The Long Run: A Tale of the Continuing Time - Daniel Keys Moran

Even on well panned riverbeds, one can still find gold. And this is just what I found, via the Goodreads discussion groups, a golden book from the 80s. [b:The Long Run|403016|The Long Run A Tale of the Continuing Time|Daniel Keys Moran||1416] is the 2nd book of the Continuing Time series by [a:Daniel Keys Moran|196482|Daniel Keys Moran|]. It's primarily the story of Trent Castanaveras, 2nd generation genetically engineered human, who unlike Carl of the 1st book ([b:Emerald Eyes|1262998|Emerald Eyes|Daniel Keys Moran||1251862], an amazing book in its own right) is not a telepath but instead is physically enhanced. Trent is a thief and a (cyber-)Player who is moved to payback the atrocities of the world-dominating military, the Peacekeeper Force, in particular, of the cyborg Vance Mohammed. The book covers the pursuit of Trent by Vance from subjugated earth to the Lagrangian stations and onto the moon. That pursuit in and of itself is engaging, although there are instances of fortunate coincidences to help Trent along. What is memorable is the inventive use of the back story and its science fictional elements that avoid the sensation of "plucking things out of thin air" that can be found in similar chase stories. Along the way, Moran presents a view of both the physical and cyber worlds of his future that is amazingly contemporary and, except for one aspect noted below, does not feel dated at all.

Moran's prose has a schizo tendency to jump about in short bursts, particularly during action sequences, from one point of view or point in time to another. This may be a jarring style that takes time to get used to. Since I made through the first book, I was used to this by this second book. In fact, I think Moran is more linear in his approach here. Anyway, I view this technique as supplemntal to the "coolness" factor of the story-telling reminiscent of [a:Neal Asher|56353|Neal Asher|]'s [b:Gridlinked|98046|Gridlinked (Agent Cormac, #1)|Neal Asher||1487886] or [a:William Gibson|9226|William Gibson|]'s Sprawl series.

Trent is an interesting character. The comparison to Case of [b:Neuromancer|22328|Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1)|William Gibson||909457] comes up immediately because of the cyber skills, but ultimately Case is a victim of circumstances outside his control while Trent makes his own destiny. Another comparison is with Wade of [b:Ready Player One|9969571|Ready Player One|Ernest Cline||14863741], this time with the game Player dimension, and I think, with their relative youthfulness. Both reluctantly find themselves "King of the Hill" and give the powers-that-be a kick in the b. Trent survives the reading process better because of his intransigent nature that seems to say, "you thought you knew me, but you actually don't" weeks after the final page.

For all the imaginative extrapolation of Moran's world-building, especially in relation to the development of the worldwide net and cyber culture, he did miss out on Moore's Law. While the book considers 700 TB of memory as a pinnacle of technical achievement, other authors have projected singularity based on the progressing speeds of digital computation. But this minor issue does not detract from the overall quality of the book. Take this as just a wise-ass comment from a lowly reviewer. Regardless, Moran has made a fan out of me, and I am adding him to my list of must-read authors.

I am looking forward to reading the next two books in the series. For fans of the books mentioned above, this one is highly recommended.