Can you weaponize perception, or even consciousness? Snow Crash meets Ex Machina in Isaac Hsu’s sci-fi thriller about our precarious grip on reality and the danger of corporate greed in a world in which your own face has a price on it.
Z-Yee is the only person left in the city still wearing his own skin: bionic implants called “liveskin” have given everyone else with money the opportunity to change their appearance and maximize their beauty. Maybe that’s why Z-Yee has made himself an expert in building artificial intelligences for virtual reality. But things become extremely dangerous once he learns that his very own virtual AI project – with whom he’s falling in love – has been given an assignment still a secret even to him.
Things continue to get worse from there. Z-Yee finds he’s being surveilled – or scouted – while at work, and when he’s made the target in an attack on his company’s premises, he only narrowly escapes with his life. Meanwhile, an upcoming visit by the President himself reveals multiple conspiracies afoot, at least one of which makes use of G-Na, the beautiful AI Z-Yee has constructed who still doesn’t know herself is artificial.
By incorporating the narrative perspectives of both human and artificial intelligence, Isaac Hsu’s fast-paced tale reinvents many of the classic themes of science fiction, like time travel and virtual reality, while also posing penetrating questions about the nature of individual being and feeling. His masterful use of suspense and integration of imaginative technology makes the book a must-read for sci-fi aficionados and general readers alike.