Howard Jones - Writing
Surveying thought and accomplishment from around this fractious world, Manifest Orders suggests that reality — meaningfulness — largely is determined by how one pays attention.
O, Wow is a satiric fable of the near future:
Nationwide, cities are in trouble. A violent hurricane has swept up the eastern seaboard, overwhelming neglected infrastructure and demolishing public services. Rumored terrorist intrigues of stolen nuclear devices and unleashed plagues have incited multitudes to abandon familiar but now devastated neighborhoods and take to the highways on foot. In the lawless backcountry predatory gangs exploit hapless refugees and vulnerable communities to traffic in plunder, drugs, and sex slaves.
A young comedy team, Banner and Dooley, has just finished a stint in a government effort to win public acceptance of harsh new austerity measures. The project has imbued them with powerful nano-biotic maxnet brain-surfing technology to enable rapid production while fueling their comic inventions of Ant and Grasshopper skits in response to live polling data.
Now Peter Dooley and the duo''s manager, Kristin Banner, are swept up in mass exodus from Manhattan. Early in their trek, in violent confrontation in the Holland Tunnel, Kristin narrowly escapes abduction by slavers. During the skirmish, Dooley's persona, overwhelmed by auto-adaptive resources of his internalized nanotech, gives way to Grasshopper, a comically erratic gadfly of all Ant-ward misgivings.
Out among hordes of dispossessed refugees Grasshopper's exuberant nonchalance magnetically draws crowds of adherents who find in his comedic coping seemingly miraculous powers of healing that soon incite national media obsession. His meteoric notoriety draws political, religious and covert agencies into devious and risky collusion to discredit such unfortunate national obsession.
In this wry tale of a reluctant savior, a young technician, Jason Hood, smitten by gentle charms of one Chloe Jernigan, artist, teacher and devotee of Grasshopper, learns that maddening escapades may lead through dimensions of hidden cosmic significance.
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ANX: life of a recog
In aftermath of The Great Fall, as depicted in O, Wow, the United States become "Untied" and in a riverside remnant of old New Orleans known as Nola, a young tech struggles to unravel how he came to be condemned as a recog to the ANX penal lattice.
“Recogs would accommodate whatever was on offer.They picked up trash for the city.They chased tourist tips.They served the wealthy and powerful as personal body servants called grooms. Or they pandered farther down the social scale, availing themselves to sate any appetite.A few especially clever ones managed to contrive elegant cons or otherwise exploit wayward opportunities to scam any soul or system.“
Actually, recog Penn Hebert is an unjustly convicted felon leashed within a virtual prison lattice by an ANX brain implant that renders him physically unable to defend himself. But Penn is virtual master of the XR mixed- reality that feeds hallucinated thrills across Snake Zone networks to serve notoriously salacious lucid dreem cabarets run by Nola underground Queen of Sin, Claire “Mamma” Latrice. Nikki Brite, a young dancer turned therapeutic dreem sponder to escape actual flesh pits of the Zone, enlists Penn’s help to fend off an online predator that threatens her budding career. In fighting her stalker the duo also disrupt best-laid plans of a ruthless politician, a deranged multi-billionaire, his conniving grandson and a newly-arrived political sentinel who discovers that her own best interests, along with those of Penn and Nikki, converge onto startling new options for transhuman evolution.