Reviews for Compile:Quest

Review Clippings for COMPILE:QUEST

Here are the latest reviews for book one of the Corrupted SUN Script trilogy, Compile:Quest. Do you have a review you want to have featured here? Then leave a note in the comments below and I’ll contact you to add the review here.

Guo Zhantong

A couple of things caught my eye with this story and I had a mix of reactions towards it. My first delight was the technology present in the book. The SUN Council has gone well out of its way to develop a closed world that is kept content and placid. We see this throughout Peppermint’s experiences as she lives (without quite realising it until later) under the thumb of the SUN Council’s requirement. At her disposal is a level of technology that brings about a level of hedonism unheard of in today’s world. Peppermint’s world features robots and virtual reality, recreational drugs and wild parties (and polygamous relationships). The word robot derives from robota which itself derives from a word referring to a form of slavery or forced labour. In this bright new world, mankind appears to enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle on account of the SUN Council’s magnanimous organisation of their upkeep. Even clothes are provided from dispensers called weDress (which is probably a subtle dig at the Apple I- product lines). A concept to consider is how likely this is to occur to a human population. Are we, as humans, content to remain catered and cared for at the expense of our curiousity? Alot of human technological progress has managed to make life easier for mankind (admittedly resulting in larger workloads to compensate for the time saved). It bears thinking that in a closed society that didn’t seek to progress but rather sustain itself indefinitely it would be possible for technology to entire replace the requirement for people to work themselves. This is sometimes thought to lead to a hypothetical death by boredom. That without struggle and given the resources to do whatever one pleases, one would eventually find every aspect of life boring and without purpose. Which begs the question: Can mankind truly be ‘human’ without driving goals and struggles to fight?

The book also details the SUN Council as a form of benevolent corporate entity (if we assume benevolent to mean protective and constrictive). Provided a dome citizen follow the SUN Council’s mandatory requirements, then that citizen is provided with a luxurious lifestyle. I’ve talked about this issue before, how society and our environment controls how we interact with the world around us. Currently, it is harder and harder to avoid a homogenous culture thanks to the Internet, but in the world of the Africa Dome, it is all too easy to dictate how every citizen should think and behave. Every citizen must wear a Cerberus Unit that effectively monitors them and must receive regular check ups to determine their physical and mental health (here referring to their compatibility with acceptance of their situation). In a closed society without external influence then, it is too easy to see how one can be controlled. However, people within that closed society would be unable to recognise their situation, seeing it more as ‘the way things are.’ It is simply impossible to shed those subjective influences on our views (i.e. true bias is impossible). The SUN Council presents a warning to the reader, reminding us that we choose to limit our choice of information sources at our own peril.

Outside of this, I have only a few observations to add. Some of which might be interesting to note. Events that impact our individual culture’s history tend to lend great weight to how we create our villains. For example, Harry Potter’s Deatheaters are influenced by the Nazi SS Deathheads (same motif, similar goals of racial purity, a fascination in their innate superiority as the world’s master race, rule by fear and violence). In much the same way, I would theorize (can’t be proven, too few sources to back it up), that a South African book might be influenced by the Soweto (South Western Townships) that edge around Johannesburg, much like the parallels drawn in real life by the Soweto and the city of Jo-burg proper, Compile Quest highlights the differences between the rich and poor, those who live in Domes and those who live in Colonies. Ray’s viewpoint provides the greatest comparison between the struggle for life that every day in the Wildebeest Digger Colony requires compared to Peppermint’s near idyll lifestyle. The natural tensions caused by friction between have and have-nots is a very powerful thing and in the world described by Compile Quest, it would be enhanced by the sheer size of the contrast between the rich and poor. The Domes of Compile Quest are probably analogous with the compounds that formed in South Africa.

I was quite endeared to the use of Afrikaans in the book (despite having no actual knowledge of the language at all). I found that the dialogue and interactions are written well enough that it is easy to parse meaning when Afrikaans is being spoken.

There are admittedly some issues with the terminology used by the Africa Dome denizens (whose language has quite understandibly evolved to reflect their high-tech society), I think that was well thought out (though I disagree with the idea that ‘data’ should be an epithet as data is neither a positive nor negative term on its own).

