Tor, Mar 2004, 23.95, 224 pp.
While working for an international monolith that either files employees away or deletes them, interface designer Art Berry is developing a data flow management program. His objective is to create the most user-unfriendly software ever promulgated on an ill-cyber public. Art is an underground operator for the global Eastern Standard Tribe though he resides in the heartland of the Greenwich Mean Tribe.
In a world when boundaries exist in the twilight mind of the bureaucrat, only power matters, but how to achieve and hold authority in a boundless orb is the question of the competing tribes trying to foster their time zone on an unsuspecting people still used to the influence of DAC (delete, alternate control). Art believes that his hostile program will embarrass the rivals, but soon after hitting his current squeeze with his car he finds he has doubts about the truth as venerated by tribal leaders. Now Art stands on a Boston insane asylum's rooftop thinking of using that ancient communication device, the stubby penci,l to escape from his current scenario.
Like his first Berry novel, DOWN AND OUT IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM, Cory Docterow provides a wild satire of the shrinking yet increasingly complex world. The zany story line is crazier than the lead protagonist making it difficult to follow and requiring extra time beyond the standard for this size novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner