The catch phrase for Who by Karen A Wyle is really good: Have they changed their minds? Or have their minds been changed? It’s the central question, but not the only one, in what is a thought-provoking book.
In the world of Who, you can have your mind digitally stored, so that when your body dies, you can still ‘live’ as a digital imprint. The digitally stored population can interact with the world of the living and even vote. However, digital information can, of course, be hacked, so when your political views change, how would you know if that was the result of natural changes, or of someone interfering with your data. What if you could never remember having opposing views, even when your loved ones tell you? And if you have been changed against your will, what could you do about it, especially once you discover that someone from the corporation who has stored your data is always listening.
It’s an interesting premise to set a novel on, but it takes more than an interesting start to make a good book. When Max (still living) and Thea (digitally stored) discover that her code has, indeed, been messed with, they take out a court case against the corporation with the help of a lawyer whose friend has also been stored.
The first part of the book is setting the scene for the court case to begin—including the history of the technology—and once it does begin, the book becomes a quagmire of lawyer speak. I found the beginning choppy and the story of the court case rather too dry for me to get really excited about the story. Much of it was told, which was necessary to avoid getting bogged down in lengthy courtroom scenes, however, some key scenes could have been written with more immediacy.
The book was, however, well edited, and in the style that the author chose to take, succeeded well enough for the book to be worth reading for those who are interested in the idea and not put off by legal details. This isn’t a book for the general reader though. Lawyers would probably love it, but if you’re looking for fast paced sci fi with high stakes, this isn’t it. The plot is simple and fairly predictable, but the characters are real enough and quite endearing.
What I found intriguing was the maze that is the legal system. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a lawyer, but if you do, then I recommend this book, because you may learn something useful. The author is a lawyer herself, and it’s clear that she knows her subject well.
I give the book 4 stars because though it didn’t excite me as much as I would have liked, it is well done.