Overall though, I believe this book to be an enjoyable read. It gives some interesting insights, it has a fantastic setting and is young (but not in the young-adult sense). I look forward to seeing what else van Tonder decides to put to pen.

Brandon Crilly

A couple of things caught my eye with this story and I had a mix of reactions towards it. My first delight was the technology present in the book. The SUN Council has gone well out of its way to develop a closed world that is kept content and placid. We see this throughout Peppermint’s experiences as she lives (without quite realising it until later) under the thumb of the SUN Council’s requirement. At her disposal is a level of technology that brings about a level of hedonism unheard of in today’s world. Peppermint’s world features robots and virtual reality, recreational drugs and wild parties (and polygamous relationships). The word robot derives from robota which itself derives from a word referring to a form of slavery or forced labour. In this bright new world, mankind appears to enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle on account of the SUN Council’s magnanimous organisation of their upkeep. Even clothes are provided from dispensers called weDress (which is probably a subtle dig at the Apple I- product lines). A concept to consider is how likely this is to occur to a human population. Are we, as humans, content to remain catered and cared for at the expense of our curiousity? Alot of human technological progress has managed to make life easier for mankind (admittedly resulting in larger workloads to compensate for the time saved). It bears thinking that in a closed society that didn’t seek to progress but rather sustain itself indefinitely it would be possible for technology to entire replace the requirement for people to work themselves. This is sometimes thought to lead to a hypothetical death by boredom. That without struggle and given the resources to do whatever one pleases, one would eventually find every aspect of life boring and without purpose. Which begs the question: Can mankind truly be ‘human’ without driving goals and struggles to fight?

The book also details the SUN Council as a form of benevolent corporate entity (if we assume benevolent to mean protective and constrictive). Provided a dome citizen follow the SUN Council’s mandatory requirements, then that citizen is provided with a luxurious lifestyle. I’ve talked about this issue before, how society and our environment controls how we interact with the world around us. Currently, it is harder and harder to avoid a homogenous culture thanks to the Internet, but in the world of the Africa Dome, it is all too easy to dictate how every citizen should think and behave. Every citizen must wear a Cerberus Unit that effectively monitors them and must receive regular check ups to determine their physical and mental health (here referring to their compatibility with acceptance of their situation). In a closed society without external influence then, it is too easy to see how one can be controlled. However, people within that closed society would be unable to recognise their situation, seeing it more as ‘the way things are.’ It is simply impossible to shed those subjective influences on our views (i.e. true bias is impossible).

The SUN Council presents a warning to the reader, reminding us that we choose to limit our choice of information sources at our own peril.

Outside of this, I have only a few observations to add. Some of which might be interesting to note. Events that impact our individual culture’s history tend to lend great weight to how we create our villains. For example, Harry Potter’s Deatheaters are influenced by the Nazi SS Deathheads (same motif, similar goals of racial purity, a fascination in their innate superiority as the world’s master race, rule by fear and violence). In much the same way, I would theorize (can’t be proven, too few sources to back it up), that a South African book might be influenced by the Soweto (South Western Townships) that edge around Johannesburg, much like the parallels drawn in real life by the Soweto and the city of Jo-burg proper, Compile Quest highlights the differences between the rich and poor, those who live in Domes and those who live in Colonies. Ray’s viewpoint provides the greatest comparison between the struggle for life that every day in the Wildebeest Digger Colony requires compared to Peppermint’s near idyll lifestyle. The natural tensions caused by friction between have and have-nots is a very powerful thing and in the world described by Compile Quest, it would be enhanced by the sheer size of the contrast between the rich and poor. The Domes of Compile Quest are probably analogous with the compounds that formed in South Africa.

I was quite endeared to the use of Afrikaans in the book (despite having no actual knowledge of the language at all). I found that the dialogue and interactions are written well enough that it is easy to parse meaning when Afrikaans is being spoken. There are admittedly some issues with the terminology used by the Africa Dome denizens (whose language has quite understandibly evolved to reflect their high-tech society), I think that was well thought out (though I disagree with the idea that ‘data’ should be an epithet as data is neither a positive nor negative term on its own).

