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.

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“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.

April 2019

2128 is another bad year for humans. While the earth is straining at its seams under the multiple pressures of climate change, a handful of powerful crypto-state corporations wrestle with the U.N. for the steering wheel of the world's consumer economy, which is headed through the guard rails and off a cliff. Tattered social structures, like capitalism and democracy, are fast approaching their degenerate end-states, and even the forward progress of human evolution seems in question.

But a young polymath named Lori Norton discovers that 2128 is a very lucky year for donkeys.

In the second book of the Serendipity Trilogy, Lori and a mercenary coder named Sevier Blume, fall in separately with a band of aging informatics pirates who run the obscure World History Institute. They find themselves in a cloistered world where the facts of times gone by are malleable, and where the laws of physics are giving way to the whims of the macronome. Where once the worry was malevolent Artificial Intelligences discovering teamwork, now the puzzle has become what to expect from the dawning age of the trybrid: The heart and grit of a donkey, the history and wisdom of all humanity, and the power of biologic processing.

Macronome is the second 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.
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