Book Review: Memory and Desire – A Postcard from Neo Tokyo | C. Vandyke

A rather interesting little slice of cyberpunk noir private eye. I say interesting. Quite a bit of the world building rings true to standard cyberpunk – 5th Element, Blade Runner, Metropolis, Immortal, etc. That is where familiarity lays in regards to the setting and location.

Now, the interesting thing for me is the concept that the private eye main character is a woman. For the vast amount of noir private eye reading I’ve done, the last time I ran into a female private detective was when I read through most of Nancy Drew. Which, in a way, is disheartening to realize. There should be more representation of this in books. True, I read a lot of Western and Native American detective books where the main character is a female police detective. I enjoy reading those, but private eye as an adult profession and not written as YA with a teenage female protagonist is quite different from my usual. That needs to change.

Short at 47 pages on Kindle Cloud Reader, its a quick dive into a cyberpunk world with the nit and grit you want, and the speed when you need a hit, but can’t devote a full day of reading.

The mash up of Asian, Spanish, and English presentation is interesting to note. It doesn’t do the weird thing Firefly did by using the Asian influences as an aesthetic and then not involving an Asian cast. It actually has a balanced set of world characters to represent the influences so that it feels like a true melting pot and not a culturally appropriated costume piece.

I will say, the adult aspect applied to the genre tag is always fascinating to read from other people’s perspectives. How they go about describing their characters. How they describe the main character. Especially when it’s an observant first person MC. For who the character is in this one, the descriptions are probably on point for a crass PI, though it comes off a bit odd. Which makes me wonder at the mechanisms of description people form habits around using. Like, I’m not partial to straight up saying “naked body” or “panties”. It feels flat, clinical, or maybe unrefined? Yet, a lot of the descriptors I do use, eluding types (length, entrance, garments), are probably seen in a similar fashion from a different reader. Neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong, just an observation that people have interesting quarks in the decisions they make in how characters perceive themselves, or how authors perceive their characters.

As I said, a good quick read if you’re taking the train in or stuck on a slightly long bus route or just need a bit of a cyberpunk hit without dedicating the next week to learning a massive world and political system.

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Chapel Orahamm View All →

I am a writer and artist working through the Kavordian Library series. I write sci-fi, fantasy, lgbt romance.

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