A frighteningly persuasive, high-tech fable, this novel follows the lives of four narrators living in an alternative futuristic Cape Town, South Africa. Kendra, an art-school dropout, brands herself for a nanotech marketing program; Lerato, an ambitious AIDS baby, plots to defect from her corporate employers; Tendeka, a hot-headed activist, is becoming increasingly rabid; and Toby, a roguish blogger, discovers that the video games he plays for cash are much more than they seem. On a collision course that will rewire their lives, this story crackles with bold and infectious ideas, connecting a ruthless corporate-apartheid government with video games, biotech attack dogs, slippery online identities, a township soccer school, shocking cell phones, addictive branding, and genetically modified art. Taking hedonistic trends in society to their ultimate conclusions, this tale paints anything but a forecasted utopia, satirically undermining the reified idea of progress as society's white knight.
Lauren Beukes is a journalist who has contributed to The Big Issue, Colors, The Hollywood Reporter, Marie Claire, Nature Medicine, and The Sunday Times. She is the head writer for the TV cartoon Clockwork Zoo Animation, the cocreator of the show URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika, and the author of Maverick: Extraordinary Women From South Africa’s Past, which was nominated for the Sunday Times Alan Paton nonfiction award.