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Kalypso Deed is a shotgun, riding the interface between the AI Ganesh and human scientists who solve problems through cyberassisted Dreams. But she’s young and a little careless; she’d rather mix drinks and play jazz. Azamat Marcsson is a colorless statistician: middle-aged, boring, and obsessed with microorganisms. A first-class nonentity—until one of his Dreams implodes, taking Kalypso with it.
Now Ganesh is crashing, and nothing could be worse. For on the planet T’nane, it is the AI alone that keeps the colonists alive, eking out a grim existence in an environment inimical to human life. To save the colony, Kalypso must persuade Marcsson to finish the Dream that is destroying Ganesh. But Marcsson has gone mad, and T’nane itself has plans for them both that will alter their minds—and their world—forever.
Lightborn, better known as ‘shine’, is a mind-altering technology that has revolutionised the modern world. It is the ultimate in education, self-improvement and entertainment—beamed directly into the brain of anyone who can meet the asking price. But in the city of Los Sombres, renegade shine has attacked the adult population, resulting in social chaos and widespread insanity in everyone past the age of puberty. The only solution has been to turn off the Field and isolate the city. Trapped within the quarantine perimeter, fourteen-year-old Xavier just wants to find the drug that can keep his own physical maturity at bay until the army shuts down the shine. That’s how he meets Roksana, mysteriously impervious to shine and devoted to helping the stricken. As the military invades street by street, Xavier and Roksana discover that there could be hope for Los Sombres—but only if Xavier will allow a lightborn cure to enter his mind. What he doesn’t know is that the shine in question has a mind of its own…
The gun straps to the inside of my leg with Velcro. It’s not the absolute zenith of fashion to do this anymore, but girls who wear theirs with leather straps and buckles aren’t serious: with Velcro you can get at the thing when you need it. I also have a pink ammo belt. It’s heavy, but who said fashion was easy?
In a mall like any other, a gang of teenage girls are suddenly caught up in a maelstrom of shopping and violence. But—as the designer bullets fly— it is not only their own lives they are fighting for. Unknown to them they are battling for the life of a man trapped in another place, in a different world, and with very different enemies. He is a man they have never met, but who represents the future of the human race…or could destroy it.