My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hmm, I expected to like this one more than I did. It was decent, I just wasn’t blown away.
Our protagonist, Kai is the emperor of the world. Of course, his position is put into perspective when we learn that this is a Matrix-like future. Humans are now brains in vats, each individual given a whole virtual world of their own, peopled by AIs and uniquely tailored to their own individual personality.
However, since the truth is revealed when a person comes ‘of age’ at fifty, and life expectancy is in the hundreds of years, having it all doesn’t mean that human rivalry has been eliminated. Kai has a nemesis – the brain in the ‘next jar over,’ who’s an expert hacker. He’s also subject to the instructions of the Wode – the technicians who cater to the brains’ needs. When they inform Kai that he must meet a woman in order to procreate (a conceit which makes zero sense, even if there’s some hand-waving regarding the idea), he picks the lady he’s forecast to be least compatible with, rather than most. Meeting her will turn out to be a revelation.
Some nice content about how we decide what it is that really ‘matters,’ what constitutes happiness, and what it means to be human.
Read as part of the Hugo voters’ packet.
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