Zeus Alone Preview



At the beginning of the 22nd century, about a hundred years after the onset of the great Tilt, Earth is coping with critical environmental degradation, mass migrations, and the emergence of multi-racial and gender-equal social systems. Scientific and technological innovations like the gluon field effect enable humans to reduce radiation exposure on Earth, and to live at Alpha Base on Luna, and in Olympus City on Mars at the base of Olympus Mons. Earth Core and Mars Core monitor and guide all communications via their quantum engines and ubiquitous surveillance nodes. Early-age brain training and ID pins are universal. Many people distract themselves with hyper immersive VAR gaming and numb themselves with sufen-dopey.

In this world of chatty machines, pervasive surveillance, constant identity tracking, and standardized brain conditioning, the inhabitants of Earth become passive and pliant while the humans on Mars become increasingly restive and violent. Many Mars settlers adopt genetic engineering and cloning. Now, most humans born on Mars, the phids, have phenotypes distinct from "Earthies." Racial tensions between phids and Earth humans are growing. Phid assassins with focal razors are roaming on Earth, killing Core experts. They almost kill Mik Sturm, a shy, insecure student at ApexU, who has just entered the employ of Centroid Logics as an Earth Core consultant.

Accompanied by his Psimon org brother, Dagg Lordson, and Venna McKinsey from Centroid Logics, Mik embarks on a dangerous mission to Mars that requires him to become Ace Bing Wong, a recently deceased Martian mining tycoon whose dark skin and stocky body are a good match with his. For his deception to succeed, Mik must learn to think and act like the brash and crude Ace who is returning to Mars to resume his position as owner and president of Wong Elements. Disguised as Ace, Mik uncovers a sinister crime syndicate on Mars and fixes a hidden logic flaw in Mars Core, which calls itself Zeus and appears to be self-aware.

On the return trip to Earth, Mik and Venna fall in love. After a rough landing at Port Vandenberg, on their way back to the Psimon Institute, a red dome stops their limo. Black-suited figures clamp Mik and take him to a remote mountain barn and torture him in a desolate and painful VAR world. With the help of Dagg's donzi, Dagg and Venna rescue him, but Dagg dies in a struggle with a focal razor just as the police arrive. Mik recuperates at the Psimon Institute and gains insight into the predicament of becoming the genius of himself. He is accepted into the Psimon Order, and in a grand ceremony, he affirms his unending bond with Venna, and chants an unending org word in a stone-cracking farewell to Dagg.

Zeus Alone is a full-length novel of speculative fiction by Joseph Corrado. For more information, please contact: HUB@centroidcafe.com.



Venna's Tale

Abord the S.S. Ajax, at the beginning of the voyage to Mars, Captain Ribundo explained that, even though the trip to Olympus City will only take about 54 days, the weeks can still pass slowly. She proposed that all the passengers meet for a grand dinner in her cabin every Sunday evening, and that each guest take a turn in telling an interesting and worthwhile story after their meal. In chapter 26 of Zeus Alone, Venna tells her tale.

Read Venna's Tale in the current issue of the Portland Metrozine. Enjoy!

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