Imagine a world where one never again need sleep, eat, breathe, or bathe. Imagine never being too cold, nor too hot. Imagine no further aches and pains, nor a world polluted from production and use of man-made products. If all one need do is agree to a full replacement of the human self with a digitized self along with adhering to minimum other requirements such as no further offering of goods or services for sale, no harm to others, and remaining linked to one’s assigned ‘concierge…’ would everyone do it?
This is the premise in Scott T. Grusky’s fabulous science fiction novel ZERO PERCENTERS. “We promised them a place to live with complete support in perpetuity. That way they could enjoy uninterrupted freedom to pursue their passions or interests and would never have to worry about bills, taxes, household maintenance or any other stuff like that…” A promise few humans could deny especially since individual consciousness can come along for the ride. There are of course villains wishing to take control of everything, and satisfying plot twists and turns, but most endearing is the humble concierge attached to protagonist, Anja Lapin, daughter of the tech billionaire who figured out how to digitize bodies.
While in the old world a ‘concierge’ meant someone employed at hotel or apartment building to help guests/residents, in this new world the term is a (very) upgraded version of everyone’s…phone. And Anja Lapin’s concierge is Vicia Cassubica, the being from whose point of view this entire story is very sincerely (and sometimes also humorously) told. There are a few minor but potent flaws, such as not staying on the more effective side of the line between showing something too much-vs- too little. For example: the frigate bird flying scenes are wonderful…until there are too many of them in a row. Also less is generally more in terms of outright crying scenes, and the early chapters have an overabundance of people weeping which weakens emotional impact rather than moving readers towards empathy. But overall, this is a bright, excellently thought out, page-turning tale.
Humanity’s never ending struggle towards balance is explored with a contemporary computer-age twist in Scott T. Grusky’s fine science fiction novel ZERO PERCENTERS.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader