BOOK REVIEW: Red Gods Sing

Red Gods Sing1 by Trevor Barton

Red Gods Sing

Title: Red Gods Sing

Author: Trevor Barton

Publisher: Self-Published

Published: 15/9/17

RRP: £7.43

Arguably the world’s first science fiction novel grappling with a post-singularity world from the perspective of sentients, and not humans, goes on global pre-order today. The sentient machines are called “Brobots” – and most of them are gay.

Red Gods Sing (set in the U.S.) is authored by Trevor Barton, a U.K. writer whose début (called simply “Brobots”) takes readers inside the minds of these sentients in another possible first.

With comedy and cliché, political satire, badass action and romance this literary sequel is said to be for anyone prepared to see things from a different perspective while not taking anything too seriously.

Robots seems to be coming back in a big way. With shows like Humans and Westworld, films like Ex Machina and The Machine, comics like Descender and The Vision, books like The Windup Girl and V’N and even Janelle Monae’s Metropolis trilogy, robots seem to be one of the key concerns of contemporary science fiction. And it is not hard to see why, even back from their earliest days they have acted as a metaphor for underrepresented groups. In this environment, therefore, it becomes as much a question of how this slots into the contemporary robotic landscape as it does for how well it stands on its own.

By the same token, it is also the second part of a series. The first novel, Brobots, I found quite interesting. Some parts better than others, in many ways I was more taken with the content than the writing style. So it also has to be asked, how does the sequel develop the first?

What has to be taken care of straight away is how much this clearly reads as a response to the political situation we find ourselves in come 2017. This is not even subtle, it is very didactic throughout. If this is the kind of writing that annoys you then I will say this book is not for you, but personally I enjoy it. Given the current state of the world the time for subtlety is well past. This is well reflected within the story and so I can fully understand why the main characters would wish to head to Mars.

Having said this, in many ways I found the science fiction content to be the least interesting element. It was there, and it plods along. At its heart it is a character piece and a romance in the best way; the pairing in it is adorable2. In fact I felt the book could possibly benefit from being a little more quiet and intimate, paring it down to more of the great little character moments, rather than the big explosions.

However, I do not want to imply this is all light and fluffy. Quite often it can be dark and dank and horrifying, but in a way to make you feel for those involved. I am not entirely sure all of the emotional beats hit me as hard as they were intended to, but the feelings were definitely present.

Overall, this is a reasonably interesting sequel, combining politics with heart. It does not really manage to distinguish itself significantly in a crowded field but builds nicely on the ideas in the first book. If you enjoy your robots in love you can certainly do worse.

1. A book I keep accidentally calling Red Son Rising for some reason. Personally I blame Pierce Brown.

2. I must confess I did occasionally find the sex a little tedious after a while but that is not because its presence is not important, as it very much is, it’s just a personal reading hang-up I have.

Rating: 3/5

Reviewer: Kris Vyas-Myall

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: