7 Things About Behind Blue Eyes
Whoo, it's been a while.
Who would have known that having an infant in the house would cut into my reading time?
Olympias is the perfect society where the people live lives of unparalleled pleasure. And watching over this society are the Guardian Angels, brutally efficient battle cyborgs that hunt down the enemies of Olympias, be that rival cyborgs from the other corporations or those that have rejected Olympias. Both revered and feared in city, the Angels hold the highest rank among the citizens.
But one of the Angels, Niphilium, has doubts about the perfection of the society under her protection. And when an accident releases her mind from the ever-watching eyes of her superiors she starts to see that her society is not as perfect as she had been led to believe.
1. A Book About Cyborgs Who Look Badass Doing Things That Are Awesome
That' pretty much covers a lot of this book. Nearly indestructible machine-human abominations acting as the boot smashing a human face forever. And one of them falls in wuave... AWWWW!!
2. What is cyberpunk?
This genre has been a favorite of mine for about a year now. Or, at least, I've made an effort to work my way through a few of the classics from the 90's. And cyberpunk, to me, is two things. First, it's a style. And you know it when you see it. Electronics poking out of flesh, robot eyes, cybernetic enhancements and an absolute shit-ton of sheet metal and blue light.
This book has that feel. The author can paint a word picture and this is one of those books that really lets the reader immerse themselves in the 'movie of the mind'.
3. What is Cyberpunk? Part 2:
Cyberpunk is also... well punk. Which means a giant middle finger to the 'establishment'. And with cyberpunk it's often a cautionary tale; a worst-case scenario that will unfold if we continue to let the greedheads and the corporate swine run loose on our society. It is a dark future of oppressive control born out of what horrors freedom might unleash.
And this book has that as well. All of that. Arguably too much.
For me, the Behind Blue Eyes seemed to want to cram as many cyberpunk dystopian ideas into one story as it possibly could. And the result felt unfocused to me. Our heroine finds herself at odds with an omnipotent and omnipresent system with no clear idea how to fight it. And, without spoiling too much, nothing really materializes.
4. So.... Is This Cyberpunk?
Short answer: yes.
Long answer, well maybe but not my preferred version of the genre?
I will say this. It's got the cyber. It's missing the punk.
Well, missing is the wrong word. More like it feels like it gets buried under everything else. I guess what I am saying is that it looks a lot like some really good cyberpunk novels. But as far as the social commentary —which may be only something I look for in the genre— it's not as solid.
5. Love conquerors all. Well most things. A few things. Love is stupid.
Okay, there is one theme that emerges and that is this strange idea that an authoritarian government in order to maintain complete loyalty would, ideally, have to abolish close romantic relationships. Or at least make them terribly unfashionable. Our heroine's journey takes us into a world of endless hedonistic pleasure that, frankly bores her.
But upon discovering a deeper human connection than a quick in-out she sees a world where her loyalties are suddenly divided.
6. Great minds?
I find it interesting that, as far as this goes, Olympias bares a close resemblance to Cytherian society of my own book. Or specifically the idea that if you can eliminate all close human bonds than a citizen's only loyalty will be to the state.
Or maybe it's not that outlandish of an idea. It's apocryphal that you control the people with bread and circuses. Throw a nice, wet sloppy orgy all over the place an not one person will ever raise a fuss about silly little things like human rights.
This is also why the religious right will never win. To control people you need orgies. Simple fact.
7. The Verdict ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overall, a fun book. Anyone looking for a action adventure with a cyberpunk bent and a touch of dystopian would likely enjoy this. Lots of action, bad-ass killer cyborgs a little sex and romance. Oh and a horny, nerdy engineer that becomes oddly endearing. Still a little creepy. But oddly endearing.