Thursday, February 24, 2011

I just got the new issue of Sci Fi magazine (affiliated with the SyFy network), which has a review of my book Mad Skills! Here's an excerpt:



By Adam-Troy Castro


This is Flowers for Algernon, gene-spliced to La Femme Nikita, the Bourne Series, MacGyver, and The Prisoner.

It’s the story of Maddy Grant, a typical happy teen obsessed with clothes and pop culture, who is exposed to a gas leak and brain-damaged to the point of extreme mental retardation. After a year of disability she is subjected to a radical cybernetic implant that doesn’t just repair her brain injury, but also makes her an extreme super-genius, capable of absorbing entire libraries of information in less time than an Internet download. The downside of this is that she is even more estranged from her old life than she was before, as she is unable to watch television, go to the mall, or have even a simple conversation with her parents or old friends without understanding more than a girl her age wants to know. She sees the negative societal context of everything, the emotional manipulations behind even the most basic human interactions, and is even more alienated from the world she once knew.

In fact, Maddy’s thought processes are so swift that she’s also become about as dangerous as a human being can possibly be, able to win fights against overwhelming odds with an innate instantaneous understanding of the tools at hand and the weaknesses of anybody who opposes her. This quickly supersedes her common sense avoidance of trouble, and leads to institutionalization at an isolated community sponsored by the institute that operated on her, a community dedicated to perfecting the technology for use in the mental control of entire populations.

Conflict ensues when Maddy dedicates herself to escape.

Walter Greatshell is a first-rate writer of action scenes, who choreographs the regular bursts of over-the-top mayhem with a genius that makes Maddy an endearingly resourceful and often frightening superhero of sorts, capable of fighting heavily-armed hit squads to a standstill with nothing but household items scavenged from beneath bathroom sinks. The conspiracy elements, the paranoid world building, and the loneliness of his protagonist, are all also profoundly well-handled. The narrative itself is compulsively readable.

...All in all, Maddy’s implacability will drive many readers to happy cries of “You go, girl!” There may not be a sequel, but it would be welcomed.


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