Overall though, I believe this book to be an enjoyable read. It gives some interesting insights, it has a fantastic setting and is young (but not in the young-adult sense). I look forward to seeing what else van Tonder decides to put to pen.

Jenny Schwartz

Five stars for a debut book. “Compile:Quest” is strange and interesting — and made me feel old.

I guess I haven’t been reading much sci fi lately. I’m also aware that there were references to real world things that completely passed me by.

“Compile: Quest” is ambitious, but juggles well its multiple plot lines and characters. It’s building the sort of world you can immerse yourself in.

I have a personal preference towards greater resolution in individual instalments of a series – but that’s just personal preference.

There is a starkness to the world, imagery and language that works. Hints of mysteries to be solved keep you reading. Sometimes things jarred – but the story is meant to be jarring.

This was a good step-out from my current comfort re-reading.

Matt Butterweck

I agreed to become a beta-reader of this book, and I don’t regret this decision at all. Reading Compile:Quest was one of the most pleasant surprises in my 2014 reading year.

The story takes place in the year 2311, roughly 275 years after the sun decided to yield sky-high prominences. The resulting radiation from those solar flares has made life on Earth almost impossible. The survivors of mankind have partially gone underground, and live now in gloomy systems of tunnels and caves. Another part has gone into the arms of the almighty “SUN Council”, which has built and operates huge domes on all continents to protect its people. While the so-called diggers suffer from a cruel dictatorship, the dome-people, simply called denizens, indulge themselves in technological abundance. Problems, if any, are entrusted to “Phoenix”, an omniscient and omnipresent artificial intelligence, who knows what you’re doing and where you are at all times. I guess the inclined Sci-Fi reader should know by now that both of these worlds are not exactly brilliant to live in.

It’s dystopian sci-fi, all right, and it has quite some eschatological and apocalyptic overtones along with a paranormal/fantasy-ish bouquet.

For the most part the story is set in South Africa, where the author comes from. So maybe one can assume that this story is dealing with an allegory on the problems of this country. We might compare, for example, the previous homelands with the digger colonies, or today’s suburban compounds with the domes. But I think that would be taken too short. I would see the problem much more global, and of course every reader should find her own interpretation. However, one thing is clear to me: This book is no easy and lightweight reading (although there’s a character named Peppermint with magenta hair). It certainly doesn’t belong on some YA-shelf, like, you know, for example, books with the word “Hunger” in their title. I would say this book is quite dark. Not totally black, yet, but it’s getting there. The author added a remarkable short note at the beginning of the book which emphasizes its seriousness. I whole heartily agree.

There are many great characters in this book, and I had a hard time picking my favorite one (and it’s not the one with the magenta hair). In a novel with almost 800 pages I would expect some long drawn-out parts, but I didn’t find any. This is probably because that there was not one, but two future worlds created, which cannot be more different. The story lines switch back and forth between these worlds and the chapters are short enough, to keep the reading pace and the reader’s interest up high. In the prose some expressions from South African English and Afrikaans are used, which add some extra nice spice.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in this genre. I’m positive the story is going to get a lot of fans.

Have a sunny day!

Kelly Smith

When we think of the greats of the science fiction genre, the first name that comes to mind is Issac Asmiov. He reinvented the genre and gave us a lot of information to process.

When we find ourselves thinking of the greats in the next decade, we will inevitably mention Ronel van Tonder, whose debut novel Compile: Quest is a feast for the imagination.

The story centers around a world in turmoil, even though some of the inhabitants have no idea that things were not always this way.
You have your typical elements, like a corporation trying to control everyone, robots as personal assistants and vicious war raging behind the scenes. But you have your unique points, particularly that the hero isn’t a hero: it’s a heroine. Two of them, actually. The two women chosen by the author to stop the SUN Council and end the war are as different as night and day, yet offset each other perfectly.
This world she created is frightening and somehow beautiful in its strange, cybernetic way. I love the lifestyles with robots and medical pods, all the strange things that, in 2014, don’t seem to be that fictional.
Reading this is like going into a virtual reality machine, actually, and you won’t want to leave once you’ve entered.

