Remy Sharp's Reviews > The Passengers

The Passengers by John Marrs
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Certainly a page turner and an easy read. Interesting concepts on near-future issues, but I was left feeling a bit…unchallenged.

The story, sort of, revolves around Libby who is a juror on a panel that decides who is responsible in autonomous car collisions. These inquests have always been closed-doors and utterly opaque, and nearly always lays the fault on the human, so Libby gives us an inside view of what's going on.

There's a "Hacker" who takes control of a number of cars and states that each Passenger will die in two hours time. It's then put to the jurors in the inquest to decide (along with a vote from the public - ala dystopian x-factor) as to which single individual will survive.

Jack Larsson is an MP on the panel of jurors. He's horrid. I got the impression he was a Farage type character, disgustingly sexist, racist, self centred, the works. The author does a great job of keeping Larsson on character - as much as it was hard to read this character.

What I had trouble with was how the Hacker had unprecedented control over not only *every single car* in the UK, but also what seemed like hundred of cameras inside the inquest. The hacker could turn off the audio from the passengers and somehow also kill their network reception on their phones (okay, maybe…) but why the passengers didn't resort to writing on a bit of paper to communicate…it seemed like (to me at least) an obvious tool to use.

The hijacking story ends around 80% in the book which left me kind of confused as to what was coming next. The last of the book is split in half between 3 months later where Libby is the voice for an activist group and the 2 years later when (another) inquest into Jack Larsson's involvement.

The end felt pretty jarring whilst also trying to clean up all the loose ends and (almost) quickly making sure all the baddies have their comeuppance (though in "reality" the real baddies get away scott free…).

I think it makes a good holiday read, but not so well suited to my desire to read a clever dystopian view on near-future technology.
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Reading Progress

May 20, 2019 – Started Reading
May 20, 2019 – Shelved
May 20, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
May 27, 2019 –
62.0% "Started strong, interesting near future and relevent issues: autonomous vehicles and where liability lays. But now turning into a slightly cliché character line up. Feels like one of the characters is based on Farage which is making me feel rather ill, and the "Hacker" is supposed to be okay with murdering many people in a game like method but we're supposed to believe there's some political motive to his terrorism."
May 30, 2019 – Finished Reading

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