the Archive. This is the shape of Ben's life as he gets the opportunity to work with Dr. Mamon in creating an even more exciting project. Unfortunately, Dr. Mamon has plans of his own that could have far reaching consequences for the rest of the world, and its up to Ben and his new allies to try and stop the destruction of everything they cherish.
CHARACTERS AND WORLD BUILDING
The idea that there is no privacy in thought allows for a very deep look into each character. Ben is such a tortured character, having to deal with so much trauma, while also trying to keep it together for his brothers. He definitely is a rounded character. Ed and Francis are a product of their age, and ring true to it. The secondary characters all come across as fleshed out, with motivations and actions based on the unique circumstances of the world they live in. The antagonists have realistic motivations, seeing their actions as a way to point the way to a new future.
The world building is a mix of what I'd consider future tech and cyberpunk semi-dystopia, since there are still ruined areas left over from the riots that destroyed some cities after the Grand Archive went online. The Archive is a technical marvel, although it has problems of its own that it brings to society. The whole idea that there can really be no privacy in the end makes interactions different. It makes a blind date a choice, since you can look anything up abut a date. It also creates interesting entertainment opportunities, and makes people think twice about just what they are doing. It does raise some interesting questions.
The concepts and ideas in this book are a lot deeper than you expect out of a sci-fi novel. The author creates a very plausible society and its reaction to the loss of any real mental privacy, creating some intriguing scenarios around the idea. I can recommend this book for anyone looking for an idea driven book, which will have you turning the pages until you reach the satisfying conclusion.