The OverFile by Tom Chesters ISBN: 0-595-13527-7

From its somewhat clumsy and cliched beginning, The OverFile, by Tom Chesters, slowly builds into a complex narrative of a future history.

The early chapters of this 600 page epic set about describing the world’s near total annihilation, save for a handful of cult-like survivors, who remain deep in a mountain cave, sealed from the horrors unfolding around them.

I found the narrative for these early scenes just a tad matter-of-fact, with the excitement of a looming Armageddon never quite reaching my expectations. However, The OverFile then leads us on a technology-filled journey some 2000 years into the future where the descendants of those few survivors, who emerged from their mountain cocoon with an entirely new society, based on the techno-philosophy of the O Theory, flourish in a virtual utopia. These so-called O-cultists have developed into a highly advanced social culture of enhanced humans, split into two enclaves, the Domers and the Wilders.

The OverFile, whilst filled with pages of textbook-like technological descriptions, also tells the story of Anen Kel, a Domer obsessed with finding the truth behind the so-called Star Probe Anomaly. It is this obsession that leads Anen to his discovery of a long-sleeping alien giant, known only as the Spherit.

While technophiles will probably glean commensurate satisfaction from the comprehensively detailed descriptions of 42nd Century science and technology, and philosophers will no doubt ponder the somewhat controversial aspects of the O theory, (something I really didn’t grasp with just one read!) I would have preferred to see the plot unfold just a little faster than it does.

Tom Chesters has created a lavish and intricate vision of a possible future society and introduced the reader to a fascinating yet totally alien race, which together, make The OverFile an interesting and surprising read!

Reviewed by Neil Cladingboel
Author of ‘The Erebus Equilibrium’ trilogy.

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