36 streets by T.R. Napper

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Cyberpunk is a form of science fiction that features high tech and futuristic themes along with dystopia and a dark underworld. An example of an early film in the genre is Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’. In interviews T. J.  Napper refers to that film as a strong influence on his writing. 36 streets is set in a future Chinese-occupied Vietnam. Lin Thi Vu has been honed by her gangster uncle Bao to become a formidable fighting force sent out on assassin missions. In a new assignment, she becomes involved in a conspiracy built around a video game, Fat Victory, an immersive simulation of the American/Vietnam war that meshes the virtual with personal memory.

The novel is gritty with dramatic action scenes that see Lin brutally crushed, yet rise again and again, determined to defeat the forces ranged against her and take her revenge. It is a world of danger, deception, illusion and violence, and the costs to Lin are formidable.

The scenes set in the old world ‘36 streets’ of Hanoi are vivid; the underside of the city is alive, and reflects the in-depth knowledge Napper gained whilst working as an aid worker in Southeast Asia. This grounding provides authenticity to the virtual world of the future that the author creates. It is a mix of old Hanoi and the cyber world of video games, a world of super strength combatants, illusion and deceptive manipulation. However, this book, because of its violence, is not for all readers.

Warning: Strong violence and coarse language.

Themes: Cyberpunk, Violence, Memory, Crime, Revenge, Dystopia.

Helen Eddy