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Beautiful Red

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Author: M. Darusha Wehm
Published: 2007
Language: English
Wordcount: 59,015 / 164 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 69.4
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 5,323
Added to site: 2009.04.08 23892
License: by-nc-nd

The future is boring. Technology has solved most of the world’s most pressing problems, leaving people with tedious work and mundane play. Jack is a Security Officer Class 5, which sounds important, but isn’t. However, her banal life as a cubicle worker by day and tinkerer by night is interrupted when she discovers that her employer’s computer system has been invaded. Jack enlists the help of her only friends – her co-worker, Gilles and Adrian, an online friend she’s never met – to help her track down the source of the invasion. Her investigation leads her to a shadowy group called the Red, where Jack learns that not everyone lives a life of quiet servitude. Even though she believes that the Red are responsible for a series of gruesome attacks, Jack begins to become attracted to their worldview. In her search for the people responsible for the attacks, she confronts the leaders of the group as well as her own burgeoning sense of self-awareness.

Show Excerpt

ssed as if he were from another era. His hairstyle and clothes looked like something out of an early first generation video show short neat hair, white button up shirts, a flap of fabric hanging from his neck that he called a tie, and eyeglasses. He even managed to find a way to make his regulation trousers seem old. Jack suspected he spent a lot of time at home with a fabric gun flattening pockets and tapering legs.

He wasn't completely antiquated, though. Like most people, he had several implanted diodes in his face, fashionably placed at his eyebrow, nose, lips, ears and cheeks. Really, he was an entertaining enough fellow, it was just that his obsession was a little bit too over the top for Jack, especially before her second coffee of the day.

Back at her desk, Jack started paging through Gilles' report from the night shift. Security officers were required to write up reports of their observations over the course of a shift and for the few times something did occur these reports were invalua

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 3.5 from 4 reviews: ****

A good idea and some pretty interesting trails followed. The construction of the future world manages to transmit an air of isolation, occlusion and chill as it composes picture of plausible future for us.

Unfortunately, the rhythm is slow and it takes quite a while to actually lead somewhere. The ending is disappointing as it leaves the most interesting notions the author was playing with almost unexplored.

The character's profiles are not well developed and they lack depth.

It is a good read if you want to pass time, but it certainly leaves you feeling there could have been so much more to the good underlaying ideas.

C. Alan Loewen

Beautiful Red is a cautionary, low-key, cyberpunk tale that though it lacks the action of a William Gibson novel, it well makes up for it by posing some interesting questions about humanity when flesh and circuits are fused together.

Jack's job is network security in a near future when the Everywherenet reigns supreme. A boring job due to advanced security making life very difficult for hackers, Jack discovers that somebody might be uploading a trojan program into peoples heads that is causing a fate worse than death.


I'd have to disagree with the previous reviewer -- this is a pretty dull tale, with an unnecessary amount of tedious details (like the bland descriptions of the main characters living space and food) and a lack of interesting descriptions for any part of the story that might move the plot forward.

The technology and supporting characters are given short shrift as well, as though they were pulled out a catalog.


Not being a huge fan of modern science-fiction, I downloaded this out of curiosity and proceeded to read it in two sessions.

This is good. Very good.

Elegant and literate, with well-developed characters and ideas and some exceptionally interesting devices to make the reader see what the author sees, the (very) occasional lapse into sci-fi cliché - "anti-gravity chip", for example - are easily overlooked and make for a compelling read.

If, like me, you are an occasional sci-fi reader, this is essential. Hard-boiled fans will love it.



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Howard Reiss
Howard Reiss an especially gifted storyteller with a knack for creating fully developed characters and original storylines. He recently published his 6th novel, The Texture of Love. The Old Drive-In, Howard Reiss’ fifth novel, is a nostalgic reflection on what could have been. As our Author of the Day, Reiss tells us more about this book and what it took to write it.
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