Indie Feature Friday: Into Neon by Matthew A. Goodwin

You know those moments you just want a quick and easy read? Nothing too heady or heavy, just a book to kick back and relax with?

I have the book for you!

I’ve been working through my collection of Indie Cyberpunk Books and recently finished reading Into Neon by Matthew A. Goodwin.

It was such a breath of fresh air after reading Neuromancer! (Read my review of the classic cyberpunk novel here)

If you’re looking for a fun, fast-paced read with great characters and a heist-style plot, you will not be disappointed by this book.

Into Neon by Matthew A. Goodwin

The Plot

When a corporate lackey has the rug pulled out from under his illusions, will his hidden fire flicker or ignite a rebellion?
Orphaned and alone, Moss is happy to have found a place in the world. But his humdrum working routines take a terrifying turn when a mysterious woman breaks into his apartment and hands him a data chip from his dead parents. Suddenly hearing messages revealing his benevolent employer has a far darker side, he braves the dangerous megacity streets in search of the truth.

Surrounded by outcasts and criminals and running on instinct, Moss stumbles onto a rebel group intent on exposing their corrupt oppressors. And though he fears for his life when his old boss has put a price on his head, the naïve man believes the key to taking down the enemy may lie inside the high-tech device… and his own cerebral cortex.

Will Moss’s attempt to fight the power cause him to terminally short circuit?

Into Neon is the electrode-laden first book in A Cyberpunk Saga science fiction series. If you like everyman heroes, futuristic tech, and immersive dystopian worlds, then you’ll love Matthew A. Goodwin’s mind-expanding epic.

My Review

I’ve been reading a lot of cyberpunk novels lately, and trying to mix up the classics and traditionally published fan favourites with my indie author brothers and sisters, and I have to say…

Indie is where it’s at.

Is it just me? Maybe my tastes have changed. My brain is admittedly more primed for fast-paced, bite sized, binge-worthy media.

I used to love reading epic SF&F tomes that transported me to another world for days on end. I loved that feeling of lifting my head after a long book or series was finished and feeling like I didn’t know how my life was going to go on without this world or these characters.

But my life has changed.

My husband and I run two businesses, I homeschool three kids, I write full time. There are never fewer than four people in my house and usually five or more. Not to mention the mountains of dishes and laundry created by having a full house 24/7…

I do not have peaceful, interruption free stretches of time anymore. I do not have the mental capacity to completely immerse myself in another world.

And I know it’s not just me. That was a rhetorical question. Most of us are dealing with similar situations these days.

You know who is serving this newly expanding market of easy escapism literature?

Indies.

Indie authors are hitting a note that traditional publishers are just missing out on these days.

Sometimes I just want to be entertained without needed to read and reread obtuse “literary” passages or search up scientific terminology to understand what the hell is going on.

I have a degree in English Literature and I specialized in Literary Criticism. I’m no lightweight when it comes to academic chest thumping.

But I can’t help but feel that traditional sci-fi is trying way too hard to impress me some days.

Sorry, boys. I’m not here for it.

Bring on the guilt-free entertainment. Bring on the pulp!

Bring on Into Neon!

I had so much fun with this book. It’s fun and easy to eat, Popcorn Lit!

Compared to something like the tech-heavy Neuromancer, Goodwin’s Into Neon is definitely more like cyberpunk lite. But I mean that in the best of ways.

Sometimes you want to explode your brain with mind-bogglingly intense science fiction and sometimes you just want to eat some sci-fi flavoured candy.

This is the candy.

Goodwin plays on lots of the standard cyberpunk tropes and has created a fascinating and frighteningly plausible future world, but you don’t need to have a dictionary handy in order to understand it.

Moss is a naïve, cog-in-the-machine type character who has no idea how his life is about to change. When the veil is lifted and Moss is thrown into a dark new world I couldn’t help being sucked into his story.

I’d classify Into Neon as geared toward an older Young Adult or New Adult audience, though it does have some strong language and mature themes.

The writing is simple and straightforward. The character development starts off quiet strong and is a little rushed near the end, but not so much that it interferes with the enjoyment of the plot. It’s really a coming of age novel with a cyberpunk back dropdrop.

Two things I think Goodwin does really well are:

  1. Maintaining the “punk” aspects of cyberpunk. This book’s main theme is rebellion against the government and corporate overlords. It’s about the underdog’s fight against oppressive power, which a lot of so-called cyberpunk these days seems to have forgotten.
  2. Great, inclusive characters. Goodwin uses characters of all backgrounds and fleshes them all out equally. There are no cookie cutter, tokenized characters, which I really appreciated.

So, if you are looking for a light, entertaining read with fabulous characters and an action-movie style plot, I highly recommend Into Neon! I can’t wait to read the rest of this series!

Discussion

Have you read Into Neon yet? Do you have recommendations for other fun, entertaining, light sci-fi reading? Hit us up in the comments!

5 thoughts on “Indie Feature Friday: Into Neon by Matthew A. Goodwin

  1. You sell this one pretty well and I’m intrigued. I love what you said about indies, too. It was only a matter of time, but it would be nice if more people felt like you.

    1. I really enjoyed it! It’s a first novel for him, too, I understand, so I expect some of the rougher edges will smooth out through the series.

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