When You Were Pixels by Julio Alexi Genao ~ Book Review by Lirtle

You are not alone

When You Were Pixels Title: When You Were Pixels

Author: Julio Alexi Genao

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Julio Alexi Genao

Rating: 5.00 of 5 Stars


A standalone short story in the Syntax universe.

An assassin has come to Tower 072, and no one can keep him from his target.

Only minutes from escape, he suffers a violent seizure, collapsing in a service corridor.

A lonely surveillance operator becomes the only person in the building to see him fall. Antho is no murderer, but in watching the killer stumble he recognizes something that links them together.

When he rescues the assassin in secret, he finds the monster on his screen is only a young man, cursed with the effects of a trauma as outsized as his deadly skill—and somehow linked to the stirring of a terrifying power. Unable to walk away, Antho makes a choice that could cost them both their lives:

He takes the assassin home.

Revised Second Edition

Lirtle’s View:

You are not alone.

For me, this is the overarching truth in this story. Despite the pain, loneliness, wispy hope and even concrete joy, no matter how fleeting, I’m not alone. Even when that loneliness threatens to separate me from everything and then invade, I’m not alone. That takes strength. It’s something I don’t always have. Neither does Antho. Yet, he doesn’t give up, save once, but he knew it was worth it. What he found on the other side were more hope and determination.

Antho is everyone’s struggle in these ways. The struggle for more, not of stuff, but of, from and for ourselves. Reaching. To feel real. Filled.

In a sci-fi type of short story especially, it’s difficult to paint the world in sufficient color. Not only is this world alight with the greys and silvers and blacks, but the texture and temperature, all surrounding me. This is achieved by maximizing context. I don’t know the ‘Energy War’ from the cola wars, but in a single, two-sentence long paragraph, Genao tells me it’s something I need to know but don’t want to know. Enthralling.

Tension and intensity. I’m unable to resist this particular combination, especially when it’s given to me by way of Antho and his intelligence, daring, subterfuge and heart. I connected with him which means I connected with myself. To be successful in making this happen for me as the reader, this is a mark of a writer who is meant to live as one.

Despite the unrelentingly cold and futuristic setting, this story has a satisfyingly noir style. What a clever, warm, and layered way to expose the things I’ve described thus far. Antho himself feels intimately classic in so many ways.

When you first meet someone, there feels to be a vestige of how we consumed that experience as kids. That part of me that still opens up as if on autopilot, ready and willing to share myself. The joy that comes with that. And when the other person is in the same heart and mindset? Well. We know how that feels. So does Antho.

Instincts. No matter how many cloaked layers we try to wear, instincts remain. Antho not only listens but hears and obeys his.

Heartbreaking freedom.

Julio-Alexi Genao’s writing is both transparent and behaves as a mirror. Every word has a reason for being there. Some allow for deep diving, some boldly reflect back at me. I’ll never not look, whether at his stories or what they make me see.

Buy Links

Self Published
Amazon US
Amazon UK

This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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2 thoughts on “When You Were Pixels by Julio Alexi Genao ~ Book Review by Lirtle

  1. What a wonderful review Lirtle I have had Julio’s book in my TBR folder for a while I think I shall move it up the list after reading this. 🙂

  2. Thank ya, so much, BJ. 😀
    The guy has his way with words, they have no chance of escaping his manhandling of them lol.

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