June 2017

In a time two generations beyond fake news and alternative facts, where religions have become buying clubs and the telecoms have merged down to three and divided up the world, shit still happens.

Curtis Dresden, Director of the International Diplomatic Corp, has a spectacular and urgent problem to solve. Lester Cleland, 49thPresident of the United States, has raptured. Soaring naked from the Rose Garden during primetime news, Lester’s exit has left the carefully managed social economies of the world in chaos.

Figuring out the rapture turns out to be the easy part, deciding what to do about the social mutations that caused it is more complex.

Pavlov’s Colon is the first book of a trilogy of stories that track humans and their genetic trajectory fifty, one hundred, and finally one thousand years out from the present.

Buy Pavlov's Colon


“most engineers like classical music, but a few of us like jazz.”

Pavlov’s Colon is a jazzy trip into a near-future (2048) where world order is based on “massive customer management through religion.” Mega-scale data mining and sophisticated product placement algorithms are expertly employed by three dominant consumer/communications cartels (Comms): Unity in Christ (UIC), Servants of Allah (SA) and Non-Believers. Comm purchasing loyalty is assured through all-pervasive “news” and information feeds targeted at the rapidly and continually changing “needs” of adherents. The apparent stability of established global markets, achieved by mutual accord after the turbulent early years of the 21st century, is belied by fierce behind-the-scenes competition waged with calculating, no-holds-barred digital subterfuge. Aided by Serendipity, an advanced data mining program having an eye-popping graphical user interface and enough algorithmic jazz to unearth novel veins of informational ore, a small, self-appointed group of “transparency” advocates endeavors to upset consumer markets - and hence the existing political order - through attention grabbing cyber gambits they call “prank art”. With unforeseen and decidedly unserendipitous consequences, the merry pranksters become actors in a deadly reality play for the future of humanity.

Mr. Pierce creates a compelling picture of the detritus of a self-absorbed and fickle society flowing peristaltically through the echo chamber of an emerging information age. There are no heroes here, just celebrities. The Comm world of 2048 is a community of the deluded and the self-deluding. It presents us with an eerily familiar backdrop for an intricately woven and clever plot. Brought into sharp relief by a quixotic cast of bloodless but cynically ambitious characters, the book explores the recursive conflation of means and ends. Mr. Pierce serves this up with dark comedy and dry wit. Good humor and well-written descriptive prose, spanning the back country of Africa to the visual displays of Serendipity, nicely embellish a strong plot line that is a real strength of this book – the author’s first. An exciting and otherwise fast-moving story does, however, get bogged down in places by descriptive detail and densely written text.

Pavlov’s Colon is a good read for futurists who like their dystopian meals heavy on algorithmic fantasy and delightfully spiced with a touch of farce.