The world already ended once. Now it's up to an outgunned negotiator, a disavowed spy, and an immersion-addicted hacker to stop it from happening again.
Centuries after the Fold, civilization is fragile. In the megacity of Naion, people live stacked in arcologies, most never going outside because the air is another enemy. Instead, freedom comes from technology: bodytechs modify the human form while synthetic intelligences whisper through brainware.
Now a new bridge between man and machine has emerged, one that could destroy humanity’s second shot at survival—or save it, depending on who gets to it first....
Adasha Denali is one of the government’s best dispute resolution specialists, but when a scandal threatens to destabilize the city and end her career, she’ll need more than words to escape the fallout. Venturing out of her office and into a fight for the future, she’ll team up with a disavowed spy, learning the hard way that betrayal wears many faces, and one of them may be her own.
Neon Nik is an immersion-addicted IT freelancer struggling to pay off debts to circling loan sharks. Threats of dismemberment become the least of his problems when a surprise inheritance throws him into a vortex of corporate kill squads willing to burn the city down to find him.
Engineered spies, high-tech mercenaries, and immersion hackers collide in this first gripping instalment of the Centricity Cycle.
CENTRICITY by Nathaniel Henderson: supercharged spy-fi that delivers a real tango in your temple!
CENTRICITY is an immersive and atmospheric novel that blends sci-fi, espionage and thriller elements. Henderson’s world-building is particularly impressive, providing vivid descriptions of a society coping with unchecked exponential technological growth and rampant global environmental deterioration. His masterful wordcraft adds an authenticity to how life would feel in a future world where augmented reality technology is omnipotent.
The action is based in the city-sphere of ’Naion’, a self-sustaining arcology protected from an environmentally damaged Earth. Humans possess immersive technology, ‘synts’, a brain-machine interface linked to the ‘Nebula’ file system, heightening their capacity to investigate, interrogate or flee.
Characters are thrust into a complex narrative that make for a challenging read. The dialogue, often amusing and witty, offsets the evocative technical discourse on Naion’s vanguard technology. There's action too, in the fight and flee scenes, described in exquisite detail and incorporating a heady mix of the senses - taste, touch, sight, sound and synt. This is a necessarily long novel as the main characters, Nik, Adasha, Voros and Rown methodically untangle the facts and sift through multi-layered leads.
In short, CENTRICITY has something for everyone.
It's by no means an easy read as the author develops multiple plot lines and multiple POVs in a world of spies and their unwitting targets. For me, this made for a rewarding experience, although a more comprehensive index of characters and organisations than the one offered would have assisted.
I strongly recommend this engrossing dystopian tale of the future. Readers of cyberpunk novels such as Gibson’s Neuromancer should thoroughly enjoy CENTRICITY. 5 Stars
NIK SMILED AND the building smiled back, its façade all black teeth angles and white gum signage held together with cables and fat tendrils of epoxy. Poetry curled along the bulging geometry, hand-painted in dead Persian. He’d never bothered to have his software translate it. In an age of information bloat, ignorance was a proactive sport.
Above the entryway a single word blazed: HALE.
Two store fronts down, a woman rested against the shell of a mutilated cleaning bot. The glow of her cig warmed her blank expression. Another silhouetted figure pissed into a gap between buildings.
Hands in his pockets, Nik rolled his too small shoulders in his too big jacket. Soft with age, the leather made no sound. Canopy environmental systems kept temperatures chilly or warm but never quite comfortable. He coughed and thought about clearing his throat onto the sidewalk, decided not to—didn’t want to waste the residue of his last Cinnamon Fire—and crossed the street to Hale. Underfoot, a trampled stew of discard formed the menu of some future archaeological buffet.
The air inside hinted at decomposing animals in heating ducts. Ironic, considering this was the Canopy’s premier breather bar, where patrons sucked down spiked air cocktails.
About the Author
Nathaniel Henderson was born in 1983 in Albuquerque, NM, USA. At a young age he moved to Tulsa, OK, where he spent the next fifteen or so years surviving adolescence. After graduating from high school, he packed it up and headed out west to the picturesque Santa Cruz, CA to attend UCSC. After a year of wrestling with computer science, he transferred to San Francisco to study computer animation and special effects. The career didn’t stick, and he set off to teach English in South Korea, Thailand, and finally Tokyo, Japan, where he currently resides.
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