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Oculus


Oculus

Given the way technology is moving, with gadgets like Google Glass having the potential to record everything we see and hear, and health monitoring devices reporting back on the state of our fitness, it doesn’t seem like much of a leap to get to the near-future world of Oculus. Here the majority of people (and even some animals) have optical implants, which record everything they see or hear, and is recorded via a portable tablet. Streams from these can be shared, either retrospectively or during a live broadcast.

This breakthrough technology is everywhere, to the point where even the police use it as evidence when prosecuting criminals, like the ultimate eye-witness account. This is where the book starts, as we follow Shane on his first day as a police detective.

A murder is streamed live on a public network but all is not what it seems. When the police arrive to investigate the situation it seems that there wasn’t a murder after all, and the whole thing was faked. How, why and by who are just some of the questions that Shane and his fellow detectives will need to answer in order to solve the case.

The story is strong – a good detective mystery with some speculative sub-text on technology and social networking. Some of the characters start off firmly routed in their stereotypes but all soon break free and start getting more interesting.

What I didn’t like about the book was the art. I applaud Vinny Smith for the time and effort that has clearly been put into the illustration for this book but the characters aren’t sophisticated enough for my taste.

It’s a bit of a shame as I think the book could potentially find a wider audience with a different style of art, as Melia’s script is a witty, interesting and a well-executed thriller.

Oculus

Story: 4 Art: 2 Overall: 3

Written by: Luke Melia
Art by: Vinny Smith
Publisher: Tabella
First published: 2014

Andy Shaw

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