Book Review – The Feedback Loop: Harmon Cooper
Today’s post is another (long overdue) book review for The Feedback Loop by Harmon Cooper. I was intrigued by the premise of The Feedback Loop, and it was a nice short read to pick up!
If you want to find out more, here are the details!
The Feedback Loop – Harmon Cooper
Genre: Science fiction
Publisher: Boycott Books
Publication Date: Aug 2015
Stuck in a virtual dreamworld called The Loop, a man named Quantum Hughes struggles to free himself from a glitch that forces him to live the same day on repeat. His life changes when a mysterious letter arrives one morning from a woman named Frances Euphoria, the first human player he has made contact with in a very long time. Once Frances appears, members of a murder guild known as the Reapers begin surfacing in The Loop, hoping to capture Quantum or worse — kill him. To further complicate matters, The Loop itself is doing everything it can to stop Quantum from finding the hidden logout point by turning everything in the virtual dreamworld against him.
With time running out, will Quantum break free from his digital coma before he’s captured or killed by the Reapers? Who is Frances Euphoria, and what does she actually know about how long Quantum has been trapped?
The Feedback Loop Series takes place thirty years before the Life is a Beautiful Thing Series. It shares the same world, but is a standalone series that focus on dream-based virtual reality worlds and the people who are trapped in them. The next book in the series will be called Steampunk is Dead, and will be released in the fall.
The Feedback Loop is a fun, short, science-fiction read. It makes for a good palate-cleanser between reads as it’s less than 200 pages.
The premise and concept behind the narrative is a familiar one. Imagine Groundhog Day, only you are stuck in an ultra-violent virtual world which is determined to prevent you from logging out. That is exactly what you should expect from The Feedback Loop.
I didn’t anticipate the developments or conclusion at all. Once the narrative really started to unfold at end, I couldn’t put the book down. It was that gripping! I read this book in just two sittings. It is comparatively lighthearted to a lot of books, and I was aware of this having read a dense book just before this one. I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much!
I enjoyed the protagonist, Quantum Hughes, in this book. In the circumstances he has to live through every day, we get to see a very rough and ready character. He is literally dodging death from the moment he wakes up every single day… and more often than not, it catches up with him.
His character has definitely shaped and adapted to his surroundings. Set in a gritty, grimy, rundown cyberpunk-y cityscape, Quantum has come to learn who he can trust, and who he cannot. Violence is second nature to him now. This virtual environment is littered with all the nasty things you would expect in any modern day city. Alcoholism, addiction and depravation are prevalent throughout.
The Feedback Loop is an easy, action-packed and quick read. The structure of the narrative, as it is, makes the book more enjoyable. It is a narrative style that has been done before, but at the same time, varies enough that you want to see what the character is doing next to avoid falling into the same traps on his quest to escape.
Aside from the themes discussed above, The Feedback Loop could be picked up by most people. Although is has a lot of violence in, I wouldn’t say it is any worse than young readers are exposed to in games. Plus, the book has an approachable writing style that I enjoyed – clearly, given I read the book so fast!
All in all, I enjoyed this book as a one off, but I won’t be continuing with the rest of the series. It was a perfectly adequate read, but equally nothing exceptional. In my opinion, the plot-line is neither unique, nor does it stand out in an ever-growing market. If anyone were to ask me for a recommendation for a similar themed book, but better executed, I would recommend Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs. This book doesn’t have the Groundhog Day element, but it has a far better exploration of virtual reality. It has a slightly longer page count, but it’s worth the investment.
It was worth a read to try out, but ultimately, it wasn’t captivating or promising enough to lure me back for book two or beyond.
Have you read The Feedback Loop? Is it on your reading list?