Men’s Recovery Project.
On-air disputes with Sick of it All.
Touring Europe with Articles of Faith.
To accurately fathom the influence Sam McPheeters has had on your humble narrator during his formative years, one would need to employ the services of a couple of flowcharts.
Needless to say that I was intrigued when Sam started dabbling as a writer, with Loom of Ruin from 2012 being his novel debut, which, in essence, was a amalgamation of cliffhangers meandering to an apocalyptic end.
Exploded View is the story of a city frozen in crisis, haunted by hardship and overwhelmed by refugees, where technology gives everyday citizens the power to digitally reshape news in real time, and where hard video evidence is impotent against the sheer, unrelenting power of belief.
After destroying Los Angeles in his previous oeuvre, Exploded View offers a peek into L.A.’s dystopian future:
It’s 2050, and LAPD Detective Terri Pastuzka has drawn the short straw with her first assignment of the new decade. Someone has executed one of the city’s countless immigrants, and no one (besides the usual besieged advocacy groups) seems to much care. Even Terri herself is already looking ahead to her next case before an unexpected development reveals there’s far more to this corpse than meets the eye.
In a city immersed in augmented reality, the LAPD have their own superior network of high-tech eyewear—PanOpts, the ultimate panopticon—allowing Terri instant access to files and suspects and literal insertion into the crime scene using security footage captured from every angle the day the murder occurred. What started as a single homicide turns into a string of unsolved murders that tie together in frightening ways, leading Terri down a rabbit hole through Los Angeles’s conflicting realities—augmented and virtual, fantastically rumored and harrowingly true—towards an impossible conclusion.
What makes Exploded View an engaging read is that McPheeters seems to have had an open concept during the writing process, with current and personal events finding their equivalent in this science fiction novel.
In the age of “fake news,” Exploded View with its short chapters evoking a cinematic feel tells the story of this decade, where falsifying news is de rigueur and where adjusting and modifying what is fed to the wider public as “reality” is a mere man-made changeable, nuanced constituent rather than an immutable constant.
With Sam McPheeters constantly reinventing himself, Exploded View whets the appetite for his next project.
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