On the arid planet of Garadia floats Prominence City, an oasis of abundance and technological marvels. For Keidi and Artenz, life is good. Each day, they work hard to fulfill their role in sustaining Prominence. In return, they share an existence without worry or want, their every need attended to by the ruling corporations, their lives enhanced by a virtual reality accessible with a simple thought.
But when a dear friend of Keidi suddenly goes missing, their idyllic existence begins to crumble. And when they start asking questions—the wrong questions, questions that reveal cracks in Prominence’s perfect image—the powerful corporations of Prominence take notice.
Now, Keidi and Artenz must choose: do they stay in Prominence and risk the wrath of the corporations, or do they take their chances and run for the Lowlands, a bleak and mysterious place hidden beneath Prominence—if it even exists at all.
I had a chance to read an advanced copy of this book. Interesting book. Great read. The author took a lot of time in crafting the plot, and it shows. Page after page has details about the world, and by the time you finish, you feel totally immersed.
When it comes to reading or watching films, I’m a big picture person. I’m not a plot revealing person. I read some reviews, and people give away too much. Leave something for the reader to read! With that noted, I found the overall theme of the book to be one of trying to retain a sense of identity in a world of big tech. Now, this isn’t to mean it’s Orwellian. I won’t go that for. It just means the characters have to solve the plot by trying to navigate road blocks.
We've read this one before. People live in a future society that is technologically superior and works to the benefit of all mankind, or does it? What happens to those who question the status quo? Is the world outside a horrible, hellish wasteland? Or a free thinker's paradise? It gets three stars for being readable, if predictable.
I received this book free from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
A solid sci-fi adventure! Reminiscent of... maybe Logan's Run? Blade Runner a little? Good guys running away from bad guys in a futuristic city with some totalitarian elements. And I enjoyed it!
Maybe I'll write a more thorough review later, but while it's fresh in my mind, here are a few things that struck me in particular:
I like that the protagonists are a husband and wife. That's a different dynamic to follow in a sci-fi adventure, and I was on-board. The relationship between them felt comfortable and loving, and it was a nice change of pace from the FALLING in love that often feels forced and obligatory in adventure stories. I like rooting for a couple like this.
I like that success doesn't hinge on our heroes being amazing fighters and defeating the bad guys with punches, kicks, and bullets. Artenz - the husband - is a coder; Keidi - the (pregnant) wife - is a small-electronics technician. And while they're both competent professionals, they're not like THE BEST OF THE BEST or secretly amazing marksmen or martial artists or something. They're not about to win in a fight with a hitman. They're just a fairly average couple, though with a few radical connections that pull them into the bad graces of some very powerful organizations. And they have to leverage their every-day skills against these huge forces, and we get to root for some true underdogs.
Also, as I was finishing, it struck me that you could read this as more "pure" sci-fi: a story about a far-off time and place; or you could read it as dystopian: a futuristic setting that's really a mask for commentary on today's society (Forgive me if you disagree with that breakdown of sci-fi vs. dystopian. That's how I think of the genres, and it's my review). No spoilers here, but the root cause of the conflict in the book is related to how a new technology is affecting children, and I found myself thinking about application today. Do "blank babies" have an analogue in our world? It's given me some pause, and I'm curious how much the author meant this to be commentary. Made me want to read it and discuss with a book group.
Final note and disclosure: I've read this book twice - once as an unpublished draft and once as a final product. I enjoyed it both times, but I took special delight reading the finished product and noticing the improvements. In particular, there were a couple of places where I could see how a suggestion I made had impacted the book, and I felt some... maybe not fatherly pride in the book, but avuncular pride at least. So it's possible I'm too close to it to be an objective reviewer. But I really did like it, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys classic sci-fi. Good stuff!
A fast-paced, smart, and chilling sci-fi thriller!
The layers of Prominence City run deep, pulling you into its virtual mirage, with a promise of all you could dream of and more. The mysteries surrounding the characters are just as enticing as the questions about its corporations including who and what they control. But beware: Prominence may swallow you up into its dark and deadly secrets. Eston draws you in with an intertwining plot, impressive worldbuilding, and compelling characters. There are several twists and turns as the protagonists seek to escape a system that holds them as prisoners. If you’re looking for an exciting sci-fi adventure, then buckle up and prepare for a thrilling ride in this smart, fast-paced, and chilling dystopia. I highly recommend it.
Reading this book is your ticket to another world. You will be able to explore its layers, its technology and the characters who live there. From the start, you will wonder where Detel has gone, the identity of the secret leading to her downfall and whether her brother, Artenz, and his wife, Keidi, will be able to escape the forces that brought Detel to her knees. This book will draw you in. You will love the code-speak, the intricacy of the technology, the time/ date markers and the characters. The pace is fast with moments of reflection. Even the antagonists are complex, with motivations of their own. The author does not disappoint, taking each character through his or her own story arc. This book has all the sci-fi extras: a character guide, a glossary, a map, intricate technologies and relics of dystopia.
Eston is a unique and talented storyteller and he continues with his newest venture into science fiction – Deficiency. Without giving too much away, the author takes us into a whole new world. Eston writes in tight, descriptive prose. No wasted words. Deficiency is a fast-paced novel full of futuristic ideas and protagonists, colorful characters and a great plot and a satisfying ending. If you are into sci-fi or just a fine story, this novel is for you. It didn’t let me down.
I had a chance to read an early version of this book, and I've got to say, I really liked it! A great sci-fi, fast paced with very interesting ideas! The characters feel real and are very complex! Fans of the genre won't be disappointed.
...there is a sequel right?!?.... there needs to be a sequel!
