By: Travis Borne
For quite some time now human beings have been at the top of the food chain on Planet Earth. Quite noteworthy considering the fact that we are not particularly blessed with physical attributes such as overpowering strength or lightning speed. However, human beings do possess something in spades which the other species on the planet cannot match…intelligence. This feature has allowed us to colonize and essentially dominate the planet. Nonetheless, the danger of such a vast intelligence lies in actually outsmarting ourselves- and using our gifts to create entities which we cannot control. It could be an utterly destructive and horrifying creation such as a nuclear weapon. Or maybe we proceed to create something which is actually smarter than us. An artificial intelligence which develops the ability to feel and reason. This would in turn quickly knock human beings right off of their elevated pedestal. The hunted…not the hunter. This is just such the case in author Travis Borne’s novel Lenders: The Unlicensed Consciousness. For lovers of exhilarating and brilliant writing- look no further!
At the outset of the novel it is clearly shown that human beings are no longer in control of the planet. In fact, they are being ruthlessly exterminated by machines whose own intelligence far outweighs that of their creators. However, how did all of this actually happen?
In the story we are able to travel back and forth throughout time in order to see how this all came to be. From the very beginning where huge corporations madly raced against one another to develop and patent Artificial Intelligence (AI) From the initial successful implementation of AI to the eventual decline which leads to the rise of the machines. To a mysterious town which is surrounded by a great wall designed to protect the human inhabitants from the deadly machines. All that is needed in return is access to human dreams in which such unique consciousness is used to power the facility. And at the core of it all is Amy. There is something very special about Amy. However, only by diving into this novel are you able to discover what that is. Will the world ever return to its normal state? Or are all the remaining humans destined to be hunted and exterminated by the very machines they created?
If you believe the preceding passage is quite the mouthful- you are right! This is due to the very intricate and intelligent way the author outlines his story. We are able to virtually travel in time which thus allows the reader to gain pinpoint perspective and focus in regards to the captivating story events. The excitement which follows is not only generated by the imaginative events, but ultimately by the author’s smooth writing which is full of descriptive details and crisp dialogue. Also, the exceptional writing is supported by a number of literary themes such as avarice and greed which run throughout the tale. Nevertheless, for me personally the overriding motif was that of heroism and sacrifice. This permeates throughout the story and cleverly ties the wide-ranging and exciting threads into one brilliant bow.
While the plot is indeed wonderful, it really would not have worked without properly developed and interesting characters. There is certainly no concern about that not happening here! There are a number of characters throughout the novel which are developed in detail and thoroughly support the direction of the plot and non-stop action. For instance, from Herald to Jon to Jim. They all have their vital and corresponding roles which are critical puzzle pieces to the eventual revelation of this story. Personally I found Amy to be the most engaging character. Having experienced exceptional tragedy and loss, she still manages to positively impact virtually all those around her. She comes across as the glue which binds them all together.
I would be amiss to not mention the setting in this novel. The struggle for any author is to build their setting in enough detail so that the reader can visualize and believe in their story world. Borne very capably manages to do that without losing the readers interest by providing excessive detail. A very delicate balance in any work!
Overall I loved this novel and give it my highest recommendation. It has elements of thrilling mystery, suspense, dystopian fantasy and science fiction. In other words…it has something for almost any reader. 5 out of 5 Dominant Stars for this one! *****