From the two defining personalities of post-cyberpunk SF, a brilliant collaboration to rival 1987's The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
Welcome to the fractured future, at the dusk of the twenty-first century.
Earth has a population of roughly a billion hominids. For the most part, they are happy with their lot, living in a preserve at the bottom of a gravity well. Those who are unhappy have emigrated, joining one or another of the swarming densethinker clades that fog the inner solar system with a dust of molecular machinery so thick that it obscures the sun.
The splintery metaconsciousness of the solar-system has largely sworn off its pre-post-human cousins dirtside, but its minds sometimes wander… and when that happens, it casually spams Earth's networks with plans for cataclysmically disruptive technologies that emulsify whole industries, cultures, and spiritual systems. A sane species would ignore these get-evolved-quick schemes, but there's always someone who'll take a bite from the forbidden apple.
So until the overminds bore of stirring Earth's anthill, there's Tech Jury Service: random humans, selected arbitrarily, charged with assessing dozens of new inventions and ruling on whether to let them loose. Young Huw, a technophobic, misanthropic Welshman, has been selected for the latest jury, a task he does his best to perform despite an itchy technovirus, the apathy of the proletariat, and a couple of truly awful moments on bathroom floors.
Cory Doctorow (born 1971) is a Canadian author.
Cory Doctorow is a coeditor of Boing Boing and the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He writes columns for Make, Information Week, the Guardian online, and Locus. He has won the Locus Award three times, been nominated for the Hugo and the Nebula, won the Campbell Award, and was named one of the Web's twenty-five influencers by Forbes magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He hopes you'll use technology to change the world.
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