2079 by Donald P. Robin


A War for Brain Enhancement
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After an African nation develops advanced mental abilities, its leading citizens must thwart a mass hostage-taking by Iranian fanatics determined to learn the secret of the process.

Robin’s (Libator, 2013) sequel imagines a tiny country in late 21st-century Africa (bordering Somalia and Kenya) that—like the Marvel Comics imaginary sub-Saharan kingdom of Wakanda—has made astounding strides forward in technology. Specifically, the inhabitants of Libator can upgrade and advance human intelligence. With proper brain enhancement, the nation’s citizens fight as supersoldiers and/or communicate telepathically (and, to a limited extent, read the minds of ordinary mortals). With Libator’s secret revealed in the previous novel, the country is now eyed greedily by Iran. The Islamic revolutionary extremists (perhaps in the author’s mirroring of the Iran hostage crisis of the 1970s) kidnap 50 brain-enhanced but helpless Libator children, demanding that the nation’s doctors share medical secrets of the neural process in the name of Allah, or else. Despite the sci-fi trappings, most of the story hinges on spying and diplomatic negotiations—more skulduggery than visionary skull re-engineering. John Thompson and Stephanie Li, husband-and-wife characters from Libator, are now the parents of an abducted boy; they don “Persian” disguises for a coordinated, secret commando rescue operation behind enemy lines. At last, in the rousing final act, the drone-robot AIs and futuristic military weapons of plucky Libator come heavily and effectively into play. Almost nothing is uttered about the rest of the world’s political community of 2079 and its reaction to the augmented nation. Even allowing for the vagaries of a future setting, daily details of life under the theocratic, militant jackboot in Iran are flat and sketchy. Apart from the place names and the preponderance of bestial and rape-happy men who richly deserve to get their arrogant, religious/superstitious butts kicked, the marauders could well have been Klingons or Ruritanians.

A hardware-light sci-fi kidnapping tale with a righteous cyborg army having mom and dad’s backs.

Pub Date: March 18th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4575-6193-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
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