Eternal Forever by Syl Waters – a novel of internet image and online life

 

“Then an empty cobbled street and the blood – covered torso of what had been an extremely handsome young man”. This is a book which deals with the complications of online celebrity in life – and death. “Eternal Forever” is a company which offers, for a suitable fee, to organise and safeguard the online legacy of anyone who is willing to pay. The scheme is the brainchild of computer genius Ducan, but it takes the self appointed business expert Fran to organise the investment to begin the business and to keep it going. Happily Mack can find some enthusiastic young employees to come up with new ways of attracting business, but when singing sensation Jessie signs up for the post death image service everything gets more lively. This is a book which bounces around many questions of the importance of an online presence, and how people can become so wrapped up in the complexities of the internet that they lose all sense of perspective. This is a complex web of image manipulation in the contemporary world which has significant implications for real life. Money, fame and much more make people behave in strange ways in this insightful novel of fast moving life and death. I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this entertaining novel. 

 

The motto of Eternal Forever is “How do you want to be remembered when you’re dead?”, and the whole concept of the company is to sell the prospect of an orderly online legacy with all social media accounts, emails and correspondence sorted out.  Duncan is the originator of the code on which the company depends, but knows that Fran will try and cut him out if at all possible. Eric is an unscrupulous potential investor with secret motives. John is another potential investor, with a daughter who is determined to be the next internet sensation, whatever it takes. The real pivotal point is when Tito, Jessie’s manager, is killed when with her in Spain. She takes shelter in her hotel room and pleads for help from Eternal Forever, despite their image management service only supposed to kick in after death. As discoveries and a future tragedy occurs, other people see the internet as a way of not only boosting their self image, but also presenting the opportunity to improve their whole life. As online images are manipulated, money moved and intentions questioned, the large cast of characters move and adjust to complex events.

 

This is a lively book full of characters who jostle and fight for what they want, only sometimes for the best of motives. Jessie is a character who is determined to take her moment of fame and make it as long as possible, while others aspire to establish their presence. Some want money, some want fame, and some want immortality. This is a book about survival, ambition and the price of fame, and what they all cost. It is certainly a book which keeps the pace up, as it moves from character to character speedily showing their motives and fears. A human story in which online activities motivates people, this is a vibrant novel of contemporary life in all its variety. I recommend this to all those who are interested in the potential of online images and more for good or bad.