Monday, June 23, 2008

New This Month: Cosmos Incorporated by Maurice G. Dantec

Sometimes while reading Cosmos Incorporated (Del Rey) I would stop and emotionally sit back on my haunches and think: this is where the future of SF/F is going. This in my hands, right here, right now. If it never got any better than this, it would be all right.

Based in Montreal, Canada, former punk rock songwriter and ad man Dantec is an extremely popular writer in France. Like his Babylon Babies, Cosmos Incorporated is an English translation of a French novel. One part cyperpunk, one park Orwelian ironic dystopia, one part Houellebecqian sharp lyricism and wide-stanced theology. In scope and content and style, Cosmos Incorporated is breathtaking.

The population of the world has been devastated by disease, misuse and war. What little has been left of earthly society is monitored by the Uniworld, a huge computer network -- think Internet on futuristic crack -- that has information on every individual left on earth. We see much of what’s left close to Sergei Diego Plotkin, a man with a deadly mission who will soon find himself with more -- and somehow less -- than he anticipated.

Expect a lot of interest in Cosmos Incorporated. Babylon Babies -- which was the first Dantec novel to be translated into English -- will be released as Babylon A.D. in feature film form at the end of August and starring Vin Diesel. About a month before that, Del Rey will release a mass market version of Babylon Babies. All of that should conspire to make readers take note of Dantec’s most recent work. And that’s a good thing, because this is a writer worthy of the attention and many fans who have already read the book in French claim this is the writer’s best work to date.

To be clear, Cosmos Incorporated will not be for everyone. Not by a longshot. But if you like your SF/F with a heavy dose of discordance and the roving threat of electricity, this one may well be for you.

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