*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Title ~ Sleeper Protocol
Author ~ Kevin Ikenberry
Publisher ~ Red Adept Publishing
Published ~ 5 January 2016
Genre ~ Sci-Fi
My Rating ~ 4 bites
Waking in a wheelchair in Australia he has no idea who he is, what’s going on or even what year it is. He’s told he’s part of an experiment; he needs to remember who he is and he now has 323 days to do that or the government will euthanize him. Everyone in this time has a neural interface, but to the people around him he will be a null, a sleeper. Even though he also has an interface, his is different. No one will be able to tell who he is. The clock is ticking. Unknown to him, there are people working behind the scenes, some to help and some to hinder. In which camp is scientist Berkeley Bennett who shows up out of nowhere and takes an interest in him? With help from his protocol he named Mally, Sleepy sets out to find himself.
This is a different and unique look at the future, alien contact, medical science and political maneuvering. I have to say, the United States in this tale sure is bleak. Yikes! And politicians are just as bad then as now. Kieran Roark, AKA Sleepy, is an excellent character. I love how he works through everything and follows his gut. His protocol, that he named Mally, is weird and ambiguous as to which side it’s (she’s) on. She’s essentially a program, but starts to develop a personality. Hence the weird factor. I didn’t fully understand the concept of the sleepers. Seemed like a shitload of money and resources for such a long shot, but maybe that was the point. The future generations are pretty pathetic and I sure hope this story isn’t prophetic or we are totally screwed.
I did not like Bennett, not even a little bit. And I totally did not buy their insta-love. It felt shoe-horned in for added drama and made me cranky. Maybe if they’d actually spent more time talking and building a foundation for their relationship instead of humping every chance they got I might have believed it more. Probably not. It’s hard to believe anything about Bennett when she’s a lying manipulative skank. Frankly, I was hoping she’d die and Kieran could find a woman worthy of him. I liked the General though. I hope he can keep up the work he’s doing. That end bit with Mally gave me the heebie jeebies. Wtf?
While Kieran’s story has a resolution, I’m left with the feeling there may be more coming in this futuristic world. Other sleepers, Mally, and the Grays gunning for Earth…yep. I’d say those storylines should be seeing the light of day.
About the Author
Kevin Ikenberry’s head has been in the clouds since he was old enough to read. Ask him, and he’ll tell you that he still wants to be an astronaut. Kevin has a diverse background in space and space science education. A former manager of the world-renowned U.S. Space Camp program in Huntsville, Alabama, and a former executive of two Challenger Learning Centers, Kevin continues to work with space every day. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters. His home is seldom a boring place.
Kevin's short fiction has appeared internationally through Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, AntipodeanSF, Mindflights, Twisted Dreams Magazine and most recently in the anthology Extreme Planets, available from Chaosium.