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Beautiful Shining People: The extraordinary, EPIC speculative masterpiece…

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It's beautiful to witness their conversations with each other on their first date, how they navigate each other and learn to trust one another. Having the book set in Japan helped immensely with the world setting as we already know Toyko as a centre for the hi-tech, a world of fantasy and whimsy.

The story is underpinned by mystery and suspense, but it is so wonderfully textured and nuanced that it is also so much more. At its core it is a story of friendship and having the ability to see the world around us in different lights.As Grothuas describes events over a few short weeks one Autumn, we sense these issues lurking while remaining - initially - ignorant about their exact nature. The more I learned of him, the easier it was to identify with him, and the more invested I became in his story.

The beginning was just a little too quirky for me, and I wasn’t sure what to make of the story initially. It's an intuitive vision, one arising, as it were, from the cracks of our own present and forming a very credible, version of the mid 21st century. Each character was so well developed and an integral to the storyline that you couldn't help but feel the bonds that tied them and want to be part of their group.We are looking at a world where physical violence is virtually meaningless when it comes to global politics, and where cyber attacks, deep fakes and the planting of 'fake news' causes far more harm on a domestic scale than any cold be achieved by waging a more traditional war. So this is Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus, a novel set in a not so far off future where cars drive themselves, robots are everywhere, and cities are powered by AI. Through the balcony’s door, only the artificial lights of the infinite city can be seen, though their glow is muted by the moist air that’s followed from Hakone.

So I learned Spanish (I actually have a degree in Spanish philology), went to study in Madrid, Spain when I was 20. You'll laugh when you know you shouldn't, be moved when you least expect it and, most importantly, never look at Hollywood, celebrity or sex in the same way again.The scene then changes to Ezra trying on different outfits as two of the children continue to lip sync the song and look unimpressed by Ezra's original clothing. While there are certainly international tensions - in fact, John’s father lost his life a few years back while working as a medic during a war in Angola - at the time and place the story is set, things are more or less business as usual.

Given that AI is a really hot topic at the moment, this is a novel that capitalises on fears and mistrust, yet somehow adds a dimension of normality to a concept that is only just finding its feet. After all, it has a terrible cover, a say-nothing title and a subtitle of “The Extraordinary, Exhilarating, EPIC Speculative Masterpiece”.It’s a discovery that will take them from the neon streets of Tokyo to Hiroshima’s tragic past to the snowy mountains of Nagano, and from the safety of family to the machinations of Big Tech and man’s incessant struggle for power. The world, brilliantly drawn so that it seamlessly stitched together the present with an evolving future, with its men who would play God is anathema to my own hopes for the future, alongside a group of people that represent the limits of those boundaries but made me burst the very human emotional banks of empathy and compassion. Ezra then begins auditioning the song in front of a table of young children who begin to take notes and appear to look unimpressed with Ezra's performance. A lyric video to accompany the release of "Pretty Shining People" was first released onto YouTube on 2 March 2019 at a total length of three minutes and forty-one seconds.

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