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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
Gabriel is the son and heir of the charismatic but unstable head of a religious sect which battles against the seemingly unstoppable advance of the Metaform - a computer mainframe into which the consciousness of individuals is uploaded and stored for eventual downloading into new semi-organic bodies. Manumission by E.R. Harding chronicles Gabriel’s life and misadventures as he undertakes to upload his consciousness into the machine to do battle from within. Using several interconnected threads, the author weaves an intriguing narrative which details the origins and development of the Metaform, along with many novel concepts and ideas which color the picture of this dystopian future world; a world where the rich can discard their diseased or dissipated bodies and have their consciousness downloaded into an attractive semi-organic new one with a variety of optional upgrades; a world where the hungry poor live a hand-to-mouth existence; a world far removed from the digital minds in charge of the Metaform. Can Gabriel and his colleagues have any impact at all on this global behemoth?
Manumission is a very worthwhile read. Author E.R. Harding has created a wholly original world peopled with solid, rounded characters and has set them in a variety of mind-boggling situations. The author handles the difficult concepts of minds inhabiting cyberspace, time, and the construction of new host bodies masterfully and avoids over-complicated text or explanations. The narrative moves along at a brisk pace with the various plot lines merging logically and seamlessly as the story progresses. An impressive first novel and a worthy addition to the sci-fi genre. I thoroughly enjoyed Manumission and I look forward to reading more from this author.