Anthony Vicino wrote an interesting post a few days ago in which he compared his recent reads of two different cyberpunk novels, one of which was mine. The other was Convergence by Michael Patrick Hicks. Anthony didn't just say he enjoyed the novels but went into some depth of the strengths and weaknesses of each. The best thing for me was when he gave his feelings on the weakest part of my book:
"TIG had some great concepts and interesting side-characters, but the main characters Zoya and Marcus didn’t really work for me. Zoya turns into a sociopath with a death-wish 3/4 of the way through the story, and Marcus devolves into a love-sick puppy."
I was very happy to see this. First of all, no character is going to work for every reader, so it's no surprise that these two characters came up short for Anthony. I'd be much more concerned if most readers felt the same way. I was happy about the comment because the description he used was precisely what I was going for when I wrote the book!
Zoya was just an average young woman struggling to live in future Moscow. When everything goes wrong for her and the mob is trying to kill her and everyone she loves, I needed her to reach a point of near-collapse. I needed her to realize that her life as she knew it was gone and could never come back. It would have been so easy for her to give up and let the mobsters kill her, but in the end she decides that with no life left, and with the interesting new military technology that she now has, she was going to go after the people who ruined her life. Does that make her a sociopath with a death-wish? You bet! That won't work for all readers, but it was what I meant for her.
|Zoya by Stephan Martiniere|
Marcus was a character that I knew up front wouldn't work for some readers. He is weak, or at least that is how he views himself. He was essentially a shut-in back home in Phoenix. He always felt he could never measure up to his world-famous genius of a father, so it was natural he became a Mesh addict. After his father's death and his mother also becoming an addict, Marcus stayed shut up in his apartment and didn't go out for years. He had no experience at all with women other than his mother, and his 'life' had been lived in a virtual manner, on the Web and locked up in his apartment.
So it was important for me to show him as one who was not driving his own fate, not performing his own actions but rather being pushed into them by his AI father. As horrific as things become for him in Moscow, it's his first brush with real life in years, and that is exciting on some level. And meeting Zoya is like the most potent drug in creation for him. She's not a classic beauty, but she might as well be as far as he is concerned. She is real and vibrant and alive, and that is intoxicating for him. And it leads to him defying his father for the first time ever and making some decisions of his own. Does that make him a love-sick puppy? Yep, and that's what I needed him to be in the story I wanted to tell.
I want to thank Anthony for such a great and insightful review. He made me think about my own story for the first time in a while (considering I finished writing it quite some time ago).