In the latter half of the twenty-first century, freelance data-auditor Mikhail Gonzales has been contracted to monitor an AI-controlled orbiting colony. Complications arise when an experimental treatment for a critically injured man is opposed by Gonzales' employer, the SenTrax corporation.
that's all it will take. I'll give you authorization and receipt." Gonzales waited, keeping the pressure on by his insistent gaze and posture.
The pilot said, "Okay, that ought to cover my ass."
Gonzales slid the shock-case next to the pilot's seat, kneeled and opened the lid. "Are you recording?" he asked the pilot.
The man nodded and said, "Always."
"That's what I thought. All right, then: for the record, this is Mikhail Mikhailovitch Gonzales, senior employee of Internal Affairs Division, SenTrax. I am acquiring flight records of this aircraft to assist in my investigation of certain events that occurred during its most recent flight." He looked at the pilot. "That should do it," he said.
He pulled out a data lead from the case and snapped it into the access plug on the instrument panel. Lights flashed across the panel as data began to spool into the quiescent memex. The panel gonged softly to signal transfer was complete, and Gonzales unplugged the lead and closed the case. "Thanks," he said to the pilot, who sat staring out the cockpit bubble.
Gonzales stood and patted the case
Extremely foul language alert. Bailed out after just a few pages.
This book felt like a first effort to me. The concept is intriguing, but the delivery seemed disjointed. Many times I found myself in long descriptive passages, wondering when the plot would advance ... or where the plot was, frankly. Then all of a sudden, in a few paragraphs, the plot would jerk forward with little explication. This would be followed by more lush descriptive passages which had little or nothing to do with moving the plot forward...
An example of the plot vagueness: several times we are reminded that Gonzales' memex (HeyMex) is in some way colluding with Aleph to do ... something. We never learn what. At one point HeyMex wishes it could talk with Gonzales, and goes to some effort to find him. But when they finally do meet, they exchange two sentences of dialog.
Another example: near then end, two characters fall in (love? lust?) and are married. But there is very little intercharacter development on which to base their sudden marriage.
I think there may be a good book in here, somewhere. But it needs more editorial and authorial work to bring it out.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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