THE COIN GIVER [previously titled NEUROLINK] Now available as an eBook! (Multi-Format)
eBook Description: In the 23rd century, the Earth's surface is devastated by global warming, and corporations exploit billions of poverty-stricken employees whose lifetime contracts they own. Richter Jedes, the rich powerful CEO of ZahlenBank, wants to live forever — so he makes two copies of himself. One is an evolved Artificial Intelligence imprinted with his personality. The other is a perfect clone named Dominic, whom he raises as his son. When Richter suddenly dies, his son Dominic is left to deal with a terrible crisis which threatens ZahlenBank. And though Dominic loathes the egotistical A.I. masquerading as his father, they need each other's help to save the bank. Which of them is the true copy, and which is fake? Do they have free will, or are their destinies programmed in their source code? And, most important of all, does individual identity still have any meaning? This book was originally published under the title Neurolink. Get the ebook
In the 23rd century, the Earth’s surface is devastated by global warming, and corporations exploit billions of poverty-stricken employees whose lifetime contracts they own…
Richter Jedes, the rich powerful CEO of ZahlenBank, wants to live forever – so he makes two copies of himself. One is an evolved Artificial Intelligence imprinted with his personality. The other is a perfect clone named Dominic, whom he raises as his son.
When Richter suddenly dies, his son Dominic is left to deal with a terrible crisis which threatens ZahlenBank. And though Dominic loathes the egotistical A.I. masquerading as his father, they need each other’s help to save the bank.
Which of them is the true copy, and which is fake? Do they have free will, or are their destinies programmed in their source code? Does individual identity still have any meaning?
ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS ABOVE...
Is Neurolink a new kind of bank account for storing a person’s mind?…
“Scientists are fools, boys. They keep trying to upload the human mind to a computer. Any idiot knows you can’t translate brain matter into binary code. My way is easier and cheaper – and more profitable for the bank. We just record a person’s life in real time. Document the memories as they happen, instead of trying to slice-and-dice neurons later. Hell, why not? ZahlenBank’s cameras cover every square centimeter of this hemisphere. Video, audio, email, financial and medical history, employment records, every freakin’ iota. Think of the fee we could charge!
“Boys, we’re talking a complete digital record of perfect memories, better than real ones because time won’t distort ‘em. And we’ll have designer packaging. Every customer gets their own portable safe deposit box in brushed platinum, branded with the ZahlenBank logo. When a customer dies, we transfer their deposit into a blank AI program. And voila! A high-resolution copy of the customer’s mind rises from the dead.”
– Richter Jedes in Neurolink
Is Neurolink a nano-size quantronic computer implanted in the optic nerve?…
“Don’t speak aloud, son. They may be listening. I’m in your optic nerve.”
Dominic froze. Was that his father speaking?
The voice in his eye erupted as raw color. It snickered loud enough to vibrate his teeth. “Self-assembling nanoquans. I hid the little mites in your eyelashes. Even the damned Orgs couldn’t detect that!”
Dominic almost lost his grip on the floor. Nanoquans? He knew that term. Nanoquans were microscopic computer elements, part code, part artificial life-form, smart enough to replicate and link together as a quantum computer a hundred molecules in size. But – in his eye?
“Don’t worry, son. You may see a few lights, nothing catastrophic. I had to sink a tap in your optic nerve for power.”
Dominic shook his head hard to clear the sound away. As the walls spun in slow circles, he covered his swollen eye and fought for composure.
“Move your hand. I want a view,” said the voice in his eye.
“You can see?”
“I scan and record everything you look at,” the voice answered. “Son, I’m a thousand cubic nanometers of pure stand-alone intelligence, and my resident memory holds all the pertinent files you need. I’ll be with you every minute, just like I promised. Think of me as your internal guidance system.”
— an excerpt from Neurolink
Is Neurolink a work of pure science fiction?…
Neurolink, the novel, explores the meaning of individual identity.
On Earth in the 23rd century, executive Dominic Jedes has good looks, wealth and the future promise of his father’s place as president of ZahlenBank, the only institution more powerful than the Coms. But to please his dying father, Dominic endangers his inheritance with one fatal mistake.
He directs ZahlenBank to “free” two thousand protes, trapping them on a malfunctioning submarine. The protes are supposed to die, alleviating the bank of a costly repossessed asset. But they survive, and thrive, and other protes join their nascent rebellion – jeopardizing the fragile economic order.
To set things right, Dominic must travel to the bottom of the ocean, face the people he left to die, and persuade them to surrender. The only help he has is a digital copy of his dead father, connected to him through a neural link in his optic nerve. But when Dominic starts to question whose side he’s really on, that link might prove to be his greatest enemy…
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REVIEWS & NEWS
"Dante's Inferno goes cyberpunk in Buckner's toxic
future tale of working-class bravado. A-."
— Entertainment Weekly
Read Full Review
"Neurolink goes beyond cyberpunk's usual fatalistic
sensibilities - Dominic's quest offers hope against seemingly impossible
technological odds...It's hard to get a better bang-for-the-buck."
Read Full Review
“Buckner has written an extremely interesting and thoughtful book.
Keep your eyes open for other works by Buckner, you will not be disappointed.”
— Barry Hunter, Baryon
“Clever plot-twists and a better-than-usual sense of character…
Its future is despicably believable, the action scenes maturely rendered,
and its central dilemma intelligently resolved. Buckner is a skilled storyteller.”
— Mac Tonnies
“[The main character is] a basically likable guy who's a product
of his society and upbringing. He has believably human reactions to the
individuals he meets, for both good and ill, and alters his assumptions
about how the world really works only with a plausible amount of resistance
and mental pain. All in all, this is an enjoyable light read.”
— Elizabeth Carey, NESFA
“This is an entertaining novel with a fast-moving plot. Banker
Dominic Jedes must deal with the computer-generated replica of his domineering
dead father— just at the moment that he must go quell a worker rebellion
in a submarine. The characters are well-drawn— and boy, do they have relationship
and boundary issues! The conflict with the workers turns out to be much
more complex than the financial data that Dominic is accustomed to handling
at his office. Very enjoyable. I couldn't put it down, and then I hated
for it to end!”
— Mary Helen Clarke
“Neurolink is an intriguing vision into the future, when cloning
and artificial intelligence will be commonplace. Characters become real
as this fast-paced story grabs the reader and takes him on a great adventure.
Dominic Jedes is conflicted and stressed and his love-hate relationship
with his father rings true. The fiery Major Qi, a real punk chic, is as
cunning and strong as she is beautiful. The underwater scenes are vividly
described and the action dramatic. Neurolink will establish Buckner as
one of our best science fiction writers. This story is an intricate and
intriguing weave of science and survival. I strongly recommend this book
to anyone who enjoys a good story.”
“Neurolink is the best kind of science fiction: thoughtful, entertaining,
smart, funny... familiar and strange at the same time. Interesting ideas
are developed, expanded, and presented as a fascinating, well-written
— Jan Keeling