Monday, January 5, 2015

Forgotten Gems: 'Emerald Eyes' by Daniel Keys Moran

           It's easy to forget that there are lots of great books from years past that lie waiting to be found, and occasionally I like to point out a book that you may want to check out. The nice thing is, the advent of ebooks means none of these have stayed out of print.
          Somewhere back in 1995 I bought a book with rather bad cover art. But back then we were rather more used to ignoring bad cover art, and to be honest, this wasn't so bad for the era.

                                                                    (this cover art)

I'd glanced through the first few pages and it caught me from the beginning:

                           "Darryl Amnier was a man without a title.
                             A title makes one knowable."

So I bought it, and was be-spelled by a style of writing that I wasn't used to in scifi. Fast paced and adventurous, I even think Carl in his rage uses the word fuck a time or two, or at least, it wouldn't be out of place or character. Dan Moran wrote fearlessly, in a young man's prose and I was swept up with his creation.
While not cyberpunk itself, it has some of the sensibility of it, with datastarved webdancers and the crystal wind (I know why World Wide Web caught on, but how much cooler would it be if we had the crystal wind instead?) ancient (more than 30 'real' years) AIs, and two time-traveling gods of a far-future alien church locked in a war to the death.
All that's in the background of the story of course. That's the world.
Because our story is about Carl Castanaveras, the worlds first genetically created telepath. Who wants nothing more than to be a real boy.
I used to recommend this book as my absolute favorite book, though in the years since its been eclipsed, and I'm more aware now that it has some odd quirks that make it a hard book to give non-scifi readers. I've come to love the second book in the loose series, 'The Long Run' more. But I loved 'Emerald Eyes' with the passion of a teenager, flawed or not, it spoke to me. Poor Carl, trapped in a world so damaged from its Unification War, that it's still called Occupied America. A world so broken, that music has lost it's power and voice.
This is not a book I'd recommend everyone, and sometimes it has moments where it's aged poorly, or suffers from the usual problems of first novels. 'The Long Run' might even be a better place to start, as from a narrative perspective, it's a better book in most ways.But 'Emerald Eyes' was one of my first great loves, and I wanted the chance to talk about it.
After a long sabbatical from writing, Dan released the latest book in the Tales of the Continuing Time, 'AI War: The Big Boost', in 2011 and I hope to see another book in the next couple of years. I hope he keeps it up, because there's something special about these books, and selfish me, I eventually would like him to write the story of Ola Blue.
Oh, you don't know who that is yet, do you? Go forth and read...

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