Today I started the beginning of the first chapter of the third story in a line of maybe six.
The background and protagonist is a dystopian Europe somewhere around 2060 or 2070 where copyright- and patent-lobbies have won and creativity is rewarded with lawsuits. Africa is the new shit, where everything, including post-humanism, is happening. China and the US are mere side-characters.
The stories all shed a different light on Europe and what wrecked it in the story-universe.
“Returning the favor” plays with the concept of reciprocity of bad things and game-theory on a global scale. Karma in the “eye for an eye” kind of way.
Right and un-edited from my typing a few minutes ago:
Returning the favor
The sky is full of sensors and devices, floating like seagulls on upwinds from thermodynamic movements of warm air. Tapping in was like the hunting of wolves or the ganging up of hooligans. While five or six homed in on the target, the rest flocked around to watch the surroundings, bark warnings and create diversions.
Tapping in is like expanding your consciousness to the size of a city. It is like accessing the eye of god, as he imagined it as a kid.
The streets have ears and eyes and the principle is the same. There always is some kind of backdoor, some kind of wireless hub, some line running through public space to hook into. And so the city opened up to him, like a kid running on innocence, eagerly spilling all that it had.
Three basic processes run in his bones: one to scan faces of people he was looking for, one to map their patterns and connections and one to erase his own presence. He was the invisible man. The black ghost moving through the city, seen but unregistered and immediately forgotten.
The reference to the “bones” is the strings of computing power embedded in the structure of his skeleton. It has a controlled grow and in the stores the process is compared to as controlled bone cancer and crystals. They might be strings of quantum-computers, but I leave that in the middle to avoid the mistake you find in old SF where computers span buildings and run on miniaturized vacuum tubes. The only thing relevant is the – compared to current standards – almost unlimited computing power embedded in the body itself as a semi-organic crystalline structure.
The stories are written next to each other, to fill in the gaps and to explore and enrich the universe in which they play.