M.M. Buckner,
(Ace, 2003)

Hyperthought is the story of a hellish, destroyed Earth, a class war that covers half the globe and a brain-warping scientist -- in less than 200 pages.

With such an epic storyline, M.M. Buckner could easily have padded Hyperthought to the thickness of a phonebook. But focused through the mind of his impatient heroine Jolie Sauvage -- orphan, tunnel dweller and owner of Jolie's Trips -- the entire story boils down to her quick life. Her attachments to her adopted brother Luc, her attempts to change the fate of the losers in the world's final class war and her unexpected love for plutocrat Jin Sura manage to shape the world through a woman who begins as a side note.

Jolie's nearly insane focus works to great contrast with the object of her obsessions, the rich, conflicted Sura. His expanded consciousness and supposedly greater intelligence make him useless, in great contrast with Jolie's narrow focus and supposed inability to plan. Their concentrated romance, which leaps bounds of class, bigotry and space in the span of a few shared nights, should feel forced. Jolie's personality makes it feel not just plausible, but inevitable.

Hyperthought is an epic distilled into a short afternoon's read. Buckner holds back his obvious urges for symbolism to tell a simple, intriguing story that leaves its mysteries open to exploration. Dystopian as this future is, it's a fun place with the right tour guide. Jolie may offer wild trips, but they're worth the risk.

- Rambles
written by Sarah Meador
published 31 May 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.