Wednesday 25 June 2014

My Magnificent Seven: Fiction Books for Tech Lovers

Hmm, so much for being an occasional feature, it looks like My Magnificent Seven is almost as rare as the Cuban Greater Funnel-Eared Bat. However, I've been thinking about this particular #mymag7 for some time as I know so many kids who love gaming and the internet who will rarely pull themselves away from their console of choice to read a book. And yet there are so many great books out there that have huge appeal for gamers and lovers of tech and the internet. So in no particular order:

Glaze by Kim Curran

I read this a while back and it completely blew my mind and if you love social media and the internet then it is a book that you simply must read. Kim Curran's scarily plausible futuristic story revolves around the populations obsessive use of the Glaze, the ultimate in social media connectivity. When teens reach a certain age they can be chipped so that to hook up to the network all they have to do is focus on accessing it. No electronic gadgets required at all. In fact, there's no longer any need for watches, TVs, mobile phones... everything is done inside the user's head. However, as with ever huge step forward in technology, the Glaze is open to abuse by those in power. Glaze is a superb dystopian novel (and I'm fed up with dystopian novels so that is really saying something)that also covers, amongst others, themes of peer pressure, feeling like one of the crowd, corruption and abuse of power.

The Metawars series by Jeff Norton

I've so far written reviews for the first two books in Jeff Norton's brilliant series, and I hope to get a review of the final book up on here very soon. This ranks up there as one of my favourite series of the past few years; the books are full of fast-paced action and high tech adventure in both the real and a virtual world. Set in a future where the planet has suffered from wars and depletion of natural resources, the quadrilogy raises many moral questions as the plot unfolds and would make great class readers for English lessons because of the discussions they would provoke.

The Bzrk series by Michael Grant

The first book in this series was a another that really blew my mind. When I wrote my review I said that "it is almost un-reviewable, in that to give even the slightest amount of information away would definitely spoil your reading experience" and I still feel the same now. It's high tech but in a very different way to the other books on this list.

Rat Runners by Oisin McGann

The tech used in this fab action thriller by Oisin McGann is much closer to the kind of gadgets that are around today than that found in the previous books I have mentioned, and this makes the story feel all the more real. Set in a city where surveillance is everywhere, be it CCTV, hidden microphones, or machines that can scan you for pretty much anything, it feels a little too close to modern Britain (supposedly there is a surveillance camera for every 11 people living in Britain). A team of young people who try to live their lives hidden away from the eyes of the Big Brother style Watchworld find themselves being hunted as the plot twists and turns. Gadgets and hacking aplenty make this book perfect for tech lovers.

Urban Outlaws by Peter Jay Black

In my review I described this as Leverage for 9+ kids, and I loved it. Again, like in Rat Runners, the tech used by the gang of young 'criminals' is not futuristic in nature, and therefore, with a little suspension of disbelief, it is easy to imagine the group out on the streets of London robbing the rich bad to give to the poor. There's something for everyone in this book and it's one of those books that can be described as unputdownable (at least, it was for me).

Insignia trilogy by S.J. Kincaid

Some might say I got a little carried away when writing my review of Insignia by S.J. Kincaid. I did, after all, describe it as "Harry Potter for gamers, with a six-pack of Top Gun thrown in for good measure, and reading it was like playing an incredibly addictive video game". Almost two years on I still stand by that comment: the parallels with harry Potter are impossible to ignore, given the 'school' setting, but if ever there was a book that would appeal to gamers it is this one. Since writing that review I have been told that Ender's Game covers similar ground, but I have to admit that I have not yet read that book, nor have I seen the film.

The HIVE series by Mark Walden

This ranks as one of my all time favourite series for Middle Grade readers, and whilst tech isn't the main feature of the books, it still plays an important part throughout the series, especially given Otto's special abilities. I've bought these books for godsons and various young male relatives and every one of them has come back asking me to get them the next in the series. I'm currently waiting impatiently for the ninth book in the series to be published, although it looks like I'm going to have be patient as I believe Mark has recently been concentrating his efforts on finishing the sequel to Earthfall, his brilliant alien invasion story.


Naturally, I'm sure to have missed a glaringly obvious book out of my list, and I really wanted to include Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, as it is one of my all-time favourite books, but I've kept it off the main list as it is an adult book. Please let me know if I've missed off any of your favourites.


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