The Nightmare by Fred Russell
Reviewed by Morgan K. Tanner
Frank is dying. Cancer. You may think all is lost. But alas, there is a cryogenics programme up and running that promises to bring you back some time in the future. When you are reanimated is up to you, but Frank decides he wants to come back in 10000 years, when death has finally been exterminated from humanity.
His wife says that she too will be put in the freezer when she passes on, for them to meet up again, forever and ever.
Some may say this sounds like the thing of nightmares, but Frank really loves his Willameena, so this all seems rosy.
And so we are thrust forward in time to Frank awaking at his chosen period. And would you believe it? His wife is there, as promised.
As mentioned, death has finally be eradicated, and this should surely be a time to celebrate. Well, how do you suppose death is able to be a thing of the past? Yeah, robot-people.
You see, in the future, people will slowly have their bodies changed into mechanical machines. Limbs to start with, then organs, and finally the brain. Once all that’s completed you’re no longer a Cryo, you’re a full-on Rebo.
It’s interesting. Frank narrates the tale and obviously finds this new life very confusing. There are, of course, robot guides (in the form of beautiful women) who answer any questions and help to integrate these newbies into society. And Frank’s wife, and every other woman there, is now a hottie.
There were quite a lot of references to sex and the admiration of women in this book, and it eventually did get a little pervy-old-man-esque. There’s a fully functioning whorehouse in this new world, a place where the men spend most of their time.
But back to Frank. His children also decided to follow in his footsteps, but chose to be brought back to life earlier than him, so although they’re younger, they’ve been here in the future for longer, if you get me. They’re completely robo-fied. This added an interesting dynamic, almost like the kids explaining smartphones or the internet to the oldies, in our time.
Frank doesn’t want to become a robotman, though. So much so that he decides to summon an army of rebels to take down The System, and give the power back to the people, as you do. He hatches a scheme to destroy the Central Unit that controls emotions and experiences in this world.
And here’s one of my beefs with the story. For most of it Frank is trying to find answers to the mystery of the people/robots/computers(?) in charge. He persuades others to join his rebellion and locates a spy who has also been sent to carry out this mission.
But when it comes to the final showdown, it’s kind of rushed. I was really looking forward to learning more about the Central Unit, who runs it, what they look like, their reasoning for this robotification; but instead, the details are not explored enough.
I also have to admit that I saw the ending coming a mile off. It seemed impossible that a society this advanced could allow a puny human from a primitive civilisation from thousands of years ago, to take them down. I won’t say any more, but there wasn’t the massive ‘wowzer’ twist I was craving.
I don’t read much sci-fi these days, but for those that do this book might be a great addition to the genre. I did enjoy reading it but felt it could have done with being a little longer with more about those in charge, but with a bit less talk of miniskirts and perfect legs.
About Morgan K. Tanner
Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.
When he’s not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.