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36 Streets

by T. R. Napper

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201998,069 (4.25)None
Altered Carbon and The Wind-Up Girl meet Apocalypse Now in this fast-paced, intelligent, action-driven cyberpunk, probing questions of memory, identity and the power of narratives. Lin 'The Silent One' Vu is a gangster in Chinese-occupied Hanoi, living in the steaming, paranoid alleyways of the 36 Streets. Born in Vietnam, raised in Australia, everywhere she is an outsider.    Through grit and courage, Lin has carved a place for herself in the Hanoi underworld under the tutelage of Bao Nguyen, who is training her to fight and survive. Because on the streets there are no second chances.    Meanwhile the people of Hanoi are succumbing to Fat Victory, an addictive immersive simulation of the US-Vietnam war. When an Englishman - one of the game's developers - comes to Hanoi on the trail of his friend's murderer, Lin is drawn into the grand conspiracies of the neon gods: the mega-corporations backed by powerful regimes that seek to control her city.    Lin must confront the immutable moral calculus of unjust wars. She must choose: family, country, or gang. Blood, truth, or redemption. No choice is easy on the 36 Streets.… (more)
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T.R. Napper’s 36 Streets is a gritty, violent, neo-noir story with compelling characters, high-stakes action, and a fascinating, cyberpunk look at near-future Hanoi.

Lin Vu is an enforcer and investigator in crime lord Bao Nguyen’s organization, patrolling the 36 Streets neighborhood in a Chinese-occupied, near future, wartorn Vietnam. While Vu is Vietnamese by birth, she was raised in Australia, painting her as an outcast in either place.

Vu’s clearly had a hard life, even by 36 Streets standards. Between doing her boss’s dirty work and being groomed by him to eventually take over the gang, I’m not surprised. Napper’s Hanoi is a marvel of cyberpunk inventiveness, reminding me that the genre still has a lot of life. 36 Streets is more body horror than corporate hacking, though. Expect a lot of graphic violence and body modding. Napper presents Vu as an archetypal antihero, more concerned with the outcomes than who happens to get hurt along the way there. The only exception to Vu’s hard edge would possibly be her twin sister, and even that’s debatable. But for anyone else, including Vu’s girlfriend, it’s open season.

Setting the story in a Chinese-occupied Vietnam was a nice touch, lending the near-future tale a realistic, day after tomorrow vibe. Napper’s descriptions of future warfare are chilling, as they should be. Several quirks of the writing, including AR translations of non-English languages, aptly helped Napper avoid the pitfalls inherent in multilingual writing.

This book contains mentions of physical and mental abuse, loss of family members, and descriptions of war, violence, rape, and death. ( )
  koreybroderick | Apr 15, 2022 |
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Altered Carbon and The Wind-Up Girl meet Apocalypse Now in this fast-paced, intelligent, action-driven cyberpunk, probing questions of memory, identity and the power of narratives. Lin 'The Silent One' Vu is a gangster in Chinese-occupied Hanoi, living in the steaming, paranoid alleyways of the 36 Streets. Born in Vietnam, raised in Australia, everywhere she is an outsider.    Through grit and courage, Lin has carved a place for herself in the Hanoi underworld under the tutelage of Bao Nguyen, who is training her to fight and survive. Because on the streets there are no second chances.    Meanwhile the people of Hanoi are succumbing to Fat Victory, an addictive immersive simulation of the US-Vietnam war. When an Englishman - one of the game's developers - comes to Hanoi on the trail of his friend's murderer, Lin is drawn into the grand conspiracies of the neon gods: the mega-corporations backed by powerful regimes that seek to control her city.    Lin must confront the immutable moral calculus of unjust wars. She must choose: family, country, or gang. Blood, truth, or redemption. No choice is easy on the 36 Streets.

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