Laura Lam (2017) Shattered Minds

I got to page 41 of this book, Chapter 6. You might get further. I had a quick look because the author Laura Lam is coming to do a reading in Duntocher Library soon. Shattered Minds is a dystopian novel set in the near future. The setting is San Francisco, California, Pacifica. I guess that’s the place Laura Lam grew up, but there’s no such place as Pacifica. That’s a hint. The world is not as it seems. Near the Pacific, but no longer in broken America. Sudice Headquarters, which to me seems a bit like the sound of suicide is where it begins with girl receiving an injection –this won’t hurt a bit – from men and women in white coats. Shades of George Saunders’s short story Escape from Spiderhead here with the testing of drugs on candidates as a given. Carina, who is the dysfunctional heroine, has to go on a quest and discover what is meant by the images of a bee and rose, a meme, which has been planted in her mind by Doctor Mark Teague. Don’t get too worked up by what is meant by the brain/mind dichotomy. Brain connections here equal mind. But mind,  Mark is dead, he’s literally, Offgrid. The reader knows who killed him. He’s the good guy sending out the last signal into the connected world. The bad guy is Dr Roz Elliot. Corporations are taking over the world. A comparison with a feudal state in which those on the land once owned the people on the land, corporations own and control the mind of others in their sphere. Superfluous population marked out as criminals, for example, are held in suspended animation. Carina gets a bit of help in her quest from Dax and his group of offgrid hackers who have somehow accessed the database of Sudice. Carina is addicted to violence and killing in the Dreamscape (I’m not sure what all these guys do for a living, but ho-hum) and all her time is given over to living out these fantasies. In murder-mystery the bad guy is always found out in the end and good triumphs. I guess Shattered Minds will be super-glued together and Dr Mark’s Teague’s death, and the death of the girl with different coloured eyes Carina keeps reliving, will be avenged. He may even be rebooted. Read on. You’ll know more than me.

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