Busted Synapses (paperback)
The world of tomorrow holds wonders unlike anything humanity has ever seen! But only for those lucky few.
Alicia, a runaway New Woman, comes to small-town Wheeling, West Virginia, and gets entangled with Jess and Dale, throwing their lives of pointless work and drug-fueled virtual reality into chaos. Meanwhile, truths are uncovered of the nation’s rewritten history—truths powerful corporations would rather leave hidden.
Rural cyberpunk of frustrated ambitions mixed with life-altering changes and cyber-mystery!
After a freak superstorm wipes out the entire East Coast of the US, society crumbles in an economic depression known as the Break. Humans have been priced out, driven from the remaining cities. And their replacements—the artificial New People—are smarter and stronger, heralding the future of humanity.
Jess Nowicki, recent college grad, has returned to her native West Virginia. She's here to lick her wounds and establish a foothold in the recently domed Pittsburgh. That's a lot harder than it should be though.
Alicia—a New Woman—gets a job at Jess's make-work call center, and Jess can muster nothing but hate for the "robot." Her friend Dale, though, is intrigued and brings Alicia into his gaming league, which uses a quasi-legal drug to tap into a simulated playground for the rich. But within her mind, he finds something bigger than a mere payday.
And what's with that traveling, low-tech band of storytellers, the Network? Or the music of Johnny Electric, mysterious folk musician whose music opens new worlds . . . literally? It’s a strange day ahead.
“Johnny Mnemonic goes Millennial. Cyberpunk is not dead, and Erica Satifka is its queen.” (Silvia Moreno Garcia, award-winning editor of She Walks in Shadows)
“Busted Synapses is the cyberpunk cry of Generation Screwed—a shrewd look at transhumanism through the lens of insurmountable debt and a thoroughly dehumanized workforce. A stunning novella from a unique voice in the literary class war.
“Satifka is a working-class writer for our incomprehensible times, turning out endless truths in fiction and speaking for a generation lost in debt and dead-end jobs. This novella cuts through the cyberpunk future we were promised like a high-interest credit card lining up ketamine dropped off by a drone. Do lines of this book and dream of your own electric sheep.
“A book for the people whose lives are all online and whose friends are always on the brink of unlivable lives. Busted Synapses is the kind of painfully true that only great science fiction can be: it reads the future in video cards and credit cards and shows us fear in a fistful of medical bills. A grim and bitter triumph.” (Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife)
“What constitutes a human life? Erika Satifka asks that monster of a question in Busted Synapses, and the answers offered aren’t for the faint. With poignant sensitivity and science-fictional rigor, Satifka proves herself an uncanny chronicler of the human—and inhuman—condition.” (Jason Heller, author of Strange Stars)
FROM THE AUTHOR
"I want to explore life as it might be in the near future due to climate change, automation, and growing income inequality,” says Erica. “I grew up in the vicinity of the characters, a place that now, and in the world of the story, is considered expendable. Aside from possibly Jess, these are people who the hand of progress would have passed by anyway. However, due to technological acceleration, the category of who is expendable is growing. Video gaming and drug use are both disease and cure to this general malaise.
“I also have an appreciation for outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston, who is the basis for the character of Johnny Electric. He really winds up being integral to this whole thing."
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