In this debut sci-fi tale set in a dystopian future, a low-level investigator’s life is interrupted when he learns about the darker side of his technologically efficient world.
Rennard, a self-described “hardened military loner…untutored in the finer aspects of the rich history of the humanities,” is content to work as a low-level contractor, hunting down fugitive Origines, humans whose minds have been reprogrammed. However, he’s unexpectedly promoted and assigned to work alongside Prime Investigator Clair, a beautiful, intelligent and accomplished woman who outranks him. In a world forever changed by global warming, Rennard is accustomed to a predictable life, and it has never occurred to him to want for more than the government-subsidized, reconstituted food automatically prepared at the push of a button. So when Clair takes him to an exotic “restorancy” that serves real food and plays actual piano music, he’s transfixed and surprised to learn that he’s wealthy enough to enjoy these luxuries every day; before now, he’s never had reason to check how many “debents” he had in the bank. (The author’s vivid descriptions of Rennard’s first encounters with real food will give readers an appreciation for the simple pleasures many take for granted.) As Rennard delves into his new job, his budding relationship with Clair and his foray into an epicurean lifestyle cause his mind to wander from his investigation of a series of unauthorized, “replanted” minds. Soon, the investigation takes a more serious turn after persons of interest start turning up dead, sending Rennard and Clair on a mission to the moon. As the investigation continues, his encounters with Minims, a highly advanced form of replanted humans, cause him to question everything he knows—even what it means to be human. This gripping story, told through Rennard’s unique, enlightening worldview, will allow most readers to forgive a slightly predictable ending. Overall, the author provides an engaging modern perspective to classic sci-fi themes, and fans of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep will particularly enjoy this dark exploration of the role of technology, free will, and the pursuit of happiness amid the aftereffects of an environmental meltdown.
An engaging novel about a man awakening to the reality of his society.