, Damien Broderick extrapolates a powerful science fiction novel from aspects of his speculative-science nonfiction book, The Spike
, and creates a fascinating world at the edge of profound transformation.
In the near future, the brilliant lawyer/cybernetician Mohammed Kasim Abdel-Malik is killed by street thugs, but his body is rushed into cryonic suspension. His mind becomes the source for the Aleph, an artificial intelligence that will rule the world.
In the Aleph-ruled technotopia, Amanda Kolby-McAllister is a math and music genius who's almost 30, but she's trapped in adolescence by law and nanotech. Rebellious and bored, she attempts to catch an illegal and highly dangerous ride on the back of a subterranean Maglev freighter. Arrested, Amanda swears before the revived Abdel-Malik, now a Magistrate, that she will never again sneak into a Maglev hangar. But she conceives of another way to ride the supersonic train by entering the tunnel through a ventilation shaft in the Valley of the God of One's Choice--where outsiders are forbidden.
Mathewmark, who is a genuine adolescent, lives in the Valley of the God of One's Choice. Devout Luddites, the Valley inhabitants are outraged because the Maglev has opened a blasphemous vent into their Valley, but Mathewmark is more intrigued than disturbed, and his curiosity opens a way for Amanda to lead him into temptation. He helps her enter the Valley and the vent, with consequences that will bring them together with Abdel-Malik and the Aleph, and may completely change existence on Earth. --Cynthia Ward
From Publishers Weekly
Anyone who can't imagine grinning at the end of life as we know it should skip this book, but it'll be fun for people self-confident enough to imagine a lighthearted fusion of Clarke's Childhood's End and the movie Clueless. When Amanda, an adventurous adolescent girl, wanders into the life and mind of Mathewmark, a young man living in the Valley of the God of One's Choice, a low-tech, religious enclave, the two are soon on the bumpy road to romance. Meanwhile, the resurrected version of a scientist who'd been attempting to create artificial intelligence observes and attempts to judge what he sees in this fractured future. He's aware that an AI controls the world and may even have created the sensations that convince him there is a world out there. So should he be afraid? Angry? How should he feel when the AI begins to evolve into something else, changing the nature of humanity, too? As for Mathewmark and Amanda, they misunderstand each other, make fools of themselves and feel real pain, but also discover that change is more exciting than frightening. Australian author Broderick (The Dreaming Dragons) sees how silly individual humans can be, especially when they choose to stay isolated. However, he also believes that technology gives us fresh possibilities for unity and growth. By the end, the young people's gusto is contagious, and readers can feel confident that we'll all be able to cope with new challenges.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.