zxvasdf's Reviews > Mad Skills

Mad Skills by Walter Greatshell
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's review
Mar 01, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: goodreads-first-reads
Read from March 07 to 10, 2011

I don't know how long it's been since I've read a thriller, but this was a great choice to jump back into the genre. The plot summary on the back of the book, despite being adequate enough to hook the potential reader's interest, doesn't do the book justice.

Mad Skills is actually a philosophical treatise of Man's nature in a rapidly technologizing world, and throws in as an appetizer an interesting essay on alienation and displacement of identity. It is a faint echo of novels like Speed of Dark and Flowers for Algernon. Maddy has to come to terms with her role in the natural order of things in a suburban life. She has gone from a normal all American teen to a paraplegic to a supergenius. How does she fit into an identity whose pleasures and conceits have become trivial in her transformed outlook of the world? And what does she do when she finds out the Man doesn't have the people in its best interests?

In a nutshell, I think the times calls for someone like Maddy to transform the world. With her mad skillz she could easily gain funding and begin to mass produce much of the technology that may let people live easily and cheaply, and most importantly, more free. The lust for money is an obstacle in the progress of mankind, and despite appearances, hobbles a brighter future.

Greatshell's talent comes with leading the reader through a sequence in which our natural assumptions are in play, then throws in a small amount of information that changes our perception of the passage. He also does a wonderful job of extrapolating future technology in a way that is absorbing yet not too> technical. I loved how he wrote the scenes in which Maddy needed to pull a MacGyver, creatively using common household items to build a means of escape.

Thanks, Mr Greatshell, for giving us a great read! I'm a fan now, and am glad that your body of work is not large (yet) so I can easily play catch up.

*I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads*
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