The Punch Escrow
"An alt-futuristic hard-science thriller with twists and turns you'll never see coming. I couldn't put it down." -Felicia Day, founder of Geek & SundryIt's the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We've genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure... Arrival... Delight!Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-fifth century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980's new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he's accidentally duplicated while teleporting. Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.

The Punch Escrow Details

TitleThe Punch Escrow
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 25th, 2017
PublisherGeek & Sundry
ISBN1942645589
ISBN-139781942645580
Number of pages319 pages
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction

The Punch Escrow Review

  • Brad
    May 4, 2017
    Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!And a very special thanks to the author for writing Hard-SF in a really fun and engaging way. This is often much harder than it might seem at a casual glance.Fortunately, the light tone and the clear explanations of the science prevailed and served only to propel the story forward. And what kind of story is it? It's a fast-paced thriller! And no, before you ask, this isn't a clone of Dark Matter. Far from it. We're dealing with a better version of Star Trek's tra Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!And a very special thanks to the author for writing Hard-SF in a really fun and engaging way. This is often much harder than it might seem at a casual glance.Fortunately, the light tone and the clear explanations of the science prevailed and served only to propel the story forward. And what kind of story is it? It's a fast-paced thriller! And no, before you ask, this isn't a clone of Dark Matter. Far from it. We're dealing with a better version of Star Trek's transporter problem from a quantum entanglement viewpoint, and far from getting bogged down in an introductory reading of such a story, (which has been done a lot), we jump right ahead into the social and technological implications of a society that has come to accept it and the actuarial realities of checksumming your torrented self across great distances. How boring, right? But boring gets people moving, and moving, and moving... aaaand ... I really shouldn't spoil this, but all the cool stuff happens after the poop hits the fan from after this point.Copy, paste, delete. We know the concept. No problem. Now skip the last step. Hello, me! :)The author carries two PoV's wonderfully and keeps it light even when really bad things are happening. I loved it, from the marital problems to the chase, the ambulance, the AI, the conspiracy, the nutjobs AND the nutjobs, and of course, arguing with yourself. :) I like to think that I wouldn't have any such problems with myself, but let's be realistic here. A perfect teleportation clone is going to be competing with your resources right off the bat. There's a lot of real conflicts right there.So, bravo! for keeping it real.This was a very nice surprise. I asked for this one just on a whim and I am very pleased I did. I totally recommend this for all kinds of clone-fans who love thrillers. This one happens to be a lot better than most and I can say it feels rather more original than most. PLUS! It has the benefit of sticking close to real science to the best of our current understanding!The same goes for all the multitudes of the great little idea-gems we visit in this future world. The carbon-sucking mosquitos are a delight. So are the self-driving cars that alert each other on emergency channels whenever some monkey is taking the wheel. :) Scary. :)
    more
  • Judy Lesley
    May 20, 2017
    I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Inkshares Geek & Sundry. Thank you.This was a wonderful reading experience and the mix of humor with science - with an added twist of adventure - made me want to put everything else aside to see what Joel was into now. This story takes place in 2147. Freight teleportation began first (not slowed down at all by the loss of one of the art world's practically sacred icons), but by 2126 human teleportation had become commercialized by one o I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Inkshares Geek & Sundry. Thank you.This was a wonderful reading experience and the mix of humor with science - with an added twist of adventure - made me want to put everything else aside to see what Joel was into now. This story takes place in 2147. Freight teleportation began first (not slowed down at all by the loss of one of the art world's practically sacred icons), but by 2126 human teleportation had become commercialized by one of the largest corporations in the world, International Transport. (See, we can blame it all on IT!) Joel Byram's wife Sylvia works for IT and has been so consumed by a new project that it has caused some serious stress on their marriage. The plan is for the two of them to teleport to Costa Rica for a second honeymoon. Sylvia leaves first (because only one person can go at a time) and a few seconds later Joel's teleportation process begins. So why does Joel regain consciousness after being given a huge electric shock to find himself not in Costa Rica but in a room with three people he doesn't know and without the ability to use his comms? The story is told by Joel as a way for him to explain to people in the future how he found out there was a dirty little secret about teleportation and a huge global corporation would do whatever it took to keep that secret hidden. This is Big Technology against Religious Fanatics and, yes, the capital letters are necessary.The book is very much science fiction with the insertion of humor making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The author has done this one right because everything from the monetary system to the medical science to global governing has moved far ahead of our present world. Joel is definitely not going to impress as a standard hero of a novel except that you understand that he is basically a very good guy, he just lets his attitude and sarcasm get him into all kinds of trouble. Tal M. Klein did such a good job with the science of explaining what the Punch Escrow is that even I understand where he was going with it. There is good hard science involved in telling the story and making it plausible but it is also filled with lighter moments of humor and plot twists that keep readers wondering what - or where - in the world the book will go next.Grab this one if you like something really different to read. Grab this one if you like science fiction. Grab this one if you want to feel like you've been on a big, impossible adventure. In short, just grab this one because it's such a darn good book!
