Singularity Syndrome (Pandamoon Publishing)
by Susan Kuchinskas
I was pleasantly surprised by The Singularity Syndrome. I guess you could call it “hacker noir,” and by hacker I mean both biological as well as computer hacking. It involves biological chimeras in a dystopian future, where a guy whose name is Finder specializes in in-person investigations rather than computerized investigations. One of his household is an orangutan/human chimera whom he rescued, and she is nearly human–in some ways more than human. Finder’s other housemate is a dog/parrot chimera he made, which is more of a pet and is a licensed comfort animal so he can bring him along on investigations.
Finder is incredibly introverted, but his love of solving mysteries outweighs his inability to be around other people for very long. It adds a nice layer of tension and time-pressure to his quirky investigations, and I love that he’s not neurotypical and he’s the hero, or at least tries to be one. Well, he tries to do the best he can, anyhow, and that’s all any of us can do.
The mystery hinges on a case brought to him by a woman who is married to a Silicon Valley magnate and has a 35% share her husband’s company, where he has a super majority. His behavior has changed, in very strange ways, including a “glitch” where he seems to be taken over by something else. Also, he dances. Strangely.
As Finder is drawn further and further into the case he unveils another, intertwined plot against humanity. But what can he do about them? Plenty, mainly due to his buddy The Librarian (a sentient AI supercomputer who’s “having a baby” with another AI), and a community of brilliant, rescued human-animal chimeras who have their own community (I love the woman who is part jellyfish who glows instead of blushes).
It’s quite a romp, and I enjoyed The Singularity Syndrome immensely. Give it a try if you like quirky-yet-dystopian mysteries.