Laura Lam is the author of the Micah Grey series (Pantomime, Shadowplay) from Pan, and the self-published Vestigial Tales (The Snake Charm, The Fisherman’s Net, The Tarot Reader, The Card Sharp). Last year Tor published her first Pacifica novel False Hearts, which A. M. Dellamonica called “A taut futuristic thriller, set in a San Francisco where everybody is beautiful… Two unusual sisters are caught in a war for control of a society that quietly suffocates its outsiders, rebels, and the damaged.” Last week Tor released the sequel in hardcover.
Carina used to be one of the best biohackers in Pacifica. But when she worked for Sudice and saw what the company’s experiments on brain recording were doing to their subjects, it disturbed her ― especially because she found herself enjoying giving pain and contemplating murder. She quit and soon grew addicted to the drug Zeal, spending most of her waking moments in a horror-filled dream world where she could act out her depraved fantasies without actually hurting anyone.
One of her trips is interrupted by strange flashing images and the brutal murder of a young girl. Even in her drug-addicted state, Carina knows it isn’t anything she created in the Zealscape. On her next trip, she discovers that an old coworker from Sudice, Max, sent her these images before he was killed by the company. Encrypted within the images are the clues to his murder, plus information strong enough to take down the international corporation.
Carina’s next choice will transform herself, San Francisco, and possibly the world itself.
My interest in the book was piqued by Liz Bourke’s Tor.com review, in which she called it “A tight, tense and nail-biting science fiction thriller, informed by cyberpunk influences like Nicola Griffith’s Slow River and Melissa Scott’s Trouble and Her Friends as much as by the near-future extrapolatory science fiction tradition. It’s damn good.” (David B. Coe reviewed Slow River for us earlier this year.)
Shattered Minds was published by Tor Books on June 20, 2017. It is 386 pages, priced at $25.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital edition.