I picked up C. A. Higgins’ 2015 debut novel, Lightless, because 1) it got a glowing review from io9’s Andrew Liptak and 2) it got a starred review from Kirkus. Having read it, I am left wondering what Liptak and Kirkus saw in this book that I did not.
In the grim boot-stamping-on-a-human-face-forever world of tomorrow, the Solar System is ruled over by the merciless System, an authoritarian regime slightly less lovable than the Qin Dynasty Legalists. Deviation, rebelliousness, and criminality are ruthlessly punished. The entire Solar System is one big panopticon state.
Or that’s the theory. In practice, recording everything everyone does not mean that the System has the means to sift through all the information they are collecting. Dependence on computer surveillance systems means that those systems are vulnerable to people who know how to manipulate them. The System has abundant blind spots; both criminals and terrorists thrive.
Including people like Leontios Ivanov and Matthew Gale, the two space pirates who have just covertly boarded the experimental space craft Anake.