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Aleph is a machine mentality overseeing a future Earth largely bereft of humans, most of whom have sublimed into a virtuality.Remaining are the smug but cautious adherents of science. Amanda, still a teen at age 30, is a skilled violinist and mathematician but craves the applause of the Mall for some daring exploit.
In a nearby enclave live the rustic, non-scientific people who worship the god of their choice. In the center of their poly-religious valley a wicked tower has emerged, surely a tool of evil temptation. Far below, a supersonic railroad is being constructed. Amanda conceives a dangerous feat: to enter the valley and descend to the rushing train, hitching a mad ride to the next city.
Using a cyber "Liar bee," she buzzes the ear of young Matthewmark, who chafes under the restrictions of his own narrow society. He agrees to aid Amanda and her friend Vikram Singh, but the scheme goes horribly wrong. Vik dies; Matthewmark's brain is seriously damaged, although he recovers with advanced neurological prostheses. This treatment, condemned by his own people, allows him contact with the AI Aleph.
In a series of startling moves, Amanda graduates to adulthood (and her modish clipped speech patterns give way to this new sophistication), while Matthewmark explores uncanny and sometimes very funny opportunities in the Alephverse, climaxing in the dismantling of the solar system and its embrace by the hyperuniverse beyond ours. This is the Singularity, at last, the Transcension, and everyone lives happily ever after, for rather mindboggling values of "lives" and "happily."
Damien Broderick is Australia's dean of science fiction, with a body of extraordinary work reaching back to the early 1960's. Like the late George Turner, he captures the distinctive flavor of his native country while reaching out to American and European readers. The White Abacus won two year's best awards. His stories and novels, like those of his younger peer Greg Egan, are drenched with bleeding-edge ideas. Distinctively, he blends ideas and poetry like nobody since Roger Zelazny, and a wild silly humor is always ready to bubble out, as in the cosmic comedy Striped Holes. His award-winning novel The Dreaming Dragons is featured in David Pringle's SF: The 100 Best Novels, and was chosen as year's best by Kingsley Amis. It has been revised and updated as The Dreaming. This new version appears for the first time at Fictionwise.com. In 1982, his early cyberpunk novel The Judas Mandala coined the term 'virtual reality.' His most recent novels are Godplayers and K-Machines.
With David G. Hartwell, he edited Centaurus: The Best of Australian SF for Tor in 1999.
Like one of his heroes, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, he is also a master of writing about radical new technologies, and The Spike and The Last Mortal Generation have been Australian popular-science best sellers--both books strongly recommended in Clarke's millennial revision of his famous Profiles of the Future.
Schrodinger's Dog was chosen for Gardner Dozois's SF: Year's Best 14.