D.T. Wilby (@davidtwilby)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“Ultimately, could his replacement do a better job of being him than even he could? Had they copied him verbatim, or was this monster an upgrade? A better friend? A better son? A better lover? The myriad of questions their encounter prompted were both intriguing and disconcerting.”
What would you do if there was another ‘you’ out there? One that believed it was the ‘real’ you and that you were an imposter. It knows how you think, it can anticipate your reactions and moves and most of all, no-one will know the difference if they meet this ‘other you’…
I love this concept which I first read in the 1846 novella The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky where a man is driven to breakdown when his life is usurped by a doppelgänger – so I was delighted to find a cool sci-fi restyling of this nightmare premise.
The core premise of D.T. Wilby’s techno-horror Ringer is that a high-tech company might one day be able to create clones of us, a freaky ‘what if’ that worms its way under your skin and grips like a fishhook – tearing through your nerves as it builds to a killer twisty climax.
Told from the point-of-view of a guy named Will, this is a guy on the edge, suffering night terrors and a fear that something isn’t right. Unfortunately for him, he’s right thing are pretty freakin far from alright.
I asked D.T. Wilby about his writing inspiration for his book. He said:
“In terms of some background to writing Ringer, I find that a lot of the stuff that I come up with is what I'd call small scale, more 'kitchen sink' sci-fi. It's not about the end of the world, but might be about the end of someone's world. What I like to try and explore is how technology may impact on individuals, both positively and negatively. Another trend I've picked up on in my writing so far is isolating my protagonist, cutting them off from any support network while they deal with the challenges facing them.
There's also a lot of 'Monster In The House' too, as Save the Cat would have it. The concept of sleep paralysis/night terrors was something that I've never experienced, so it was interesting to explore that. I also wanted to look deeper into the sense of individualism and self - how that will stand up to the technology coming down the tracks, how it could undermine someone mentally to have that sense of uniqueness chipped away at gradually.”
The good news is that the research has paid off because Ringer is a page-turning sci-fi treat. As the nightmare action cracks along it keeps you on edge throughout. Wilby writes with a compelling narrative and lots of authentic dialogue that doesn’t feel forced. You might not have a full-scale mental breakdown reading this but you’ll sure be entertained by this grim spectacle and you might start to look twice at that person over there who looks a bit like you!?
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
ööööö (5 - does another you want your life?)
Read more Sci-fi!!
Click this banner to find out more about my near future nightmare cyberpunk novel (soon to be a comic too)...