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Tag Archive: The Terminator


Review by C.J. Bunce

Let’s cut to the chase:  Daniel Godfrey’s new novel The Synapse Sequence is not just the leading contender for the best science fiction novel of 2018, it’s the most absorbing, riveting, and thrilling science fiction novel I’ve read since I was first blown away by Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park in 1990.  Hyperbole?  Maybe just a little, but when you are reading a new book and you’re taken aback by the twists, turns, and surprises as this book provides, it’s a bit like walking out of a big rock concert, wanting everyone else to witness what you just experienced.  Godfrey is relatively new to the genre, with two solid sci-fi books behind him, New Pompeii (reviewed here) and Empire of Time (reviewed here).  But this story is a completely different take on science fiction, and so deftly written, smartly paced, and completely believable in its speculative reach, Godfrey is worth comparison to some of the greats in the genre for it.

Anna Glover is an investigator with an unfortunately troubled and public past for her conclusions in investigating an airplane crash.  She lives in the somewhat distant future–bots serve man, taking on so many functions that personal freedom is limited.  As told from the alternating viewpoint of Glover in the present and looking back on her life, future London is very familiar and steeped in the world that technology is building right now with so much of life absorbed into the digital world.  When we meet our protagonist she is attempting to lie low conducting trials for a company with an emerging technology, a “synapse sequencer,” which allows a person to be tapped into the mind of another, like a witness to a crime, to experience vivid, shared memories as an observer.  She meets with her boss inside this world, where he lives out most of his life, a life better than he would experience in the real world.  The process requires the help of a monitor, and hers sees that she gets in and out of submersion safely.  But we learn there are risks for anyone who participates in this intermingling of brain activity.  If you’ve seen the 1980s sci-fi classic Dreamscape, the modern classic Source Code, the television series Stitchers, or the shared visions of iZombie, you’ll find no suspension of disbelief issue with the wild ride that awaits you.  The method for the journey isn’t as elaborate (or glitch-filled) as Connie Willis’s elaborate time travel tech, but Godfrey provides enough to submerge us into the stress and angst of Glover as she takes journey after journey to learn the who and why of a case involving a boy in a coma and a missing girl.

You can’t predict where Godfrey will take Glover from chapter to chapter in The Synapse Sequence Godfrey has been likened to an emerging Crichton, but Crichton rarely could craft as satisfying an ending as found here.  The story embraces that speculative futurism like many a Philip K. Dick story (Paycheck, Total Recall/We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, and Minority Report for starters), while weaving in a plausible future from the seeds of new tech today.  He combines the audacious duplicity of Vincent and Jerome in Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca with the foreboding and despair of The Man’s story in Chris Marker’s Le Jetée and Cole’s in Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys. 

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You still have 12 days to get in on what has become a fully funded Kickstarter campaign for a new tabletop roleplaying game.  Half wargame, half tactics game, The Terminator: The Official Board Game is an asymmetrical strategy game in the making for 2-5 players played across two game boards: one in 1984 and one in 2029.  It’s all based on the original 1984 science fiction classic, James Cameron film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

One player takes control of all of Skynet’s forces, including Hunter Killer machines and Terminator cyborgs.  The rest of the players take the role of the human resistance, like Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, struggling against the impossible odds of the machine uprising.  Each of the two game boards play differently: 2029 focuses on light troop and resource management in a lopsided battle for dominance.  1984 focuses on personal missions with high stakes and intense pacing.  Missions arise through the course of gameplay, and have players make decisions in 1984 that will affect the future, erasing and adding components in real time.  You can download and try your own paper version of the game now, including game boards, game cards, tokens, and rules at this link.  Take a look at a full half hour video of gameplay below.

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In well under a month since the Kickstarter began, the crowd-funding campaign was full funded.  A wide variety of game purchase options remain available, as well as great perks for donors.  Check out all the options at the The Terminator: The Official Board Game here.

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