The Psychic’s Memoirs by Ryan Hyatt is a near-future science fiction adventure that mixes paranormal intrigue with sociopolitical analysis in a near-future, neo-noir detective outfit. The third volume of the Terrafide series, this novel builds upon a vision of technocratic ambiguity in which 21st-century materialist social conditions clash with reality-shattering anomalies from outer and inner space.
Set in an ecologically ravaged and civil war-threatened California of 2026, the story follows two classically hard-boiled Los Angeles detectives who stumble into an investigation that is anything but normal. They are tasked with tracking down a missing teenager, Alice Walker, whose mysterious abilities may unlock the only hope for humanity’s survival.
Looming over the story is the ever-present fleet of towering Liberator robots – humanity’s ostensible saviors, who are nonetheless impotent to stop natural disasters and ecological collapse – while the political and economic skirmishes of an Eco-Socialist revolution, led by the enigmatic ‘Che Tay,’ threatens to cleave California away from a nation that is already coming apart at the seams.
Dodging in and out of the margins of this harrowing landscape, the detectives must attempt to save Alice from a triangulated war between forces both known and unknown, in a world in which reality is fractured and sometimes artificially fused together.
Without giving away any spoilers, it can be said that this novel follows in the tradition of the sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick, who was a master at interweaving different elements from speculative fiction and keeping the reader guessing at their ultimate base reality. You’d have to go back to Dick’s early classics – such as Ubik – to find science fiction that so neatly intertwines a hard-boiled detective story with telekinesis, robots, cyberpunk, aliens, and anarchistic espionage.
Ultimately, The Psychic’s Memoirs offers a mind-warping journey through an all-too-plausible near-future America where sociopolitical revolution and advanced technology represent the promise and peril of human evolution. It is a turbulent and timely novel with a narrative pulse reminiscent of both Dick and Raymond Chandler; it blends the cultural import of Children of Men and Black Mirror with the expansive sci-fi world-building of Stranger Things and Altered Carbon.
The story-world Hyatt has constructed in The Psychic’s Memoirs is eerily on the nose in an age when environmental, economic, and social collapse seems to be rushing in at us from all directions.