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Capacityby Tony Ballantyne
Synopses & Reviews
Welcome to the year 2252—and congratulations! Youre now a personality construct. We know that can be a daunting stage of personal development, especially if you dont remember making this life-changing decision. But were here to help….
Helen is waking to a dark new reality—one that shes certain she didnt choose. In this borrowed existence, she finds an unexpected guide in Judy, a geisha-faced virgin whos on a mission of her own. Together, the two of them begin a dangerous run through dozens of imagined worlds in an attempt to trap a psychopath haunting the shadowed areas of virtual space—a killer who brutally murdered an earlier version of Helen and who plans to kill again. Meanwhile, Justinian is investigating a peculiar rash of AI suicides on far-off planets—and finds that not only is there more to these “deaths” than he thought, but that they may be linked to his wife Anyas mysterious coma.
In a future where AIs have taken over human life and the Environment Agency runs everything for our own good, the fact that we can live on after physical death as sentient digital beings should have been a good thing. Instead, as Helen and Justinian are about to discover, it just means there are more ways to die.
"In this uneven sequel to Ballantyne's Recursion, humans can live on as digital clones or 'personality constructs' of themselves, leading multiple lives in the numerous matrices of 23rd-century cyberspace and enjoying equal rights with their physical compatriots. Like the first series entry, this novelinterweaves several story lines concerning the dubious existence of an omnipotent artificial intelligence known as the Watcher, who controls the Environmental Agency, the organization in charge of all aspects of the digital and physical worlds. With the help of a geisha-garbed agent (and her numerous digital clones), a woman seeks asylum from a cyberspace killer determined to repeatedly torture and murder her digital incarnations. Meanwhile, on a remote planet in the physical world, a social worker investigates a series of artificial intelligence suicides that may hold apocalyptic implications. Though Ballantyne writes with engaging authority about high-concept technological novelties, the three protagonists often come across as self-parodies, spouting clumsy and predictable exposition that grinds the tale to a halt during what would otherwise have been memorable climaxes. This is a shame, because the inventive plot, which interweaves such staples of the genre as dilemmas of free will, memory and identity, contains enough mind-bending twists and double-crosses to satisfy most cyberpunk fans." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Tony Ballantyne grew up in County Durham in the North East of England. He studied Math at Manchester University before moving to London for ten years where he taught first Math and then later IT. He now lives in Oldham with his wife and two children. His hobbies include playing boogie piano, walking, and cycling.
Tony's short fiction has appeared in The Third Alternative and Interzone magazines, and in the anthology Constellations edited by Peter Crowther.
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