    more
  • Laura
    May 23, 2017
    I can't decide what I liked better about this book: the incredible attention to scientific detail (the future of CRISPR, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, blockchain currency, and many more), or the narrative of the book, told in the voice of the protagonist, which was fresh and authentic. As was the voice of the antagonist, but don’t even get me started on that. The story itself is quite intriguing, both because it presents some very thought-provoking aspects of a possible future of I can't decide what I liked better about this book: the incredible attention to scientific detail (the future of CRISPR, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, blockchain currency, and many more), or the narrative of the book, told in the voice of the protagonist, which was fresh and authentic. As was the voice of the antagonist, but don’t even get me started on that. The story itself is quite intriguing, both because it presents some very thought-provoking aspects of a possible future of our world, as well as because it is an absolutely thrilling love story. I couldn't put it down, and if near future sci-fi novels are your thing, I highly recommend this one!
    more
  • Alysa H.
    May 2, 2017
    This is one of the most fun books I've read this year. It's hard sci-fi with a hefty dose of humor, and I can totally imagine it as a movie (stylistically and tonally, it would probably be, like, Fight Club meets Joss Whedon).Klein makes the science seem plausible, as well as the details and development of the future-world. This is due largely to the sardonic narrative voice of the main character, Joel Byram, as he attempts to navigate a very sticky situation in which he finds himself. The force This is one of the most fun books I've read this year. It's hard sci-fi with a hefty dose of humor, and I can totally imagine it as a movie (stylistically and tonally, it would probably be, like, Fight Club meets Joss Whedon).Klein makes the science seem plausible, as well as the details and development of the future-world. This is due largely to the sardonic narrative voice of the main character, Joel Byram, as he attempts to navigate a very sticky situation in which he finds himself. The forces of corporate greed, religious mania, and simple but strong love are all given their weight -- plus violence, talking AI, and footnotes of comedy gold. It's quite a balancing act for a first novel. I should also mention that there was not a single character that I didn't like.So why not 5 stars? Well, I debated, but there were a couple of things that took me down a notch. Firstly, while the constant references to (and literal plot insertions of) 1980s pop music are very amusing to someone like me, a child of the 1980s, they do get to be a bit much. And I don't think they're adequately explained in the book beyond "future person Joel Byram just so happens to love that old, obscure 1980s music". It's more likely that "author Tal M. Klein just so happens to love 1980s music" and just couldn't help himself. Again, subjectively, the music brought a lot to my brain-movie of this book, but objectively, anyone of a different age than Klein or myself may not dig it. Secondly, although I did mention that I liked all of the characters, there are a couple of moments wherein they hit the line of racial/national caricature. They don't necessarily cross it, but your mileage may vary.Overall I really liked this and would definitely recommend it. I'll be curious to see what Klein comes up with next.** I received a Review Copy of this book via NetGalley *
    more
  • Tracy Rowan
    May 5, 2017
    The Punch Escrow is a fun exercise in the possibilities and dangers of future tech. Joel and his wife are on their way to a second honeymoon when a terrorist bomb damages the teleportation center just as Joel is traveling from NY to Costa Rica. The disruption in the process produces evidence of the true nature of teleportation (a well-guarded secret) in the form of a duplicate Joel, one still in New York, and one in Costa Rica.With a virtual army of enemies, spies, mad scientists, and religious The Punch Escrow is a fun exercise in the possibilities and dangers of future tech. Joel and his wife are on their way to a second honeymoon when a terrorist bomb damages the teleportation center just as Joel is traveling from NY to Costa Rica. The disruption in the process produces evidence of the true nature of teleportation (a well-guarded secret) in the form of a duplicate Joel, one still in New York, and one in Costa Rica.With a virtual army of enemies, spies, mad scientists, and religious fanatics all trying to capture the Joels and their wife to serve their own ends, the story is fast-paced and exciting. Mostly. There are a couple of points where I felt the narrative bogged down with a bit too much of the "What?" and "I don't understand." or "Why are you doing this?" going on. Still, it's a fun story with a protagonist (two of them) who is a smart-ass, with the emphasis on smart. This is a fast read. There's nothing heavy here, not even philosophical questions which might have been heavier in different hands. But narrated by a less-than-serious hero, the story never indulges in too much moralizing about the inherent dangers of unfettered technological development.
