SciFi Monkeys and TANSTAAFL Press brings you a review of
Forced Conversion by Donald J. Bingle
Overall Grade: C+ (See Tom’s notes on how he grades)
Forced Conversion took a totally different bent on virtual reality. With earth running out of resources, people decided to give up on their bodies and live in a massive virtual reality simulation. But some don’t want to give up the natural life. Instead the “mals” fight against conversion to hold onto their humanity. Those in power in the virtual world know these “animals” represent a threat to their future existence in the virtual one. So they keep a handful of people, the “ConFoes” in human form to convert the few remaining “mals” by force.
The base concept of the novel, a post singularity world gone horribly wrong, not to mention the multiple twists at the end kept me guessing, not an easy thing to do with this jaded writer.
The gritty reality of this empty world made me as happy in how it logically unfolds and exists at the beginning of the story as the darkness depressed me. Some intelligent thought went into some of the methods of conversion, such as denying them the cities by spreading them with nuclear waste.
The fight scenes were very easy to follow. I never got caught wondering who did what to whom for how many Oreo cookies.
Not So Good:
I found most of the characters flat and one dimensional. While the story itself grew, the characters seemed to be an afterthought. Even the main character, Maria, didn’t go anywhere. I felt with such a bold breadth of a world that there would be a better character arc.
There were a few things in the story that just didn’t follow any logical sense. Two of them come to mind immediately. First, the concept that you can get any computer system, especially a massive one, to run for millennia is ludicrous.. take it from someone who works as an engineer for a major computer company. I could give you about six million reasons why. So this was hard to swallow. Next is the guys who are still searching for extra-terrestrials out in the desert. The ConFoes can track down individual people in the wilderness but not these guys using radio-telescopes? Pass.