By Pat Cadigan
Everyone dreams of something better, but no one wants to wake up.
In the absence of meaning, life has become an endless search for more media to consume. Synthesizers work tirelessly to keep up with demand, turning every experience into “porn” for the masses to consume. Even the hackers that revile it can’t completely escape the need to escape what the world has become. Now a new technology promises to bridge the gap between illusion and reality.
Anyone looking for a dense read will find a welcome challenge in Synners. Memories and inner reflections thread through the scenes, filtering everything through the perspective of the current point of view character. The frequent change of perspective can be confusing at times, but the narrative voices are so distinct that audiences will quickly learn to recognize who the current narrator is, as each character struggles in their search for something real. Each perspective focuses on a personal journey, full of rich inner reflections, but leaves little room for any kind of overarching conflict.
Instead most of the story is spent orbiting a series of vague problems, using short lived struggles to explore issues of reality, art, and escapism, while avoiding any extended conflict that might root the story in a primary issue. The language is rich with evocative imagery and literary motifs, but eventually the illusion of meaning wears thin. The story settles into an 11th hour threat, uniting its diverse subplots into a climax rich with symbolic references to everything that came before. The potency of the ending is only marred by how estranged it feels from rest of the story.