by Roman Lando
Ecopy received from the author for review
These days, I rarely request a review copy and even less often accept one. But when Roman Lando contacted me about his self-published scifi technothriller, I thought the genre had some potential. I was hooked when I read the synopsis and the first pages.
I am so glad I accepted to read Progress Report. I devoured it in a couple of days and can close my 2022 reviews with a bang!
When Progress Report opens, we meet Art, a guy somewhere on a spaceship, using the last few percent of battery left on his smartphone, to keep his mind busy by writing his story as a book.
He has very little water, food, and oxygen left!
So little by little, we get to know Art, to understand how he ended up where he is.
He is a geek, and one day, playing around with his self-tweaked drone in a secluded area in Canada, he bumped into something really weird: some type of invisible wall. Incidentally, a weird invisible wall was also present in the last French thriller I read, Respire, by Niko Tackian!
Obviously, Art is curious, as any geek would be, and he starts to investigate what this thing is. That was the beginning of his trouble…
When he realizes somebody is trying to kill him he knows he is onto something really big.
I won’t tell you more to avoid spoilers.
Know that this is so well done, with tons of suspense (with each chapter for instance showing the battery going down and down), adventures, spies, and also a lot of humor, with hilarious plays on words.
It’s geeky without being over-technical. You get hackers and fun inventions, with autonomous cars and buses now the norm, AI, AR glasses, telekinetic skills, and very special beings, on a very special mission!
The plot works really well and gets more and more layered as the story develops, with kickass characters!
I also appreciated the absence of swear words, and the use of a really funny way to make you think about them, such as:
But if there is anything certain in this world, it is the propensity of fecal matter to inevitably collide with a fixed pitch propeller ventilation device as terminal velocity.
I often complain that authors using the f* word on every page lack creativity.
Lando can’t definitely be accused of that!
There are lots of references to alternate history, and to famous movies, though with enough twists and turns to remain an original story. Also this quote that many of you will recognise, “the night is dark and full of terrors”.
Ultimately, this is about what we are doing with our planet, and whether we need help to survive. It also resets current world events into a wider perspective.
You absolutely need to read the book to figure out what I’m talking about.
Anyway, if you want to start 2023 with a bang, you need to read Progress Report right now!
The last paragraph seems to be announcing a sequel, which I’m really looking forward to, and this book for sure needs to become a movie!
VERDICT: Fabulous sci technothriller with kickass characters and excellent plot, to start your 2023 year of reading with a bang!