Denno Coil (2007)

All in all, disappointing. Excellent art, ingenious realized augmented reality setting, but then the whole thing falls into the same trap that happened to many narratives with a cyberpunk or virtual reality setting, with whom it shares similar conventions (after all, augmented reality is merely physical reality with a partial virtual reality overlay).

I sometimes feel like some people just can’t grasp the basics of information in computational devices. I find the idea of limited resources of kirabugs and metatags highly annoying, as one should be enough to reproduce them infinitely (you can’t stop people copying digital information, just look at the whole content industry trying to grapple with that fact). I could go on.

There’s the whole quantum magic consciousness transfer thing, the connection through augmented reality to another plane of existence, but all that can be explained away without giving up completely on thinking the setting follows mostly the same physical laws as ours. In a way, Greg Egan, the master of hard SF, did something similar in Cybercity, even if it’s not quite the same.

No, the thing I regret about Denno Coil is that it misses the chance to say something meaningful about augmented reality. Instead of embracing the world it creates and showing how such a technology might impact on peoples lives, the narrative cripples its own setting and follows common paths (there’s even a lame revenge plot). Here was a chance to do something new, but the series utterly failed to embrace its own potential. Instead we got, well, imagine Neuromancer being about Case finding a path through cyberspace to the fairy realm. I doubt anyone would still remember the book.