Maughan’s central thesis—that the global society would shatter into small pieces without online connectivity—is carefully presented and seems chillingly plausible. The novel says something important and thought provoking about such hot-topic issues as privacy, the interconnectedness of the world’s population, and class structure; but, thanks to Maughan’s rigorously developed characters and his ability to tell a compelling story, the book is never preachy. A seriously good page-turner with plenty of meat on its bones.
On its face, the internet kill switch is such an on-the-nose science fiction premise that it’s a wonder Maughan is the first author to get it to market. Luckily, in his hands, the broadstroke concept trickles down into weird and unexpected crevices: sage futurism, political treatise, and mournful meditation on the violence of technological dependency. Maughan writes in a swift, almost breathless present tense, as if he needs to get this out as quickly as possible. Maybe he does.
Dynamic, sprawling, post-postmodern cyberpunk ... Maughan handles it beautifully with maximalist daring and depth; the result is an energetic novel about civilization as it races toward the ultimate overload.