Shatter the line between fiction and fantasy...
The life of an award-winning novelist probably bears more resemblance to "normal" than most fans would want to believe. But every once in awhile, strange things are bound to erupt around those most equipped to document them... so imagine what renowned science fiction writer John Barnes might do when he finds himself in one of the wildest, most rollicking hard-SF adventures to hit print in years.
Barnes' college friend Travis Bismark always brought back plenty of great stories from his job as an industrial spy. This time, over a few beer- and coffee-fueled chat sessions, Travis unravels a tale about his current case too tall for even an SF author to believe: a Gaudeamus machine that bends physics in order to make possible both teleportation and time travel, and how it gets stolen--twice; a grad student-cum-prostitute who deals in telepathy-inducing drugs that let her "download" top-secret documents from her client's brains, a romp through Colorado and New Mexico during which each episode and character is more bizarre than the last; and the internet meme that seems to tie it all together.
Barnes' playful commentary on Travis' story and his own life as a SF writer and drama teacher, interspersed with their everyday interactions with a group of funny, compelling friends, is related in a surprising and non-traditional narrative that blurs the line between fact, fiction, and metafiction.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Barnes (The Sky So Big and Black) has created a gonzo piece of metafiction that cleverly blurs the line between reality and fantasy. Private detective Travis Bismark turns up on the doorstep of his old friend, the science fiction writer John Barnes, spouting a bizarre story about prostitutes with degrees in physics, pills that facilitate telepathy and great sex, and a mysterious technology called Gaudeamus that people are willing to kill for. Oddly enough, Barnes himself is already addicted to a complex, hypertextual Web cartoon, also called Gaudeamus, that seems to contain a number of references to Bismark's adventures. The detective disappears soon thereafter when Barnes's pickup is attacked by a cybernetically enhanced elk, but shows up repeatedly over the next year with increasingly wild tales of industrial espionage, alien entrepreneurs and Native Americans who dress in clown suits and travel in flying saucers. What's most fascinating about the novel is the way in which Barnes entangles real autobiographical material, including appearances by his wife, fantasy writer Kara Dalkey, with an increasingly outlandish and highly improbable plot. Also interesting is that Barnes makes little attempt to portray himself sympathetically and is very open about his dislike for hardcore SF fans. This fascinating book is quite unlike anything else on the market today, but it's hard to know how the author's regular readers will react.