CANDLE by John Barnes

CANDLE

KIRKUS REVIEW

A yarn that takes place somewhere—though it’s unclear precisely where—in the universe Barnes created for his splendid Kaleidoscope Century (1995). Some years after Meme Wars—memes are evolving computer programs that can infect human brains and control minds—retired manhunter Currie Curtis Curran lives comfortably with his wife Mary in the Colorado Rockies. Like nearly everyone on Earth, his controlling meme is Resuna, a benevolent program that helps moderate anger, violence, and pain. All the copies of Resuna link up to form the godlike intelligence One True. The latter now informs Currie that he’s needed for one last mission: An old adversary—lacking Resuna, and therefore uncontrolled and dangerous—has reappeared after a ten-year absence. An absurdly inept hunter, Currie’s easily subdued by his quarry, Dave Singleton. Struck on the head, Currie wakes to discover that his Resuna no longer functions! Neither can he link to One True. Through endless chats, captive and captor discover similar histories and attitudes, and become friends. Dave’s adoptive parents invented a meme called Freecyber, which repelled hostile memes. But once One True won the Meme Wars, Dave fled into suspended animation. Finally, Currie realizes that Dave has infected him with Freecyber. Furious, he attacks Dave, but under stress Resuna reawakens and fuses with Freecyber. The result behaves and thinks like a person. Disappointingly obvious, and going nowhere.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-89077-X
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1999




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