Book Review: Memory Wire by Robert Charles Wilson

A dark story about Raymond Keller, an ex-soldier who can record everything he sees and hears, using it as an emtional barrier between himself and the grim world he moves in.

In Memory Wire, a meteorite has been discovered encoded with information from an alien civilisation. Each piece broken off from the meteorite holds an incredible amount of information, some of it can be decoded by computer, more comes from human contact with the stones. Access to the latest batches of stones are heavily controlled and the story follows Keller, an ex-army colleague and an artist who uses the stones to unlock memories in others, as they try to collect and smuggle away from the mine a new type of stone thought to be more powerful than all of the others.

The characters give good counterpoints to each other. Keller strives to be emotionless, to forget his earlier life and a love that died. Teresa is haunted by her lack of childhood memories after surviving an accident that killed her family. Ostler loves Teresa, but she rejects him, although he saved her from an earlier addiction to drugs. Existing in a grim, dirty future where those with access to the stones have the power, and make sure they keep it for themselves, the characters struggle to become what they want to be, or at least become something different from what they are.

If you like cyberpunk and dark futures where technology and information are affecting people's lives, generally for the negative, then this is one for you.

Title: Memory Wire
Author: Robert Charles Wilson
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 0-7088-8340-0
Published Date: 1987
Pages: 219

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The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
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Review by Paul Silver, 2004