THE JAZZ by Melissa Scott


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More maneuvers at the man/machine interface, from the author of The Shapes of Their Hearts (1998), etc. In the near future, cyberspace is dominated by the “jazz,” creative, entertaining, convincing lies (imagine AOL, CNN, and the National Enquirer all rolled into one). Young teenager Keyz, desperate to play the jazz, has hacked into a powerful Hollywood studio's program, Orpha-Toto, which edits mediocre works into winners. Tin Lizzy, a creative technician with a checkered past (prostitution, porn movies, hacking) helps Keyz get his jazz into shape. But then the studio's president, Gardner Gerretty, finds out about the theft of Orpha-Toto, the secret key to his success. Vindictive and monomaniacal—he busted Lizzy for a minor infraction—Gerretty threatens to destroy Keyz and his parents, and dispatches studio cop John Hallac to track down Keyz and Lizzy. They flee with a copy of Orpha-Toto, getting help from cop Chessie Vara, a friend of Lizzy's, and Lizzy's old mentor Russ Conti—who, it turns out, helped write Orpha-Toto. Using her jazz to evade capture and buy them some time, Lizzy contacts Njeri Shida, a possible customer for the program. But they seem to escape Hallac too easily. Is Gerretty aware of what they're doing, waiting to grab them all once they meet up?

Nobody writes about the cyberspace experience better than Scott, despite the deflationary ending and a plot that doesn't hold water.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-86802-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2000


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