The fervor for technological innovation—and the fear it engenders—drive the plot of D. Thomas Svenson’s fast-moving science fiction debut, Kyber Path.
In the opening scene, the eponymous Dr. Kyber is attacked in his office in the capital city of the Kray Alliance by an evildoer who wants his research. Kyber is the designer of Kybernetics, the science of replacing body parts, such as a missing leg, with robotic parts.
Readers subsequently learn that protagonist Aylon, working on a maintenance crew of “the barrier” erected between the city and the sea, loses an arm during a freak storm — but gains inexplicable powers and knowledge of things he shouldn’t know (a turn of events that is never fully explained).
As the story evolves, he tries to stay ahead of a tyrannical government that seems to want him captured or dead. Unbeknownst to him, his sister, Ran, a recruit in the service of the government, has been ordered to find him.
The story has many strengths: Its world-building is nicely fleshed out, including a political conflict as Kray teeters on the brink of a civil war over the use of Kybernetics; some believe in its use in humans; others do not. This tension ably reflects anxieties over technology from our own world. Additionally, Aylon’s heartache over failing to save a friend during the storm rings true; the plot zips along, and the ending neatly sets up readers for a second book.
Unfortunately, the writing sometimes falters. Both descriptions and dialogue often rely on cliché, as in: “The question felt like a knife piercing his heart.” And dialogue attribution frequently contains unnecessary and distracting information, such as “the priest encouraged” or “Dr. Kyber said with emphasis.” This keeps readers from fully immersing themselves in the world Svenson has worked to build.
Overall, readers should enjoy the plot. But greater attention to the writing would enhance this offering.
Also available as an ebook.