Lillian is merely looking for a babysitting job for the summer, but a desperate man named Paul Dolores hires her to look after his 28-year-old brother, Caleb. Caleb is suffering from schizoaffective disorder, and Paul, who is about to start on his first office job in a long while, wants to make sure his brother takes his medication on time. Lillian, at first hesitant, accepts the job for the pay and the perks, but soon starts to wonder about the brothers she is working for. How come she can’t find any information online about the drugs Caleb is taking? And how come the national central database lists them as dead?
It’s not always that I read about science fiction in a Philippine setting, and Eliza Victoria’s Project 17 hits the right notes. The story is set in a future where police are now robots controlled by anonymous controllers, and pharmaceutical companies are a huge power1. And in this world, could you really trust the people you work for, or yourself?
Without giving anything away, I loved that Victoria showed a plausible future—not too soon, but still plausible. The places felt cyberpunkish, too, even if Hagonoy, Bulacan seems like an unlikely place for it. I loved the characters, not just the leads, but Lillian’s neighbors Jamie and Max. And Alfred!2
I just wished it was longer. Victoria had built a world that’s both believable and very interesting, and I would’ve wanted to know more about it. I also wish it ended in a more lighter note, or at least given me a more better sense of closure. I also felt that the resolution seemed a bit too convenient, but maybe that’s the limit of the length.
Still, a really compelling read and I highly recommend it.
Rating: ?]8/10 stars [