Medusa Uploaded was like watching one of those fascinating public speakers give a lecture about a topic you’ve always wanted to learn, but have never been able to handle on your own. There’s an awe setting in the atmosphere, a silent reverence, and a quiet elegance to the words. This is how it made me feel.
The Executives control Oichi’s senses, her voice, her life. Until the day they kill her.
An executive clan gives the order to shoot Oichi out of an airlock on suspicion of being an insurgent. A sentient AI, a Medusa unit, rescues Oichi and begins to teach her the truth—the Executives are not who they think they are. Oichi, officially dead and now bonded to the Medusa unit, sees a chance to make a better life for everyone on board.
As she sets things right one assassination at a time, Oichi becomes the very insurgent the Executives feared, and in the process uncovers the shocking truth behind the generation starship that is their home.
I don’t feel clever enough to review this book. Medusa Uploaded is brimming with wealth, with promise, and with technology. There’s so much to unpack, so many levels on which it stands above all. I’m not saying it’s the one book to rule them all, but it has this quiet intelligence. Despite it being a heavily science based science fiction, there’s this fantastical whimsical nature to it. It’s like a mouthful of something that is equally sweet and spicy. There is enough science to get lost in, to do a lecture of its own on, but then there’s this very human aspect. At war with this dense world is a real sense of injustice, gritty characters, and dangerous stakes.
I fell immediately in love with the book with the first chapter. The pitch of Dexter meets this heavy science fiction world was enough to grab me, but what really took me was the main character, Oicihi (and Medusa of course). I had an instant crush on her – on her ambition and the way she feels her desire for revenge with every atom. We don’t see characters, especially women, in books who are fearless, cutthroat about their revenge and I want more. Oichi feeds it almost like a living and breathing thing. But at the same time, this is more than just revenge. Oichi has this larger goal that is more than revenge – it’s revolution.
There are layers upon layers of intrigue that swirl you off your feet within the span of twenty pages. There’s a fierce injustice that populates the world in all shadows and angles. The world building and scientific depth are off the charts in this book and you just relish in it. It’s a world steeped in power, violence and death. So who else would step forward? Who else would emerge in a world of cruelty than a killer? And this is where the Dexter vibes come in and I loved every second of it.
At the same time, there are some really great themes at the heart of this book about the nature of power, of who should rule if the revolution succeeds, and about technology and the future. What Devenport seems to master is this amazing balance between really abstract themes and conflicts, but also very granular ways in which these themes are brought to life. I adored the intertextuality, the pieces of music and the references to the movies (especially Lord of the Rings). I feel like when this becomes an audiobook it needs the music with it!
As a whole, Medusa Uploaded is much like it’s gorgeous cover – all these complex layers are interacting, sliding in and out of place. The floor is shifting underneath you and the safety you thought you had disappears. It’s a book that requires close reading, an open mind, and a willingness to push your own limitations. There’s a beautiful elegance to the words and plots, while also being entirely expansive – almost like watching stars collapse with a symphony in the background. You deserve to read Medusa Uploaded and you can find more info on Goodreads.