The promo-copy for Luz Thompson’s first book, Beyond the Standard Model, a reference to the “theoretical developments needed to explain the deficiencies of the Standard Model,” reads thus:
Enter another universe, another world, another life! The hero of Beyond the Standard Model is a reluctant freelance “problem solver” in a phantasmagoric future of criminals, drugs, planet-owning corporations, and crazed gang-bangers. Any sane person would simply walk away. But not our hero. He has a sense of obligation and duty, right and wrong. To fulfill his obligation, he might have to kill a few over-the-top psychotic women – and a few hundred genetically enhanced tweakers.
Although the promo copy is, just like the Standard Model of Physics, deficient, the book flat out rocks! Seriously. If you are a real sci-fi fan – not one of those fantasy pansies (wizards and warlocks and magic spells and talking animals) – then you need to read Beyond the Standard Model. The plot is fairly simple: a mercenary “fixer,” who is kind of like an insurance claim adjustor, only with gun and an attitude, takes a job working for the henchmen of the king of criminals.
The henchmen are worried about their boss, the Head Bad Guy, nicknamed Majico, who has apparently fallen in love with a woman who is not only bad news but may not even be human. The Head Bad Guy is so smitten with her that he is talking the M-word – marriage!
The fixer’s name is Tilly and his job is to find out who the femme fatale is and whether or not she really is an alien or just some female with industrial-strength mental problems.
Things really take off when the Dieter Sisters enter the picture. The Dieter Sisters are girls-gone-bad; female criminals who deal in death, drugs and body parts. They want Tilly dead because of a past perceived insult. So they show up with their posse boys in tow and all hell breaks loose. The Dieter Sisters don’t know the meaning of the word low-profile. The posse boys are, in today’s parlance, just gangbangers. But the way Thompson presents them is unique and readers will find themselves fascinated by the strange, dystopian culture she has created.
The story contains lots of violence, some strange sexual images and beaucoup excellent writing. Thompson’s style is tough and terse. Imagine James Ellroy, Robert Heinlein and William S. Burroughs collaborating on a novel and you’ll have an idea of Thompson’s literary style. One thing that’s really strange, unique and narcotizing, is her preoccupation with Gretchen Dieter’s clothing. Initially, it’s a little off-putting but after a while it’s riveting stuff that takes the whole Joseph-Conrad-color-allegory-thing to a new level.
Supposedly Beyond the Standard Model is the first volume of a trilogy. When contacted by phone, Thompson didn’t say much about the second volume, which is coming out soon. But she did seem excited by the third volume, which will be entitled La Femme de Chrome – the metallic woman or the woman of chrome. The title is intriguing and, if Thompson can keep her writing chops sharp, she should have a winner.
All in all, Beyond the Standard Model is one of the best sci-fi novels of 2015. It’s well-worth picking up.[amazon asin=B00Q79XSCK&template=iframe image]