Second adventure in Dietz’s planet-hopping, far-future series (Runner, 2005).
Interstellar courier Jak Rebo promised the dead scientist Milos Lysander that he would convey the supercilious artificial intelligence named Logos to the planetoid Socket, where the AI can restore the downed system of star gates and thereby arrest humanity’s long slide toward barbarism. In this universe, dead people hang around on the spirit plane, communicating via psychic “sensitives” and occasionally taking over their bodies. Jak’s team consists of the sensitive Lonni Norr (she channels for Lysander) and hulking bodyguard Hoggles. Via Lonni, Lysander provides occasional advice and assistance, inasmuch as he is the former Emperor Hios, creator of the original star-gate system before he succumbed to megalomania—a general trend among these characters—and only he knows that there’s another Logos, a version 1.2 now known as Sogol, as capable as Logos but without the latter’s lust for power. Jak’s task is no easy one, however, because the Techno Society intends to grab Logos so it can control the star-gate system itself. The Techno Society is formidable enough, with deformed genius Omar Tephos, dead megalomaniac Jevan Kane, Kane’s sensitive channel Arn Dyson, combat variant Shaz and alluring assassin Du Phan; worse, they control most of the star gates that still operate. Also throwing roadblocks in Jak and company’s direction are various religious-fanatic anti-technology locals, a bunch of homicidal clowns and roustabouts from a traveling circus, a starship infested with cannibals and, unbeknownst to Jak, Logos itself, which hates humanity and intends to control the star gates for itself.
Some arresting ideas, but given only a cursory workout in favor of nonstop action and starship velocity.