This is a wonderfully written book, with a scaled pacing that takes the time to fully immerse you into the world of Prominence City, Garadia. Unlike many books today, the characters are relatable, they feel, realistic. It is a world very close to our own and a warning of what it could become...if we aren't already there.
This is a definite read for those that love suspense, heroism and adventure. It is, in the end, a story of defiance, sacrifice and victories over monolithic conformity.
Deficiency is a great, wild read through a world that ours seems to be mirroring a little bit more everyday. Give Facebook and Google 100 years and this may no longer be fiction! The main character, Artenz, was good but my favorite was his tech holdout spouse, Keidi. The cast of characters fighting the system are some I hope we have looking out for us all someday. The author also lays out some impressive imagery that would fit in Elysium or Bladerunner. Definitely one to check out!
A book with a dramatis personae!! It deserves an extra star just for that. "Deficiency" was really fun sci-fi thriller. It's one of those corporations vs. the little guy stories. The story takes place in an unusual setting, a multi-level city built on a slab supported by four gigantic pillars. It reminded me of "The Realms of Tartarus" by Brian M. Stableford (another really good sci fi book).
This book is one of the reasons why I love the dystopian genre so much. It holds many universal truths represented in the “what could go wrong” scenarios, and I believe the author did a brilliant job in playing with these concepts. Told from the multiple point of views, it’s a story that grabs your attention right from the beginning and becomes harder and harder to put down as you are progressing through the next chapters. Characters are believable, complex and yet easy to understand and follow, which, at least for me, made it easy to care for them from the first chapters and really impatient to read about what will happen to them next.
It’s hard to imagine a good sci-fi story happening in the plain and non-interesting world, and S.C. Eston has definitely known that while writing “Deficiency”. The world he built and the way it impacted the narrative were simply fantastic. I found it well thought out on many levels, and easy to believe to thanks to focusing not only on the technology that was the leading part of the book, but also thanks to focusing on presenting the society dynamic in this technologically advanced world. It had a full range of these, allowing the reader to see what the family / career / or personal goals looked like and how the world either supported or stood in the way of achieving these.
It’s always hard to write a good review when you enjoyed a book so much that you want to talk about characters or events that you loved, yet you want to avoid spoilers, so le me say that: read it! If sci-fi dystopian (particularly with a high tech / coding angle) is something that you enjoy reading, you should absolutely add “Deficiency” to your reading list. I’m definitely looking forward to reading other books from this author.
Wow, what a fantastic read. I’m glad to have checked out this authors work! This story captivated me. I love the use of coding, it was woven into the story in a way I’ve never seen before. And the way each chapter left off on a cliffhanger left me desperate for more, starting the next chapter right away. I do hope S.C. Eston signs my copy one day!
I’m now a huge fan, and this is definitely my new favourite book!
THE WISHING SHELF BOOK AWARDS 5th June 2022 TITLE: Deficiency AUTHOR: S.C. Eston
Star Rating: 5
REVIEW This is a thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi novel from the pen of S C Eston. It follows two complex, central characters living in the perfect city of Prominence. But, as is often the way, the characters (along with the readers) soon discover the perfect world they live in is not as perfect as they thought, and they must decide whether to battle the powerful corporations who control the city or try to escape to the mythical Lowlands. This is a fast-paced novel, with plenty happening all the time. The city is vividly described, as is the cleverly designed technology, offering the reader a fully formed, futuristic setting to get lost in. In terms of the writing style, it's all very succinct, and not at all flowery. This author is no fan of purple prose! Another element of the story I very much enjoyed was the author´s ability to extrapolate from the present day to the futuristic world in the novel. In Prominence City, the corporations control everything, reflecting the Amazons, the Teslas the Microsofts of now, and the way things (sadly) seem to be going. In many ways, this novel did remind me of Elysium, and I suspect most sci-fi (and possibly dystopia) fans will find this book compelling. They´ll love the complexity of the technology and the cleverly plotted story. But I think it´s the two protagonists who will keep them turning the page. I was rooting for them all the way to the very end; and I think you will too.
TO SUM UP A complex sci-fi plot with two strong, memorable protagonists.
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought: Title: Deficiency Author: S.C. Eston
Star Rating: 5 Stars Number of Readers: 16 Stats Editing: 8/10 Writing Style: 8/10 Content: 9/10 Cover: 5/5
Of the 16 readers: 15 would read another book by this author. 16 thought the cover was good or excellent. 15 felt it was easy to follow. 16 would recommend this book to another reader to try. Of all the readers, 6 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting a story’. Of all the readers, 6 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘developing the characters’. Of all the readers, 4 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘writing style’. 16 felt the pacing was good or excellent. 15 thought the author understood the readership and what they wanted.
Readers’ Comments “An interesting sci-fi/thriller mix with strong, interesting characters and a skilfully crafted plot. The author works hard to put over the scale of the city with all the futuristic elements. I enjoyed this novel very much.” Male reader, aged 51 “This novel follows two characters trying to fight the system. It´s not particularly original, but it´s thought-provoking in parts, and there´s plenty happening. I liked the simple writing style and the strong pacing.” Female reader, aged 32 “A bit of a techno-thriller, the author enjoying wowing the reader with his inventive mind. It all felt very real and very possible. Fast-paced, complex characters, amazing setting.” Male reader, aged 67 “It´s always enjoyable to read a book in which the author knows how to keep things moving and knows how to balance sharp dialogue with character development.” Male reader, aged 57
To Sum It Up: ‘A fast-paced techno-thriller with a strong cast of memorable characters.’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards