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Descripción de editorial
“[An] insightful, unsettling look at how technology impacts our lives. . .Kavenna has skillfully made our present feel like dystopian fiction.” USA TODAY
From the winner of the Orange Award for New Writing comes a blistering, satirical novel about life under a global media and tech corporation that knows exactly what we think, what we want, and what we do—before we do.
One corporation has made a perfect world based on a perfect algorithm . . . now what to do with all these messy people?
Lionel Bigman is dead. Murdered by a robot. Guy Matthias, the philandering founder and CEO of the mega-corporation Beetle, insists it was human error. But was it? Either the predictive algorithms of Beetle's supposedly omniscient 'lifechain' don't work, or, they've been hacked. Both scenarios are impossible to imagine and signal the end of Beetle's technotopia and life as we know it.
Dazzlingly original and darkly comic, Zed asks profound questions about who we are, what we owe to one another, and what makes us human. It describes our moment—the ugliness and the beauty—perfectly. Kavenna is a prophet who has seen deeply into the present—and thrown back her head and laughed.
In this tangled, riveting parable of the modern surveillance state, Kavenna leads readers through an eerie near-future England dominated by the Beetle corporation, whose increasingly invasive technology monitors everything: people's health, transportation, and even the contents of one's refrigerator. Beetle claims the BeetleInsight AI can predict all potential futures, but its engineers struggle to foresee events in Category Zed, which are influenced by unpredictable human irrationality. The story is told through multiple, interweaving points of view, including those of Beetle's CEO, a high-ranking Beetle engineer, an anti-terrorism government employee, a grieving newspaper editor, and a mysterious person who lives on the fringe of society with others unwilling to adopt Beetle technology. When George Mann murders his entire family, Beetle sends a droid to apprehend him, but the droid mistakenly kills Lionel Bigman instead, triggering a cascade of BeetleInsight errors. Beetle's engineers must grapple with the flaws in their technology, while people skeptical of Beetle begin to wonder whether they too are in danger. Kavenna delivers this gripping narrative with wit and dark humor, leaving readers both entertained and a little paranoid.