Book Review: Sin:Thetica, Keith Anthony Baird

Book Review:  Sin:Thetica, Keith Anthony Baird

Sin: Thetica, Keith Anthony Baird

SciFi Mystery/Thriller: Sin:Thetica, Keith Anthony Baird


Pennsylvania, my home for the past 21 years, is known for its weather-forecasting rodent. “Punxsutawney Phil” comes out of its burrow in early February to much fanfare and hordes of groundhog fans (groundhogs, also called woodchucks, are large ground squirrels, similar to the marmots that are common in mountainous areas around the world). In a traditional ceremony, a costumed attendant holds the sleepy animal aloft while another reads a pre-written declaration proclaiming whether we will get an early spring or have six more weeks of winter. Then, after posing for television and still cameras, they let the poor animal return to its hibernation.


Groundhogs have neither an internal monologue nor an excellent long-term memory. If they did, though, I wonder whether they would be dreading February as deja vu. “Once again, humans pull me out, stick me in front of bright lights, cameras, and crowds, and proclaim that I can predict the weather. All I can predict is that I will go back to sleep moments after they put me back where I want to be.”


Sin:Thetica, by Keith Anthony Baird, is a compelling deja vu type of novel with an inventive combination of sci fi and mystery. Hendrix, “The Reverend,” is a soldier turned bounty hunter who specializes in giving people their last rites. Technically, he doesn’t actually perform the ritual for dying people. He just makes sure they are in need of that ritual after he finds them. Mourning the loss of his wife and their daughter, he seeks his vengeance on those responsible for their murders–and doesn’t mind taking others out while looking for his final revenge.


Hendrix is a cold killer, unafraid of losing anything, since he has already lost everything that mattered. Still, when a local gang leader asks him to find a renegade minion who stole something from him before disappearing, Hendrix is reluctant. Crossing the gang leader would be a very bad idea–but accepting the commission goes against his better judgment.


Still, the money is good, the consequences of saying no are bad, so Hendrix begins his search. The trail takes him to Sin:Thetica, a company that allows people to go into a trance and live a different life than the cold reality of “Neu Tokyo.” The only way to find and question (and kill) the renegade is to go into the person’s trance (ah, the power of AI), find him, and conclude his business. Of course, once he does this, he is completely at the mercy of the company. What could go wrong?


Baird takes us into an alternate world, where we find many things can indeed go very wrong. The story, though, is not one of those things. Sin:Thetica is a dark, gritty novel set in a brutal near future which is suffering the effects of war, famine, and economic collapse. Many of the countries we know today are no longer countries. Others have changed their boundaries and swallowed their neighbors. Technology ultimately can’t save us from being who and what we are. Sometimes, being human can undermine the best advances.


If you are looking for a speculative fiction set in a dark near future, check out this novel. It is well written, full of twists, and stays with you after The Reverend has closed your final chapter.


Our thanks to Zoé from Zooloos Blog Tours for our copy of Sin:Thetica, provided so we could write an honest review. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.

Sin: Thetica, Keith Anthony Baird

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