The Audric Experiment – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest
In Patrick Barnes’ The Audric Experiment, Pierre Morena lives in a futuristic society called Audric, in which people are punished for bad financial decisions with a shock from a bracelet and terrifying dreams. After Pierre survives a thirteen-floor fall of which he has little recollection, he crosses paths with a rogue group called Gamblers. The Gamblers have answers for him, but also even more questions, leaving Pierre to reconsider the society of Audric altogether.
Though it certainly has an interesting premise, The Audric Experiment needs a bit of work in terms of plot development. Much of the plot is far too underdeveloped, with essential details that were either too vague or almost nonexistent, making it sometimes difficult to follow along with the story. Also, much of the plot seemed to grow impatient with itself, rushing off to the next plot point without adequately resolving the one before it. Other aspects of the plot seem too convoluted, with too much going on all at once. Because of this severe imbalance, in many ways, The Audric Experiment reads more like a first draft than a completely finished novel.
However, The Audric Experiment is still an incredibly entertaining read. In essence, The Audric Experiment is slightly reminiscent of well-known works like The Giver or Fahrenheit 451, but with a distinctly modern-day flair that keeps the plot interesting and the characters relatable. Patrick Barnes clearly has brilliant ideas for good science fiction stories; his unique concepts and style of writing show an abundance of promise. Perhaps The Audric Experiment missed the mark a bit in execution, but the potential is there; a solid revision or edit can make this the groundbreaking novel it is clearly capable of being.
Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.