    more
  • Avalon Radys
    June 18, 2017
    This book has so much to love: fast-paced action, full-bodied scientific explanations, disarmingly funny and sweet moments, and such a good ending. But what I loved most about this story is what it left with me—it makes the question of how far we might push humanity in the name of scientific advancement very tangible and personal. I imagined making these futuristic choices with the protagonists, feeling their empowerment along with the inextricable dangers and existential crises. This is more th This book has so much to love: fast-paced action, full-bodied scientific explanations, disarmingly funny and sweet moments, and such a good ending. But what I loved most about this story is what it left with me—it makes the question of how far we might push humanity in the name of scientific advancement very tangible and personal. I imagined making these futuristic choices with the protagonists, feeling their empowerment along with the inextricable dangers and existential crises. This is more than a fun summer read—it'll stay with you long after, and perhaps drive some awesome philosophical conversations with friends and family.
    more
  • The Bibliofool
    May 27, 2017
    With dizzying inventiveness, Tal M. Klein's sci-fi and sci-fantastic The Punch Escrow rivals the best of Wells and Bradbury in ideas per page. This is an incredibly smart, witty, imaginative 22nd century thriller that is ostensibly about teleportation in the future gone awry, but ultimately a sly, speculative warning shot about our insatiable (and unsustainable) need for technological advancement in the hands of corporate interests. If I'm making this sound like a slog of a science lesson/cautio With dizzying inventiveness, Tal M. Klein's sci-fi and sci-fantastic The Punch Escrow rivals the best of Wells and Bradbury in ideas per page. This is an incredibly smart, witty, imaginative 22nd century thriller that is ostensibly about teleportation in the future gone awry, but ultimately a sly, speculative warning shot about our insatiable (and unsustainable) need for technological advancement in the hands of corporate interests. If I'm making this sound like a slog of a science lesson/cautionary tale, it's anything but. Sure the novel is annotated throughout as Klein footnotes each technological future marvel with definitions and scientific explanation, but nothing here is obtuse; this is pure fun and the story barrels along as we follow Joel Byram (an app salter, don't worry, Klein will explain), his wife Sylvia (a high level employee at a teleportation company that controls more than just travel in the future), and Joel Byram (yep, Joel again...) between New York, rendered in brilliant futuristic clarity, and Costa Rica on a vacation that goes horribly wrong during teleportation. I found each imaginative detail in Klein's novel delightful and, dare I say, more prescient than not. Klein creates such a vivid, rich future in this novel that it's Hollywood's loss if they don't snap this up and spin this into cinematic gold. Highly recommended.
    more
  • Kim
    May 14, 2017
    Found it hard to put down this fast paced read and ended up reading it in one sitting. This book was a blend of The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer and Dark Matter with lots of other influences. I frequently think about the matter compilers used in The Diamond Age, and now have blended those thoughts with that of the technology used in this book. Definitely a moral mindfuck and I highly recommend it.
    more
  • Hossain_naseer
    May 24, 2017
    Bizarre Love Triangle is my favorite 80's song. We'll just leave it there. Great book! Highly reccomended!!
  • Jordyn
    June 12, 2017
    I had the opportunity to read this book pre-release, which was a great experience. The premise of the book is that in the future the world has undergone massive changes such that corporations rule the world, not individual country governments. Along with this, there are fringe groups that are religious lead that oppose the current situation. One of the religious groups causes a terrorist event, which drives the plot of the story.I appreciated the attention to scientific detail the author went th I had the opportunity to read this book pre-release, which was a great experience. The premise of the book is that in the future the world has undergone massive changes such that corporations rule the world, not individual country governments. Along with this, there are fringe groups that are religious lead that oppose the current situation. One of the religious groups causes a terrorist event, which drives the plot of the story.I appreciated the attention to scientific detail the author went through to come up with theories how the future would work. The hard physics theories included made for an intelligent fiction read. My issue with the story was the use of footnotes at almost every theory/thought to explain the idea or backstory. It got REALLY cumbersome to read the story line when I kept having to read these large footnotes to get the backstory. Also, at the end of the day, the basic story line is boy doesn't appreciate girl, girl almost dies so boy "wakes up" to the fact he might lose said girl, so then boy reacts and finally shows some initiative in their relationship. It's a good story, and I'm hoping the formatting may get better before release.
    more
  • J.S. Bell
    June 17, 2017
    At first I wasn't sure what to expect,but as I continued to read I enjoyed the story. It's science with a little humor added. It's well written and the author seems to know what he's talking about with the technology. Great job Klein!
Write a review