Agent G, as described in the first book in C.T. Phipps’ cyberpunk novels, is an international assassin. Much like Liam Nissan, he has a very specific set of skills.
But that’s a very two-dimensional look at a very three-dimensional character. These novels, though fun, gritty, cyberpunk looks at spy adventure, and sold as cyberpunk, are actually the definitive example of perfect Science Fiction.
What do I mean by that? Science Fiction is meant to be a mirror that reflects back a very human idea but framed in an analogy that makes it clearer to understand. Historically, the best Science Fiction asks us to examine what it means to be alive, or the roles of gender, or in the case of the Agent G series, what it means to be human.
As an author, Phipps uses plot to flesh out and develop his characters. They are always relatable to the reader, but fundamentally broken, and Phipps uses his unique skill to take them on a journey that mends them through development and plot. Agent G, does this in a manner that is both the same, yet uniquely different. Through the quips and puns that are Phipps way, we meet G as a character that is entertaining to read along with, but is by definition “Perfect” and “Not Human.” G is a cyborg, a clone, a computer program, and an assassin. In the words of Tony Stark, everything that makes G special came out of a bottle.
What we get in Agent G: Saboteur is a desire by G to be less than he is. He doesn’t want to be the perfect killing machine that’s a copy of something or someone else. He doesn’t want to be owned or beholden to anyone. And he’d like to actually understand the pop cultural references that he makes because he partakes in pop culture, not because it was programmed into him. He doesn’t want to live longer, so much as have a life that’s entirely his own (and live longer, too, but that’s secondary). The journey of Agent G isn’t the mending of a broken man, it’s the humanizing of the perfect killing machine.
That brings me back to my calling this Cyberpunk Spy novel, Science Fiction. The mirror this story and character hold up to us is the question of humanity and what it means to be human. In this entire book there are very few people that fall under the definition of human, and those that do (James, Marissa, Douglas, and Daniel) are incredibly flawed to the point of being gross examples of the human race. G has no one to emulate, but a lot of artificial intelligence acquaintances who, without ever saying it, want the same thing. The Science Fiction question in all of this is “How human is human?” and “Is humanity the meat or the mind?” Those are just a few of the questions in this book that G demands get answered without ever verbalizing his need.
Another poignant question from this book: Have Humans lost their Humanity? This gets examined in the human characters of this series. Can humanity survive a surge in technology? Will the Singularity destroy them or will they adapt?
So many great questions come out of this series and specifically this book, and on top of that it’s a cyberpunk spy novel!
Simply put, Phipps wrote a fun spy novel that turned out to be a very deep Science Fiction piece of art.
Well done. 5 Stars.