Whole Wide World

Posted by : atcampbell | On : June 15, 2004

Whole Wide World by Paul McAuley

Ten people showed up for this discussion, and one person e-mailed comments. Everyone tried to read the book, but only six finished. Of the five who thought they remembered reading the author before, most liked his previous work better. Whole Wide World is a near-future, police procedural set in London after an InfoWar. Despite the extreme right-wing government’s wide use of surveillance cameras, crime and pornography are rampant.

We found this book lacking as a science fiction and as a murder mystery. Most of us quickly became bored by the mystery. The police detective pegs the killer early on, but needs to figure out how the killer got into the victim’s apartment without being seen by the cameras. This turns out to be via, as one reader called it, “the abysmal gadget of redemption.” Although the book was billed as a technothriller, the technology was old and the “thrill” was missing. We wanted more science fiction–at least more about the InfoWar.

McAuley’s writing is readable, and his detective is well-characterized (though unprofessional in his handling of the investigation), but we found the book too uninteresting to recommend.

–Sandy Kayser