Eric J Gates

“Compile:Quest”, the first book in author Ronel Van Tonder’s “The Corrupted SUN Script” series, is an intricate dystopian tale of a possible future on our home planet. It is a multi-stream novel that follows a distinct group of characters as their tales come together in an explosive finale which in turn leaves hooks for the next book in the series. In essence the novel takes the premise that solar flares destroy the society we know, with some saved from their ravages in artificially constructed domed cities, and others surviving in underground burrows. As time elapses, these groups have evolved into two very different societies; one ruled by an apparently benevolent corporation, SUN, living a utopian life coddled in technology; the other existing under a harsh dictatorship and in constant conflict with other factions.

I was particularly impressed with the subtle way the author used the Internet-based technology of today to create a firm base for the utopian world, making it both strange and familiar at the same time.

This contrast allows the writer to develop some exceptional characters, some the reader will root for, others displaying a callous evil that quickly defines our relationship to them. All are deeply drawn and unique and have important roles in the twists and turns encountered throughout the tale.

I was particularly impressed with the subtle way the author used the Internet-based technology of today to create a firm base for the utopian world, making it both strange and familiar at the same time. This allows the reader to relate to this place, three-hundred years into our future, without needing long explanations as to why each aspect of this society exists. The author then twists our understanding of this world through insightful scene-building into an acid critique of our current society’s addiction to social media. I will not cite any spoilers but Maple’s story is the culmination of this masterful exposition.

The two contrasting societies are superbly defined and highly believable and the tale is complex and entertaining, reminding me of Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ series or the classic ‘Foundation’ trilogy by Asimov.

A must-read for lovers of quality sci-fi.

Kel Christ

I was provided a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

The characters were so varied and wonderful, each with their own backstories, and issues.

Compile: Quest (#1 in The Corrupted SUN Script series) by Ronel van Tonder: This futuristic Sci-Fi tale allows you to follow along with several individuals and their lives in the year 2311 on the African Continent and their journey through the labyrinth of society to the kernel of truth. Tonder spins this amazing story filled with space-aged gadgets, mysteries and conspiracies.

In my humble opinion, I really liked this book. It is long, but well worth it. The story moved at a nice pace and didn’t lag much. I would and have suggested this book to others.

 Sarah Taylor

Those that like Dune, Hunger games and shows like Battlestar Galactica, Stargate and Haven… basically sci-fi lovers will enjoy this 😀

Extremely vivid world and character building, i really felt like i was there with the characters watching them (like a psi ;)).

The book grabs you from the very first page (the afrikaans!) and i found it difficult to put it down and go to sleep.

 

So much detail but all written in a way that never feels like filler; I love it. The story follows different groups and alternates between them, without being confusing. The commentary on society (thoughts that many of us have) never feels heavy handed.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone so i’ll just say that its a clever, witty and a VERY compelling read.
So looking forward to the next instalment.

 

Steven VS

I’m not usually a big fan of sci-fi novels or science fiction novels in general but I really enjoyed this book. I prefer stuff like Mass Effect which is faster and punchier – which this definitely is

I think it’s because too often sci-fi novels are drawn into the epic scope of things but you lose the people in the process. This novel puts it’s characters front and centre, introducing them from their humble beginnings all the way to their eventual confrontation.

I loved the setting a realistic futuristic world that wasn’t too shiny or new, but really felt lived in. The opening sets the scene with a thundering disco and the heroine Peppermint. I immediately liked her (even though I was a little iffy on the name at first) who is a little down on her luck, but likeable and grows into her character as the story progresses.

A great first novel, though a little long, losing some of its momentum in the middle portion. The ending was fittingly epic.

Recommended for fans of sci-fi, for people who love to get sucked into a fully realized world.

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Ronel van Tonder

Ronel van Tonder is a science fiction author from South Africa. Having recently completed her dark, dystopian sci-fi trilogy, The Corrupted SUN Script, she's hard at work penning a new standalone sci-fi novel, The Seventh Glitch. When she's not writing, Ronel spends her free time slaying rendered baddies in the form of robots, gangsters and aliens - with any weapon that happens to be at hand.