Sci-fi dystopias, like Veil by Aaron Overfield, are awesome for the thought experiments they play out and the possible futures they warn us of. Overfield dreams of a technology that allows humans to experience what it is like to be one another, what is is like to think like another person for a few hours or a lifetime. But Overfield doesn’t stop at “isn’t that a cool idea?” oh no, that would be a waste. Instead, Overfield shows us the true implications of such a technology, both the beautiful, humanity-changing and the apocalyptic. Veil is less a story of characters and more a story of, well, Veil itself. I received the book Veil (not the technology alas ;-)) from Aaron Overfield in exchange for an honest review, thanks for the opportunity!
Dr. Jin Tsay’s revelation entices the military with a potential to uncover and disarm any covert threats. The government that funded the engineer’s classified project orders Tsay’s death, so they can solely and secretly possess his alluring technological consummation: VEIL
Veil proves to be the purest, deepest form of espionage and anti-terrorism by endowing humankind with the ability to experience life through another person. Dr. Tsay’s technology offers submersion into another’s mind; Veil provides a direct perception of their immediate thoughts, emotions, memories, and the rush of their most intimate senses. If it ever escapes the military’s relentlessly selfish grip, Veil swears to permanently alter the psychosocial, sexual, political, economic, and religious landscapes of our lives. Veil promises to usher in our ultimately unifying evolution: the New Veil World.
Retribution for Dr. Jin Tsay’s assassination comes in the form of his widow, who races to deliver Veil unto the world and share it freely, before those who ordered her husband’s murder can exploit it. Wielding the inescapable force of Veil, Suren Tsay seeks to inflict justice upon all those responsible for her husband’s demise, culminating in an unforgiving, brutal, obsessive hunt for the elusive killer of the father of the New Veil World: the Great Jin Tsay.
Taking Veil beyond limits Jin himself could’ve imagined, the revered Widow Tsay vows to get her revenge at any cost. Suren Tsay soon realizes she too must inhabit the world created by her husband’s invention and her own bloodlust.
Suren must learn to live in the New Veil World.
She must also fight to liberate it. – Goodreads
- When there is action and emotion in Veil, Overfield writes powerfully. All you have to do is read the first scene to get a taste for what Overfield can write when he wants to focus on the characters instead of the thought experiment.
- That being said, the thought experiment is freaking awesome. Veil is an amazing technology and an amazing idea. The amount of research that Overfield did into neurology and the amount that he thought about what the repercussions would be in the near and far future are impressive. This is what science fiction should have in it always in my opinion.
- Even though the focus seems to be less on the characters than I would have liked, since Veil is so long, you do come to know and understand the characters by the end, even though I didn’t like most of them to begin with. This, more than anything, shows good development and a lot of potential for Overfield in the future.
- The biggest (haha) thing you’ll notice about Veil is that it is freaking long. 600 pages might not seem too bad for a book (I’ve read some very good 600 page books), but Veil shouldn’t have been 600 pages. It definitely should have been 1/3 shorter, maybe even 1/2, with another round of editing to cut out repetitious sentences and paragraphs. These paragraphs in particular made Veil just seem even longer than it was.
- On a similar note, Overfield seemed much more interested in the Veil technology than with the characters or plot, so many paragraphs were info dumps for him to explain the intricacies of how Veil works or what is happening around the world as the technology spreads. This lack of action also makes the book proceed slowly in parts.
- There is a lot of swearing, particular the f-bomb, as one of the characters is quite crass. I just got sick of reading that kind of language after a while, and I swear plenty.
- The first part of Veil is told mostly from the crass character’s (Hunter’s) perspective, and this also includes a lot about his sex life and habits about guys that I just really didn’t need to know… ever.
The explicit content in Veil bothered me, and is a warning that I must heavily stress to my readers since I know a lot of you won’t be comfortable with it. However, if you are looking for gritty sci-fi with a really impressive idea, then at least try out the first scenes of Veil perhaps. I also noticed on Goodreads that the three parts that the book I received have now been separated, and they are available to purchase separately on Amazon. This is a very big deal, since these are basically three separate books and I applaud Overfield for releasing them separately. I will say that if you go that route, the second book was much better than the first in my humble opinion. If I could rate the parts separately (which I now have on Goodreads), I would rate Part I 2 stars, Part II 3 stars and Part III 4 stars. So, I think that Overfield has a lot of potential with this series, but maybe cut back on the grit in the next book ;-).