God in the Machine
Martyn is certainly mainlining pop-culture sci-fi and warrior films drawing from a myriad of (excellent) sources not least Ghost in the Shell, Star Wars, Avatar, Transformers, The Matrix etc but also some martial art fantasies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and a personal fav House of Flying Daggers. There’s maybe a little Kung Fu Panda in there too and I mean that as a compliment!
Along the way there are hero training montages thanks to Shimada an exiled Jedi master-esque warrior who gets ‘Nihon’ Elias started on the basics of combat and then hands him over to Grand Maester Martell – the Sage of Albion (who likes to be called ‘Bumble’). Cue 'Eye of the Tiger' on the soundtrack as Elias becomes all he was meant to be… but maybe not through the ‘traditional’ route thanks to the man-beast genetic experiment Maximus – who is one of the most fun characters – I pictured Max as kind of Aslan-meets-Chewbacca!?
Anyway, the future Tory-like government led by Autarch Vicentine who rule over their collapsing planetary ecosystem – mostly by indulging the rich with extended life thanks to forcibly extracting the plasma of the poor - whilst pretending the climate disaster isn’t happening doesn’t sound so far-fetched alas. What we have here then is a pretty classic storyline spiced up with enough cyber tech props, a great AI’s alt-history and plenty of action in the forms of fights, shootouts etc to make God in the Machine very worthwhile seeking out!
And if you like this, the good news is that there are more tales from the same universe with the short stories: Icarus, Hades and Nihon available to buy and a sequel on the way too. I will certainly be checking them soon.
In the meantime – I had the chance to ask Cole some Q’s: