Even though Paul McAuley is one of my favorite writers and I have been reading his books for the better part of last ten or so years, there are still aspects of his career that completely take me by surprise. One of these is his series of near future techno-thrillers published in 2000s. Since they're there days largely out of print (however, they're mostly on Kindle), my paperback copies came in form of well thumbed second hand copies from eBay. However, as I expected, without fault they make for great reading. Whole Wide World is no exception.
Originally published in 2002, Whole Wide World is fantastic police procedural set in the near future right after the cataclysmic event called InfoWar where the City (financial heart of London) was destroyed with dirty bombs and viruses that shut down cooling fans. In the aftermath, UK became closed police state governed by ADES (Autonomous Distributed Expert System), a system that uses CCTV to detect crime and ridiculous amount of state control where even the tinniest decadence in movies and such is not tolerated. In the heart of all mayhem we follow hard boiled old school detective caught in the murder investigation of one Sophie Booth who has been brutally killed in front of the cameras. However, beyond a murder lurks a conspiracy of epic proportions which ultimately leads us our of UK to information heaven, Cuba.
In the end, Whole Wide World is full of surprises and even though there are times where you feel that the technology is a bit outdated by today's standards, the whole affair frighteningly possible future. And imagine this, even in 2002, McAuley was writing about something strangely reminiscent of USB disks. (not to mention that one of the most significant parts of the plot is related to a company called FourSquare(should Paul ask for royalties?!)-
Whole Wide World is simply great and enjoyable read showcasing multiple talents of one of the best science fiction writers today.