Forever People - Book Review

Forever People

Author: Alison Lyke
Genre: Fiction - Science Fiction
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: March 28, 2019
ISBN-10: 1684332400
ISBN-13: 9781684332403

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Book Review of :  Forever People


Forever People by Alison Lyke is a futuristic story about afterlife, and the currency that you need to assure a lavish eternal afterlife.  Do you remember Green Stamps? Back in the sixties, they were a preferred point system that could get you “stuff,” and then the big rage became Airline miles and hotel points which could take care of a lot of the cost of a vacation. In Forever People, the new currency that everyone wants is Node Points; they are the currency that you use in your afterlife.  You earn these points in numerous ways, and if you want your afterlife to be a beautiful nirvana, you better have a lot of Node Points accumulated by the time you die. Death becomes the loss of your physical body, but your consciousness and maybe your soul lives on in these elaborate networks that Lyke’s describes. Is there an allegory in this story where the character “Toy” is the Jesus figure who is willing to give her own life to make all who die share an afterlife existence that is eternal and on an equal footing for all? Does Toy’s Bliss Virus actually represent the “Grace” of the future digital nirvana?

Lyke’s story takes place in Zeta City, a city that has embraced the fabulous technology that supports digitized afterlife within its net. It has become a popular destination where people go to die. Once you are within the perimeter of Zeta’s net, you can physically die knowing your consciousness will automatically be uploaded to exist in the net in a ghost-like existence for as long as the net is kept active.  It’s a beautiful system that allows your essence to continue on even after your physical being turns to dust.   It is a place where existence isn't threatened by disease, murder, epidemics, etcetera, but it does become a target for hackers who might bring destructive chaos to the net.

Camille, a top-notch bounty hunter, is the primary protagonist who finds herself tasked with trying to stop what one would call a terrorist threat to the net. The primary perpetrator has infected herself with the “Bliss Virus,” that will purportedly spread through the Net upon her death disrupting the Node Point System. Camille attempts to stop this attack but fails to stop the death of the perpetrator and finds herself being forced to try to enter the net to complete her job.  

Lyke takes you through a person’s transformation from a physical being to their new existence as a digitized entity. Toy finds herself floating around in this mishmash of digital beings; her consciousness interacts with others as she adapts to her new existence. The cyber existence is challenging to newcomers, but Toy starts to make connections that help her adapt. While she struggles with her afterlife, a race is on in the physical world to connect with her. She is a threat to the Node Points and the net, and that is a terrifying dilemma for the cyber world to contend with.

Forever People by Alison Lyke leaps from reality to virtuality with jaw-dropping speed, and its narrative swiftly addresses death, afterlife, ethics, morality, and the real concerns of our technological marvels. The narrative asks the question, does the promise of a digitized virtual afterlife provide a calming sense of quietude for those in the throes of impending death? Is the celestial heaven we have come to believe in just a cultural myth, and Lyke’s cyber heaven is what we might soon be looking forward to?  Does this virtual existence become our promised Heaven?. Those are questions that Lyke’s novel raises.  Forever People is an exciting read and very thought-provoking.

Reviewed by: James B

About Alison Lyke

Alison Lyke is a fantasy and science fiction author and professor with a master's degree in creative writing. Her debut novel, a modern mythology titled Honey, was published in 2013. She lives in Rochester, New York with her partner Jon-Paul and two sons, Jonah and Isaac. When not reading or writing, Alison enjoys spending time in nature, practicing meditation and yoga, and playing video games.


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