Better Than Real: Sensual Solutions for the Discerning Client - Huw Lyan Thomas An eminently readable cyperpunk, action SF fable stocked with engaging characters and fearsome villains. Lee, a techie who gets caught in the middle of an escape attempt by a self-aware sex android and the quasi-military organization that wants to keep her under wraps, is reminiscent of Neo of The Matrix, although with more eastern culture (read Chinese) proclivities. His motivation is the potential wealth and fortune he can bring to himself and his family should he be able to commercialize the entity embodied in the android. The android, Lilith, turns out to be a trained assasin who has skills to match the bad guys' worst nightmare --- Stranger (rhymes with hanger), a cyborg honed to the efficient termination of its 'clients'. Along the way, the waif Sooz, teenage resident of the slum-like parking hive, is wafted along the rushing air of flight. Hooked up in an unlikely alliance, the trio of Lee, Lilith and Sooz wind up in a massive underground project to send a seed ship into space. There's a bit of a disjoint in the story flow here going from the flat out escape to their resurrection at the base of the shipwrights. But perhaps, Thomas was aiming for the James Bond effect - going from one seriously bad situation to an even bigger scene at the boss' main base.
This is one of those books meant to be devoured in one or two sittings. It's not that long, perhaps only novella length, and it moves along at a good pace. Like a blockbuster movie, this is not a story inviting you to stop and pause at spots to think about what's actually going on, but just hurtles on to what mad conclusion it has planned for you. That's probably the best formula to enjoy this book, to think of it as a two-day read just like a two-hour movie.
And I did enjoy it. The print version may be hard to find but e-versions are available on Smashwords. The author apparently has not written another SF book so this may be a one-up that defines the whole SF career of Huw Lyan Thomas, making it all the more precious.