The odds of surviving quantum teleportation to the Exodus Universe are, more or less, fifty/fifty. The only ones crazy enough to try it are the desperate, the insane and those sentenced to death for their crimes. Belladonna is home to the survivors and, in a planet run by criminals and desperados, death is commonplace. But a particularly horrific (and improbable) killing attracts the Galactic Police force, and a cyborg cop is sent to investigate.
Version 43 has been here before, and has old scores to settle. The cop was human once, but is now more programme than man. And he intends to clean up this planet, permanently, whatever the cost.
Set in Bompasso City, also known as Lawless City, on the planet Belladonna, cyborg narrator The Cop Version 43 is sent by the government of the Solar Neighbourhood to investigate a mass murder. Like many of the Exodus Universe planets, Belladonna was colonized by convicts, the insane, and the desperate; so a corrupt mayor and gang leaders who specialize in assassinations, prostitutes, and black-market organs are de rigueur. Version 43 deals swift (if faulty) justice, and is promptly blown up. Good thing Version 44 (same narrator, different version) is standing by! Meanwhile in deep space, the hive-minded Sand-Rats who live in six dimensions (three in space and three in time) have decided to declare interstellar war on humanity or at least the original rat mind has. The five other species minds in the hive have literally been consumed by The First, depicted in the novel through a series of hilarious flow-charts graphic illustrations. As the various criminal elements burn through one Galactic Cop Version after another and the Hive Rats draw ever nearer, who will save humanity? British TV scribe Palmer's (Red Claw) Sci-Fi epic reads like Rudy Rucker collaborating with Olaf Stapledon on an Ed McBain novel with sweeping galactic history, silly (yet nearly believable) science, pitched battles, plenty of sardonic humor, and a serial investigation by a lonely cyborg.