Conceived in the spirit of Iain M. Banks’ Culture series, the books in the Age of Abundance series are set anywhere in the near future to the far future, spanning a several-thousand-year reign collectively known as The Age of Abundance. The series is written for fans of positive sci-fi in the spirit of Banks’ own books, of Charles Stross and other sci-fi writers who work in this vein, and of the Star Trek film franchise, and for those who need to take at least a brief break from dystopian fare. That said, these can be very scary views of the future. For them to feel like positive sci-fi, the reader, along with the characters in the stories, might well have to keep their eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s the early days in an Age of Abundance, just decades into the future. Consciousness continues to co-evolve with the self-empowerment technologies at meteoric rates. Still, some would use these gifts to wage evil on the world. One psychopath and his cybernetic creation, a nine-year old girl, are out to save humanity from itself. Clyde Barker is convinced that self-empowerment and self-directed evolution is an affront to God. How could mankind take over his own ascension without bringing down the house that God made? One might think that even a genius in fashioning human upgrades and a cybernetic little girl with a four-digit IQ would be easily neutralized in an Age of Abundance in any event. One would be wrong. You see, Clyde has a rather unique skill. One might say a special power. He can pop in and out of timelines at will, steering them in the direction he wants without anyone being any the wiser.
Of course, nothing comes easy, not even to a clever, highly-manipulative psychopath. Kendra Harding is the detective heading up the hunt for Clyde Barker. Her on-again, off-again lover, Torin Zealton, her partner in crime, is both the coroner and highly psychic. Getting into her mind uninvited as a matter of habit has all but destroyed their relationship. But getting into Clyde’s mind might just save the world. Of course, how does one come up against a time bandit, exactly, particularly one with a cybernetic sidekick that belongs if not to another era, then certainly another decade or so into the Age of Abundance, when minds are closer to Singularity, and evolve at speeds beyond human comprehension?
The four timelines explored, in which Kendra and Torin chase down Clyde Barker and his cybernetic creation, give us four different takes on a near-future Age of Abundance, each more glorious and fantastic than the last. Seeing the romance between the wisecracking protagonist paramours evolve across four different timelines, moreover, replete with its ups and downs, lends the love they share an epic, eternal quality. One that might survive Clyde Barker, even if nothing else does.
NOTE: THE NOVELS IN THE AGE OF ABUNDANCE SERIES ARE STAND-ALONE BOOKS THAT CAN BE READ IN ANY ORDER.
The God Gene (Age of Abundance, #2)
It’s an Age of Abundance. No longer do humans want for having their basic needs met. Arguably, they live better than kings of old. But despite this, it’s the intelligence explosion that’s stealing the limelight. Technological innovations coming so rapidly that they create a backlash.
At one end of the spectrum are people like Gecko, who can’t get enough of self-transcendence, who are lost to the eternal need for “becoming” more than they are. At the other end of the spectrum are people like Nova, who are more interested in “being” and enjoying all that they are in the here and now. And refuse to keep their eye to the future. In the middle are people like Corona. Her aim is to strike a balance between both extremes, those who can’t wait to get over themselves with breaking technologies, and those who have no desire to.
The three philosophical viewpoints cease to make for simple idle coffee house conversation when the three fall into a relationship. The late-year teens, on the cusp of adulthood, find their coming of age story and their ménage-a-trois swallowed up in a coming of age story for the entire planet. Will they find what they need in one another to live through it? And does the future have more in store for them than simply surfing the wave of explosive innovation without taking a header off the board? The first clue to answering those questions comes when the planetary UberMind tries to kill them.
Convergence: Time Weavers (Age of Abundance, #3)
Come 2025, the Age of Abundance is well underway, earlier than anyone ever imagined possible. All basic human need has been eliminated. The poorest people on earth live like kings of old thanks to a universal basic income stipend taken from ten percent of earnings off of all technological breakthroughs that is shared with all of humanity equally. Such is the force of the intelligence explosion thanks to human upgrades, by way of mindchips and first generation nano nets, that the UBI stipend augments by leaps and bounds annually. 3D printers that can now print human replacement body parts, nootropics, and most anything we’d care to surround ourselves with have made their ways into most homes. But it’s no utopia. Far from it.
For it is also an era of convergence, where numerous technologies come together to form synergies no one can predict or control. Those who are adept at weaving these technological threads together are known as the Convergence Tech Wizards or CTWs. The power of their minds has been likened to that of black holes due to their ability to warp space and time, to yank inventions out of the far future that shouldn’t exist for a hundred or more years and pull them into the here and now. To others they are simply known as Time Weavers. They sabotage any notion of past, present, of future. No one can talk any longer of the pace of innovation simply accelerating. That would suggest progress in a stepwise fashion, even as the steps get smaller and closer together. What the Convergence Tech Wizards do is far scarier.
“The Time Weavers” opens with our chief detectives, Monica and Ethan. Monica is a Convergence Tech Wizard wannabe, but so far she hasn’t been able to pull off the necessary power of mind. Instead, she hunts them for a living; the ones that can’t be reined in, she kills. Her sidekick, Ethan, is of the minority of mortals still running around without any human upgrades at all. If he’s afraid of what Monica can do, he’s really afraid of what CTWs can do. So it doesn’t take much to convince him to go on her unholy mission. As time wears on they come to question their mission and their motivations for being on it. Who is the real danger, the ominous, mysterious forces pulling their strings, or the CTWs? Is it time to consider changing sides? If so, as things heat up between the rebel CTWs and corporate interests, who will win the war? And will anyone be left on the planet forever unchanged in the wake of their confrontation?