Strictly Analog, by Richard Levesque (40:00)

IOD-StrictlyAnalogSometimes a well-painted world is all it takes.

What I gleaned from the story: In a decaying world where even your ferret has a live-to-net video feed, some problems require a guy who couldn’t leave a bit-trace if he tried. In that case, you go to Lomax. Ex-military, tough as nails… And strictly analog.

Find the book on Amazon.

Kudos: There’s a lot to like about this one, and I thoroughly enjoyed my entire 40 minutes. I think what struck me most was the world. This is not a pastiche of re-arranged science fiction tropes, but it is familiar. It’s the LA we all know and love, but grittier, and more… run down. A very believable setting that Levesque manages to deliver without any awkward info dumps or voice-overs. All the world-painting strokes are tucked in and around the natural movements and activities of the characters, making the entire place feel very much lived in. And slightly sticky to the touch.

Note: I love the title, but the cover is a total misfire. Not because the image is a bad image, but because it completely fails to sell this story. The image of a 1940s pay phone supports the word “analaog,” sure, but that word is only important when contrasted against the hyper-connected world of the future in which the story is set. And it’s that contrast that makes Lomax such an interesting character. Without the contrast, this cover doesn’t show me a glimpse of the ironic “fish out of water” sci-fi thriller that’s inside. Instead, it seems to be promising a 1940s murder mystery, and I suspect that this is reason enough for a great many potential readers to pass it by without even pausing.

StrictlyAnalogAddendum: Upon reading the entire book, I was thoroughly entertained, so Strictly Analog was chosen as one of the 8 books to represent ImmerseOrDie in the first IOD StoryBundle collection. As part of the preparation for that event, the author updated his cover to what I think is a much more genre-appropriate look, shown here.

Mad Tinker's Daughter, by J.S. Morin (40:00)
Apex Rising, by Tom Wright (6:16)