I hope everyone’s week is off to a good start!
This week I read Progress Report by Roman Lando. As you may be aware from earlier posts, one of my goals this year is to read more books by male authors; therefore, when Roman reached out to me with this book with its intriguing synopsis, I said HELL YES!
There’s a lot to love about this book, so let’s dive in!
Genre: Sci-Fi, Technothriller
Publication Date: December 10, 2022
AN ALIEN ARTIFACT. AN ACCIDENTAL DISCOVERY. A LOOMING NUCLEAR APOCALYPSE.
Art is a computer geek and retro electronics aficionado who just wants to be left alone. When he stumbles upon an alien artifact, he can’t help but try and find out its purpose. Instead, he finds himself in over his head, in the midst of what might just turn out to be the end of the world, and nobody except him knows the truth. A truth that certain factions don’t want to get out – at any cost.
It’s not paranoia when self-driving cars are out to get you. Can Art survive the hunt, and maybe save the world in the process?
Progress Report is a near-future technothriller for fans of Ready Player One, Daemon, and Bobiverse. It’s packed with action, humor, and a sense of the profound that will linger long after you’ve turned the last page.
What I liked about the book:
1. The book is mostly the story of a man retelling the events of what led him to where he is: currently stranded inside a spaceship, alone and with a dying cell phone battery. In fact, the chapter titles are the percentage left on his cell phone as he tells the tale, which I found a very interesting concept that added some tension to the overall story. Would we hear the whole story before the cell died? What would happen when it got to zero? I thought this was a genius take especially given the overall plot of the story.
Through the diary-like storytelling, I loved that the book was in the first person and the character was talking to the reader. Isn’t that one of the first things we learn in school we “aren’t allowed to do”? I can still remember my teachers slapping me with the verbal ruler: “you can’t talk to the audience, Britt”. So of course, I loved the rebellion of this!
2. I also loved that the writing was intellectual and witty. The high description, high cerebral writing style very much reminded me of Alan Moore meets Ray Bradbury, which was amazing as these are two of my all-time favorites. Overall, a huge plus for me.
3. This book had nerdy references and damn the man attitude up the wazoo and I was HERE FOR IT! I loved all the pop culture, geek culture, and counterculture thoughts that permeated the main character’s head at all times. It honestly made him very easy to love very early in the book.
4. I loved how the author took real life historical events and shaped them into occurrences controlled by the different alien factions. I enjoy learning about history, though I am generally terrible at it (I can’t remember dates and names to save my life!), but this brought the fun learning aspect in that I totally crave.
I looked up each of the historical events referenced throughout the book to make sure they were real events (like the briefcase that barely didn’t kill Hitler), and they were! The author definitely did his research or is a true history buff. Either way, the thought process that went into involving real life scenarios to fit his schema was beautifully done.
What could have been better:
1. I, personally, didn’t like how a lot of the chapters ended on thought cliffhangers. Meaning, a lot of the chapters ended in questions, quotes, etc. I get this was likely a tactic to get the reader to keep reading, but after a bunch of chapters doing this back-to-back, it became a tiny bit daunting and annoying.
Perhaps if this book was one you could quickly read and understand, that would have been fine, but the fact that this was a book that required mental digestion breaks to get through, it was a bit bothersome for me.
2. The romance aspect was definitely wanting. Art barely knew Tia but was thinking about her nonstop (or at least he told us he was).
Also, we got the lovely “she’s not like the other girls” thought process. Listen, if I’m spectacular, it’s not because of what’s between my legs, it’s because of what’s inside my brains, actions, and experiences. Let me correct that for you, “she’s not like other people.” There, much better.
3. At times I had to skim. It was a lot of words in places that weren’t really necessary. The author is obviously very knowledgeable about a lot of things, but I don’t need to know how the sausage is made every time. I’ll still trust you, I promise.
It’s funny, it’s sci-fi, it’s historical, and it’s political. It was such a great read and I’m glad the author reached out to me to introduce this lovely piece of fiction to me. Thank you Roman!
Final Rating: 4 stars
Want to check out what else Roman is working on? Hop on over to his social media accounts using the below.
While you’re at it, let’s be antisocial together!