Maya has died and been resurrected into countless cyborg bodies through the years of a long, dangerous career with the infamous Dirty Dozen, the most storied crew of criminals in the galaxy, at least before their untimely and gruesome demise. Decades later, she and her diverse team of broken, diminished outlaws must get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade . . . but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet Dimmuborgir.
The highly evolved AI of the galaxy have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to keep humanity from ever regaining control. As Maya and her comrades spiral closer to uncovering the AIs’ vast conspiracy, this band of violent women—half-clone and half-machine—must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all.
Welcome to The All-Consuming World, the debut novel of acclaimed writer Cassandra Khaw. With this explosive and introspective exploration of humans and machines, life and death, Khaw takes their rightful place next to such science fiction luminaries as Ann Leckie, Ursula Le Guin, and Kameron Hurley.
Khaw (The Last Supper Before Ragnarok) delivers a gore-drenched, sci-fi take on Ocean's Eleven set in a Gibsonesque cyberverse. Puppet master Rita rounds up her infinitely reanimated clone/cyborg minions for one last caper: a hit on the planet Dimmuborgir, "a chunk of rock" shrouded in rumors that make it the obsession of wetware and circuitry entities alike. Rita's crew call themselves the Dirty Dozen, though at the outset it's just Rita and right-hand Maya, coaxing former colleague Ayane to listen to their pitch with a combination of four-letter epithets and a crushed larynx. Their opponents are the Minds, assorted AIs of nautilus-chambered complexity targeting Dimmuborgir for their own purpose though what this may be is slow to coalesce. This isn't a precision-built world: limits and definitions don't meaningfully exist, and connections are often fragmentary. Khaw employs densely poetic prose to capture betrayal, rage, injury, and death, but is less invested in conjuring an image of the future, with abundant anachronisms and inconsistencies. For readers who don't mind the fast-and-loose worldbuilding and who can stomach a fair amount of body horror the fury and lyricism make for an adventure that doubles as a cathartic scream.)\n