Philip Fry is a good Quaker boy, a PhD student specialising in the anthropological effect of sound on humans. He’s approached at a careers fair by someone who works with a department within the Home Office – pretty certainly some kind of spy organization, and is recruited to work on a secret project. But as we soon find out something has gone badly wrong with the project, and rather than trying to bring about positive outcomes, the sound effects have caused harm rather than good.
Earworms is similar in style to Jonathan’s Battalion 202 stories that have featured in Alt Hist. So expect shifting of timeline and inclusion of documents – e.g. secret memos, copies of letters, emails etc to break up the normal flow of the narrative. I felt that style worked well for historical fiction – I’m less sure how necessary it is for something set in the present day/near future – although the secrecy aspect means that it does still work I think.
I felt that the story got off to a slow start, but then the intrigue given by the shifting perspectives and timelines meant that the the plot became more involved and interesting. There were a few moments though that took me out of the narrative – i-pad instead of iPad and the liking of the main protagonist couple for quite retro music – I wondered if the story was set in the present day or slightly in the past. Indeed the theme of the story did have a slightly old-fashioned techno-thriller aspect to it – especially when our real world is full of such things as Stuxnet viruses that can turn off nuclear centrifuges in enemy states and elections won by “fake news”. Despite those minor qualms, I enjoyed the story though and felt that the plot kept me interested throughout.
You can buy Earworms at the following stores:
Kindle UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N9E92QO
Kindle US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N9E92QO