An Australian award-winning F/SF author strikes new sparks from an old flint: What if matter transmitters (“Beam me up, Scotty”) really worked?
By 2069, KTI Corp.’s “d-mat” matter transmitter network (the technology’s a closely guarded secret) makes it possible to travel instantly to almost anywhere on Earth. Meanwhile, a serial killer known as the Twinmaker somehow copies his victims while they’re in transit. The original proceeds unharmed to her destination, unaware that a duplicate has been captured. The latest victim’s mutilated remains have been transmitted to a seemingly empty apartment once shared by private eye Jonah McEwen and his adoptive father, Lindsay Carlaw, a researcher who helped develop QUALIA, the artificial intelligence that runs KTI. Investigating officers Marylin Blaylock and Odi Whitesmith discover Jonah in a tank of nutrient gel, his brain infected with hostile software. Since Jonah was once Marylin’s employer and lover, and all the Twinmaker’s victims resemble Marylin, Jonah immediately becomes suspect #1. Clearly, though, this Jonah’s too damaged—but what if there’s a homicidal copy? Jonah’s last recollection is of Lindsay dying, killed by a bomb; Jonah made inquiries and learned something significant, but can’t remember what. Oddly, Lindsay helped found the anti–d-mat group WHOLE and refused to travel by d-mat—except on the day of his death! Obviously, the Twinmaker has full access to KTI’s technology; yet, suspiciously, KTI boss Fabian Schumacher refuses to release his secret files—and Jonah remembers seeing KTI security chief Herold Verstegen in the apartment after Lindsay’s death.
Convincingly realized, with the vigorous narrative whizzing along—too long—at hyperspeed, and frenetic plot twists that can’t quite disguise the holes.