The Mitosis Hegemony: Techno-Politics in the 21st Century by Arthur Van Kaserman
Publisher: The Mitosis Library
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (125 pages)
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
THE MITOSIS HEGEMONY: TechnoPolitics in the 21st Century is a hi-tech, sci-fi thriller about current trends that will collide soon to forever change the world as we know it.
The only way to know what inside an unexpected message is to open it. The question is, will humanity ready for what they’re about to discover?
This is a fast-paced book that is full of plot twists I didn’t see coming. It was especially interesting to see how the same events play out from the perspective of more than one character in this piece. The ability to experience an event from more than one point of view comes in even more handy as the plot progresses. No two people are alike and neither will they interpret or remember the same event identically. These differences – large and small – are scattered throughout many of my favourite scenes.
Due to a large cast of characters and almost no character development it took me a while to remember everyone’s name, occupation, and location. The vast majority of the characters are introduced within an incredibly short period of time during which a lot of other important things are happening in the plot. It would have been really helpful to have a glossary of at least the most important people in an appendix somewhere. I would have also liked to see more descriptions of individual personalities. The plot is so centered on solving the mystery that I finished this novella with nearly no idea who might be shy, gregarious, intellectual, or trustworthy.
As someone who has absolutely no experience with military slang or acronyms, I really appreciated Mr. Van Kaserman’s willingness to explain exactly what each term meant. The first few chapters in particular are filled with references to military equipment and procedures, so there were quite a few definitions in the beginning of this story. Including them in the flow of the narrative was the right decision for this piece. The plot was rarely slowed down by it, and it was nice to figure out the meanings of new terms without having to stop reading.
There is also a lot of telling instead of showing in this novella. The narrator explicitly states what certain characters are feeling instead of allowing their body language or word choice give the reader hints about what is happening. In certain scenes this technique is necessary when writing such action-heavy science fiction, but using it repeatedly with characters whose personalities are so ill-defined was one of my biggest reasons for giving this book a 2.5 star rating. It was often difficult for me as a reader to care about what was happening to individuals that I knew so little about.
With that being said, the mystery was well-paced and provided clues just often enough to keep my curiosity piqued about the true origins of the odd signal. Coming up with theories about who might be behind it was invigorating. I would have enjoyed spending more time playing around with this mystery, and the intricacies of it could have easily filled up the pages of a full-length novel.
I’d recommend The Mitosis Hegemony to anyone who likes fast-paced, plot-centered tales. Despite its flaws, the concepts it explores are unique and worth a try for readers who are big fans of this writing style.