Tim Maughan’s Infinite Detail was published in March and since then it was sitting on my Kindle for reasons. Finally got my hand around it and finished the book today. And I have to say that this book is amazing.
The smile grows into a self-deprecating chuckle; and she’s strangely embarrassed that part of her had imagined walking out into some huge abandoned space: a bourgeois science-fictional fantasy of a long-lost civilization where she’s the special one, the only survivor that could see past the crass commercialism of the masses and got out in time, the intrepid, educated explorer unearthing this forgotten, archaic relic of barbaric capitalism, an empty cave filled with unfamiliar, alien branding.
The topic and how Tim handles it is just brilliant. Although Infinite Detail is a near future speculative fiction, you can easily see that all of it can happen next week. The politics of technology and the current situation of capitalism is analyzed in a mind opening way for anyone who isn’t already familiar with it and while the story shows you how messed up it is, it also shows you why just getting rid of it is not enough.
What’s different is that the massive inhuman artificial intelligence wasn’t enslaving us with nuclear bombs or turning us into batteries (how WOULD that work?) or crushing our feeble human skulls with its metal feet, but by finding the best ways to sell us stuff. SkyNet is real, and it wants to sell you shoes made by child slaves.
Tim’s storytelling is also strong. Going back between before and after, you can easily feel the change between those two timelines. The story pulls you inside its world and at some point, you can feel that those two timelines are about to merge and you get nervous and anxious just like the characters you’re reading. Although Tim has a unique way of telling his story, this feeling also reminded me Gibson’s The Peripheral, and I’m saying this as a huge compliment.
In short, in my opinion Infinite Detail is a must read book. Not just because it’s a great story but also this is the type of speculative/science fiction we need more today.
Until you can dismantle them, he tells himself, always use the oppressors’ tools against them.