What would you do if your free will has been taken away from you in the hopes of contributing to the crime reduction rate in society? How would you feel knowing that there is something inside of you that isn’t innately part of your body that is controlling your mind? Reclaiming free will, showing bravery, and going against all odds in the middle of a blossoming technological way of life is what Benoit Blanchard’s Cyberbrain is all about.
While examining its basic elements, the plot seems to start in the middle. Reading the first three chapters can become really confusing, especially for those newbie readers of science fiction. It is because there was no explanation about what “cyber” means and enlightenment of the motive of Kobayashi. The setting wasn’t also perfectly shown nor told; but, readers can tell that it is set in a futuristic Canada based on the titles of each chapter. However, there were fragments of the story that took place in the United States. Additionally, the novel is told in a third-person point of view, which gives the readers a more comprehensible perspective and insights into the story. There was a complete balance of narration and dialogue, which helps to enhance the engagement of the readers.
Moreover, the introduction of the characters was a little vague and confusing especially in the first part of the plot. With the shifting of the settings, from Canada to Buffalo to Hamilton and vice versa, new people were introduced but there was no concrete background about them except for their current way of life, personal goals, and such. Cyberbrain’s theme is definitely clear from the start if you try to look into it more profoundly, which is enjoying your own free will without people and inventions keeping you from doing the things that you desire to do.
Blanchard’s book didn’t just go all out on the aspects of science fiction but he strengthens the story by injecting religious characters and commentaries about the said scientific advancement. There was a whole chapter that highlighted the views of the religious character named Pastor Clark who gave a sermon about free will by citing some parts of the Holy Bible. Pastor Clark’s serves as the representation of the heated debate between science and religion that has is still circulating in the real world today.
The book also touches the realm of politics. Patrick Kobayashi promoted Cyberbrain Project in Canada through the help of Member of Parliament Richard Lane. Their connection made Kobayashi’s intention for Cyberbrain Project to reach the Canadian market. How publicity can increase the popularity of a brand and a person, which also happens in real life, was perfectly conveyed. Therefore, this book has definitely made it possible to touch different fields of discipline all at once contributing to the strong highlighting of the novel’s theme.
Furthermore, while looking into the plot, you can already see the science fiction trope used by the author, which is body modification. The trope centers on an invention of science that is either implanted or replaced on the natural body parts of humans with the desire to alter, modify, or enhance the quality of life of people. And the most common trope that is found in the more generic genre, which is fiction, is that there is always a hero who aims to take great risks and grand challenges in order to restore humanity and conquer all obstacles.
In conclusion, Cyberbrain by Benoit Blanchard is a must-read. The book gives everyone a refreshing take on science fiction even if it uses a common sci-fi trope in the sense that it focuses more on science, touches other disciplines, highlights the importance of being human, features a well-blend of action and romance, and other exciting things. Hence, readers should definitely watch out for this book and make sure to add this to their reading lists.