Disgraced government operative Colonel Chu is exiled to the flooded relic of New York City. Something called the Light has hit the streets like an epidemic, leavings its users strung out and disconnected from the mind-network humanity relies on. Chu has lost everything she cares about to the Light. She’ll end the threat or die trying.
A former corporate pilot who controlled a thousand ships with her mind, Zola looks like just another Light-junkie living hand to mouth on the edge of society. She’s special though. As much as she needs the Light, the Light needs her too. But, Chu is getting close and Zola can’t hide forever.
The Burning Light is a thrilling and all-too believable science fiction novella from Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler, the authors of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai and Seed.
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Beaulieu and Ziegler take a brief but intense look at a future clash between government forces and the latest addiction. Two centuries in the future, the addictive threat isn't a simple chemical substance but a "spontaneous sentient entity" called the Burning Light, a "pattern emergent in the primordial human noise" that seeks its own continuance by subsuming humanity. Col. Melody Chu lost her entire family to the Burning Light; her sister is bound to it, and the rest are dead. Zola first felt the touch of the Light in her collective community but was forced to flee an assault by government troops when the Light threatened to overwhelm the entire collective. Now Zola leads a life on the run in drowned New York, pursued by Chu's squad and hired thugs as the call of the Light grows ever stronger. The authors imbue this novella with the emotional heft of something much grander through sharp characterizations, detailed worldbuilding, vibrant descriptions, and thunderous action pieces.