Googolplex by K.G. Johansson (ebook review).

November 15, 2015 | By | Reply More

Jack is several hundred years old, having learned to transfer his consciousness to new bodies, thanks to the aliens known as Multis. In his current body, he’s travelling to the planet Shylock as part of the first human expedition there. Their small community will need to start from scratch but, again thanks to the Multis, humans now have the ability to grow houses, to cultivate new crops and create everything a new civilisation needs. Yet life on a new world is still harsh and, in such small communities, tensions can quickly develop. Jack tries to adjust to life on Shylock but, as the weeks pass and his sense of unease grows, he becomes convinced that he’s forgotten something vital…

K.G. Johansson’s ‘Googolplex’ is definitely a novel of two parts, even if they aren’t explicitly defined in the book. The first part follows Jack and the new human colony on the planet Shylock as they adjust to life on a new planet. The second part occurs some time later, when Jack has returned to Earth and is searching for someone from his past. The two halves are very different in content and, as far as I’m concerned, also in quality.

Googolplex

Following the new colony setting up on Shylock was really interesting. There were some nice character moments with Jack and his lover, Liya, and the group dynamic in this closely confined group was explored pretty well. It also gave us a chance to see how the technology of the human race has developed in this version of the future, with the ability to manipulate their genes and use their own genetic material to grow new physical items, including housing, tools, aircraft and anything else the imagination can come up with. This manipulation also extends to human bodies, so humans can grow new bodies and then transfer their consciousness and memories to them when their current bodies grow old. It’s an intriguing system of technology that’s quite different to anything I’ve read about elsewhere. It offers limitless possibilities and it’s a little disappointing that so few of these are explored.

Unfortunately, after Jack returns to Earth, the story, which had been great up to this point, takes a steep dive and I went from thoroughly enjoying Googolplex’ and engaging with the characters to just wishing it would end. It’s difficult to talk about without giving away too many spoilers, but basically Jack spends the second half of the book looking for someone he once knew. There are a couple of interesting ideas but it’s lost in a mass of repetitive and tedious prose that completely lost my interest.

If this hadn’t been a review book, I’m not sure that I’d have finished it and, after such an enjoyable first section, I think that’s a real shame. The genetic manipulation ideas and the alien Multis are great and offer some brilliant possibilities for stories set within this world, but sadly ‘Googolplex’ falls short of the mark. The second half could have done with some heavy editing to bring it up to the quality of the first section but, as it is, this is a book I’d struggle to recommend. I found this a disappointing first foray into Swedish Science Fiction!

Vinca Russell

November 2015

(pub: Affront Publishing. 210 page ebook. $12.90 (US). ISBN-13: 978-9-18758-535-7)

check out website: www.affront.se/english-books/kg-johansson-googolplex/

Tags:

Category: Books, Scifi

avatar

About the Author ()

Leave a Reply

Enjoy scifi? Please spread the word :)