Books by Shariann Lewitt

REBEL SUTRA by Shariann Lewitt
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"An intriguing scenario whose thoughtful and mostly reasonable complications unfold with gratifying frequency: flawed, certainly, but this is the still-improving Lewitt's best so far."
Far-future power struggle from the author of Interface Masque, 1997, etc. On the frigid, highly volcanic planet Maya dwell desperately poor humans in their crumbling city, Babelion, and the genetically modified, superior Changed in their sealed Dome high in the mountains. The Changed hold annual tests to find humans worthy of becoming Changed, but nobody ever passes; the most successful become servants of the Changed. Rebellious Changed Della runs off to live with the genetic-whiz Tinkers. Later, returning to the Dome, she has an intense affair with the best human candidate, Arsen, whose brief rebellion is subverted by the evil, manipulative Sithra; he chooses execution rather than betray Della and their baby, Anselm. Sending Anselm to human foster parents, Della flees into the Dome's Exchange, an artificial intelligence supplemented by human hookups—but it has its own agenda. As Anselm grows up, he learns from Della's Tinker benefactor, Auntie Suu-Suu, that the galactic situation involves a cloned Empress's civil war with the Pretender. Far from superior, the Changed are a failed experiment; Della was the last surviving Empress clone, rescued by Suu-Suu; the Pretender has allied with Sithra to steal Maya's plentiful power (an egregiously ludicrous notion). And so Anselm has plenty of motivation for his own rebellion. Read full book review >
INTERFACE MASQUE by Shariann Lewitt
Released: April 1, 1997

Lewitt's (Memento Mori, 1995) near/medium-future cyberspace (though she avoids the term) yarn is set in Venice, where Septs dominate the computer software industry and tightly restrict access to the worldwide computer net. To test her fitness for promotion, Cecilie of Sept-Fortune is invited to crack a bank computer system designed and built by Sept-Fortune itself—a task that apparently violates all Sept-Fortune's own ethical codes. Deeply perturbed, Cecilie complies but loses confidence in her employer. Soon, she meets David Gavrilli, the maverick heir to a business empire who has fled his family in order to develop his own hacker expertise independently of the suffocating, monopolizing, Septs—and so he can play jazz, a music forbidden because of its anarchistic overtones in an age when orthodox music is merely a tool used to evoke defined responses from its audiences. When David's sponsor is murdered, he hires Cecilie to find out why and by whom. The Septs, meanwhile, are meeting to thrash out the details of a scheme to gain exclusive control of access to the computer net, a move naturally opposed by David and his terrorist associates. And during her researches Cecilie discovers that aliens have logged on to the system and are trying to build a communications protocol. Satisfyingly complicated, though the details are more for show than logical necessity, the immature characters soon grow tiresome, and the best idea here—aliens in the computer net—languishes undeveloped. Read full book review >
MEMENTO MORI by Shariann Lewitt
Released: Dec. 1, 1995

First hardcover from the author of Song of Chaos, etc. Reis, a planet occupied exclusively by twentysomething artists, or so it seems, falls victim to a deadly plague and is quarantined. RICE, the part-organic artificial intelligence that runs Reis, searches fruitlessly for a cure. The artists, meanwhile, gather in the Metz Club, which they artfully decide to rename the Metzhaus. Peter Haas is a chess whiz; his destined opponent, Senga Grieg, is masochistically obsessed with RICE. The latter, it emerges, has been infected with human DNA; grown hormonally adolescent, RICE can't cope with the resulting emotional storms. Mathematician Johanna Henning, no longer able to interface with RICE, scribbles in her diary as the Metzhaus gang endlessly yak. As the plague rages, artist Jens propounds the idea of individual death as art. Stephan, after a feeble suicide attempt, is found murdered in the club, very artistically thinks Jens. Other organizations, such as Black Wire and the Nihilo Group, take the notion a step further and stage their own artistic mass murders. RICE asks Jens to supply it with the nutrients it needs in order to mature. Peter loses the chess showdown, but he can handle it. Finally, RICE, wiping its accumulated data on a possible cure, decides it's better to let the plague run its course. Readers who've struggled this far will only applaud. Languid decadence with sadomasochistic overtones, set forth in creamy smooth prose: both arty and empty. Read full book review >