As the story usually goes, I've discovered Moxyland quite by accident. One time, there I was, casually browsing through the selection of recently released titles in the local book store when I've stumbled upon a book with a great cover art. You've guessed it, it was Moxyland. I didn't know the name of the author and the publishing house was another big unknown. I usually don't buy so impulsively but still, based on the blurbs and the summary of the book, I gave it a go. The book seemed to be right up my street and I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointer. I completely adored it. But let's not jump ahead...
Moxyland is a great near future cyberpunkish romp through the uncertain world of near future where technology got completely out of hand. We follow parallel stories of four young people living in Cape Town in South Africa. Summary describes them as an art-school dropout, and AIDS baby, a tech-activist and an RPG-obsessed blogger and that's basically it. Beukes sets the futuristic stage which is suspiciously reminiscent of events today. Online presence became everything, and the worst thing that can happen to you is getting disconnected. In fact, the police punishes offenders by doing exactly that. As the story unfolds, the four unfortunate narrators are trying to take on the government in their own way and basically failing. I won't go deeper into spoilers because Moxyland is worth discovering but let me just say that the ideas are the details about the biotechnology and technology in general of the near future are fantastic and perfectly plausible. Also, the fact that all the characters are anti-heroes, and each in it's on way hard to like, makes them seem more real.
What struck me most was how Beukes reminded me of something that William Gibson once was, a true visionary with an intuition for expanding the current technology trends. As I was re-reading the Moxyland, I couldn't help draw parallels where kids todays give every effort to make their Facebook profiles as appealing as possible and are judged, in turn, for that by their peers. And in the age of M2M communications, everything is increasingly connected so it's not far fetched to imagine a future where being connected is just about everything that matters. Even the present times we live in are almost nearly at that stage.
To conclude, Moxyland is a definitely different type of book than Zoo City is, but in my opinion, it is just as good and thought provoking. Very recommended! We can't wait to see where Beukes will go next!
Moxyland was recently re-released by Angry Robot Books with brand new cover.