The Camille is an engaging cyberpunk novella from Colby R Rice that sets the scene for an incoming series.
It’s set in a future where nanotechnology and artificial intelligence has run rampant. Technology ‘on the bleeding edge’ has created a world where robots are indistinguishable from people and nanites can make and remake whatever they chose.
Tech genius Andrea Ramoni loses her husband to a sexbot, that she had a hand in creating, and is forced to give up her corporate empire due to the subsequent scandal.
This is only the start of her troubles. She’s then sucked into a cybernetic half-life even she, with her vast intellect, struggles to get a handle on.
Why it’s worth reading
Colby’s clear writing style is able to deliver a lot of information concisely and easily. This is useful as The Camille packs a lot of information into a short novella.
The reader is introduced to Andrea, who’s a rare protagonist in cyberpunk as she’s neither damaged nor does she have a particularly bleak worldview. She is a driven and brilliant women who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but she’s far from being an anti-hero. Indeed, you could imagine her being one of the more popular investors on Shark Tank.
On top of this characterisation, the reader is also asked to come to terms with a world where humanity intermingles with androids and sentient nanites swim in our bloodstreams. This world is similar enough to ours to be believable, and believable enough to be unsettling.
Despite the novel’s brevity, the author constantly introduces strange ideas and images for the reader to get their heads around. Forcing the reader to engage with the concepts intertwined with this cyberpunk world while the plot moves along.
What we’d like to see in the upcoming series
As we said at the start, this is the first novella in a cyberpunk series. And we’re excited about the series. However, we do hope Colby Rice takes the time to expand upon some of the concepts introduced in the first instalment. The first novel describes a series of cool events, but it doesn’t dwell too much on the philosophical implications of the technology it describes.
Similarly, while the tech of this novel is certainly cyberpunk, the first novel lacks the visceral anger associated with the genre. Hopefully future instalments will show a little more of a cyberpunk soul without losing its unique voice.
Overall, we’d recommend The Camille to any fans of cyberpunk who want to read something different and unique. Although not everyone will have the stamina to read a series of novellas, we’re confident those who do will find this series rewarding.
If you’re looking for a cyberpunk novel to read, you may be interest in our top ten cyberpunk books.