Monday, March 30, 2015

REVIEW: Revealing the Revolution / N.M. Sotzek

TITLE: Revealing the Revolution
AUTHOR: N.M. Sotzek
PUBLISHER: Self-Published

Science Fiction

Revealing the Revolution takes place in a futuristic Canada, in which “scanning,” a new high-tech sport, has grabbed the world’s attention. In this sport, players face outdoor challenges with the help of robotic animals, which are obtained by scanning real-world animals and sending the data to an AI that morphs into the desired creature. The book tells the story of team Revolution, whose chances of winning the Canadian Scanning Tournament are pretty high until internal struggles threaten to tear them apart.

While the story begins as a sporting tale about a group of people trying to claim a coveted title, the stakes are raised when it’s revealed that the powerful company that created the sport has dangerous motives. Between sabotage, secrets, and unexpected challenges, the members of team Revolution find themselves facing far more than just sporting challenges.

I was lucky enough to read an earlier version of Revealing the Revolution on an author community website, and I’m really glad that it found its way into the wider world. N.M. Sotzek has created a fascinating and unique story that combines the thrill and camaraderie of a sports book with the danger and intrigue of conspiracy thrillers through a high-tech sci-fi concept. I’m a huge fan of anything involving AIs, and I loved the debate around the ethics of scanning. As real world AIs grow more and more advanced, we may soon find ourselves facing some of the same issues this novel brings up. Using an artificial being created by humans for a sport seems harmless enough, but what happens when ingenuity goes too far? Where’s the line between realistic and real? This question has been pondered countless times by ethicists and sci-fi writers (including myself!), and Sotzek handles it well in Revealing the Revolution.

I also enjoyed the dynamic between the team members. Holding a team together isn’t an easy task, and Revolution deals with enough issues that you wonder how they’re going to keep from falling apart. The book is written from revolving character POVs, which do a good job of showing the world from different angles.

Sotzek writes with a fast-paced and clean style that does a great job of capturing the book’s story’s action and tension. The descriptions of the outdoor challenges and settings are fun to read, and meanwhile, a shadowy organization that one team member is involved with looms in the background. Revealing the Revolution is the first in a series, and I’m sure more will be unveiled about the Underground in the sequels.

Creative and entertaining, Revealing the Revolution will appeal to anyone who enjoys a good sci-fi read.

Nichole Sotzek was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. She always had her nose in a book, and as she grew her love of reading added to her budding love of writing. She earned her B.A Honours in Near Eastern Archaeology and Medieval Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, and it was there she met her husband who introduced her to a concept he had held onto since childhood.

In 2010, Nichole and her husband began collaborating on his idea until he gave her full control of the novel. Revealing the Revolution became the first of a large-scale science-fiction series, which neither could have predicted. Nichole heard (many times) that the novel was supposed to focus on the animals. However, the concept within the novel encompassed too much of the 'future' society to simply write about animals. This was her defense, at least.

During her time in university, Nichole became a member of Delta Gamma Women's Fraternity. Her sisters gave her constant encouragement, and allowed her to learn about bonds of friendship she never could have understood otherwise. These are the bonds about which she writes in the third novel of the AIM series, although transformed slightly to fit the theme.

Nichole and her husband live in Kitchener, Ontario, and continue to spend their time (during nicer weather) outside hiking, fishing, and of course, scanning.

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