Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at a time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
In the previous chapter we finally got Jake Cardigan out of the freezer and I didn’t do a sweater joke. Seriously, who gives an action sci-fi hero character a last name like Cardigan while giving a proper first name for such a character?
Even by third chapter standards we haven’t learned anything the back cover didn’t already tell us. Jake was put in cryosleep for a crime he swears he’s innocent of and released four years early. The rest has been how in the future we are. Let’s see if the fourth chapter is more worldbuilding or if we’re getting into the story.
There is more worldbuilding but we also learn enough about Jake’s previous life that it balances out much better than the previous chapters. There is quite a bit of technobabble here that I don’t get. They are just torches, they’re laztorches. Forget monitors, we have “picscreens”, and yet despite us already moving towards a paperless society, like the one James T. Kirk lived in, Winger is still hardcopying everything whether it makes sense or not. THE FUTURE!
We do learn more about Jake’s history. He was a “tekkie”, a Tek junkie, but he claims he never worked for any of the Teklords. We also get some hints (I’m calling it here but Winger’s comments make me think it’s what he’s trying to not say) that Jake’s wife was sleeping with her boss and may have run off with him. And yet if memory serves Bennett Sands plays a role in this story. At the very least I remember the name but it could be from the TV show and that terrible CD-Rom DOS game. Maybe it sounds like a name from elsewhere. I guess we’ll find out. Right now, though, he’s headed home. We learn how Jake and his wife Kate met, their son Dan, and his relationship to them being interfered with by his police work but he still tried to stay close to his son. However, and we’re not given any details, he was starting to wonder about Kate, which he shrugged off as just a side effect of his police work. We also learn why Jake doesn’t like working with robots, believing that they don’t have “gut instincts” because they lack real emotions. We’ll see how that comes into play later. You don’t give details like that unless it’s important, but given the worldbuilding that mistake might have been made.
One final note in this chapter is the cabbie bot is kind a racist…unless “Jap” means something different in this future than the outdated term did back during World War II. It seems like an unnecessary addition and you’d think that’s a bad move for a robot who is supposed to interact with the clients. There was also a shootout involving his passenger and some Tek lords, more “flavor text”.
Now we’re starting to move the story forward, Next chapter Jake goes home, having just arrived at his old apartment complex at the end of this one.