Waveform is a sci-fi thriller that starts and ends in a tense gun battle, in which a Matrix-like couple in dark glasses are shooting their way out of a sticky situation. Between this bookending battle we’re treated to an extended flashback, which explains how these two characters got into such trouble.
The female character, Apollonya, has just been ditched by her boyfriend. He has joined a strangely popular male cult, whose members use drugs to inhibit their sex drive in an attempt to free themselves from the supposed tyranny of loving relationships. As Apollonya is drinking away her sorrows with a friend, they’re attacked by one of these cultists, but rescued by a mysterious stranger. This man, John Actual, turns out to be a member of a small band of resistance fighters, who have taken it upon themselves to assassinate the founder of the cult and shut it down permanently.
Unfortunately, the book is too short to develop the story properly. The pace and tempo of the first half work well, and we get to explore Apollonya’s character in some detail. However, the switch that has to occur to flip her into the gun-toting assassin is too cramped and just isn’t explored thoroughly enough.
Other characters in the book are also disappointing: John Actual is startlingly two-dimensional for most of the story; and a range of interesting characters are introduced at the end, but by then it’s too late to develop them. Similarly, while the concept of the cult is explained, we don’t get to the bottom of why so many young men are partaking in its bizarre chemical castration.
I enjoyed the story and the plot feels strong, but it needs more room to expand. With two more volumes in the pipe-line, perhaps this will flower into something greater than this first volume. But while it manages to be exciting and engaging in parts, this first book leaves too many questions unanswered.