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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Beautiful Red

Just finished listening to M Darusha Weim's "Beautiful Red" audiobook on This is dark, cyberpunk Science Fiction.  Lemme throw in another official reviewer-type term.  This is singularity cyberpunk.

The idea of the singularity as I understand it is that some time in the next few years, technology will have advanced so far, and the human-machine interface will have become so seamless, that we can not now understand what will become of humans or of machines.  Arthur C Clarke said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."  Beyond the singularity, science fiction essentially becomes fantasy, but truth will still be stranger than fiction, and we can't be at all sure that even fantasy will be strange enough.

Beautiful Red takes place at the event horizon of the Singularity, when the future has not quite disppeared from our view.  The human-machine interface is very cozy indeed; net access is so vital to life that it isn't a business anymore; every job is a high-tech job, but because of that, the highest of high-tech is entry-level grunt work.

Jack is responsible for Network security for her company, but the universally available security software is apparently so perfect that she's not really necessary.  Jack is a former hacker and cracker, but she gave it up when it became pointless.  Nothing can go wrong.

No, of course not, don't be silly.

Beautiful Red takes place at the event horizon of the machine-mind interface, at the event horizon of universal plenty and universal poverty, of those fighting for liberty and those stealing liberty, of the Beautiful and the ugly.  There's a line there somewhere, and Jack just crossed it.

What I like about Beautiful Red is its plausibility.  Wehm's world, with all the high-tech you could want, is as bland and mundane on the surface as the world many of us high-tech types have grown up in.  And it's as seedy, dark and dangerous as any mystery fan could want, as is the world many of us have grown up in.  It couldn't ever really happen this way.  But yeah, it could.

I recommend you check out Beautiful Red on  It's a dark, and scary, and sexy mystery with heroes who could be any of
us.  So could the villians.

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