Book Review: The Beam (Season 1)

Have you read The Beam by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant?

The Beam

No?

Noah Fucking West! What’s your excuse?

I’ll admit that I’m way late on this one. The Beam came out last summer and I only started reading it about a month ago. I can’t believe it took me so long to find this series. The Beam: The Complete First Season was my first time reading anything by the Realm & Sands duo, and I was not disappointed.

This is sci-fi supercharged with adrenaline, bursting with charisma and characters, and thrown into blender with some philosophy, politics, violence, cyber-intrigue, and even some techno-mysticism.

Platt and Truant have created a world that feels more like science-future than science-fiction. This is a future that seems all too plausible—a scary proposition, I would say. If you follow technology news at all, you’ve probably heard people use the term, “the Internet of Things.” In the world of The Beam, the Internet of Things has been fully realized and the people of the NAU live in a state of hyperconnectivity. Everything is tied into The Beam, and every surface can become a window into its expanse. The seductions of that digital realm pull in people of all kinds, offering an escape from reality and an electronic pacifier to many. A whole segment of the population is plugged in permanently, choosing to live in a virtual playground that’s only limited by imagination. Why would anyone ever want to live outside The Beam, when it can take you anywhere, show you anything, and allow you to be whatever you desire?

People are not necessarily what they appear to be in the real world, either. Nano-technology has forever altered the landscape of the NAU and given its citizens access to superior intellect, enhanced creativity, and a whole host of other abilities. You wouldn’t ask, “Is there an app for that?” but instead, “Is there an implant for that?” You want faster reflexes? What about resistance to diseases and the ability to rapidly recover from injuries? Or maybe you just want a watch that’s implanted in your hand so you never have to take it off?

There are so many different aspects to this story that I couldn’t possibly tell you about them all in this blog. I think what impressed me most was the way that I slipped so naturally into the setting. The care and attention to detail in the text allows for layered reading. By the time I got to the end, I knew I would have to read it all over again soon. There’s so much to discover in The Beam that I was sure I missed something important, some nugget of backstory or world building that was slipped into one of the narrative’s frenzied moments. Aside from one slower (but extremely important) segment involving the creator of The Beam, the pace of this story is wonderfully insane.

And I haven’t even said anything about the characters!

I highly recommend you go and check out The Beam, because it’s an entrancing read filled with disturbing yet believable horrors of a future that doesn’t look too distant from ours. If you follow the link above you can find out how to download the first episode for free, so you have nothing to lose!

The Beam: The Complete First Season is the start of what looks to be an epic journey. I give it high marks for its bold, in-your-face approach to science-fiction and a world so convincing that it makes me fear what the future might hold for us as we continue down the rabbit hole of innovation. Somebody needs to make this into a TV show, too, because it’s already got all the ingredients you need for a hit.

Season Two of The Beam is next up on my list.

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