DERVISH IS DIGITAL by Pat Cadigan
TOR, July 2001
Police Lieutenant Dore Konstantin is responsible for tracking criminals through the nebulous worlds of artificial reality. Confronted by a woman who accuses an ex-lover of stalking her throughout artificial reality, Konstantin isn't much surprised. When the woman claims that the ex-lover, Dervish, has actually abandoned his flesh and blood body and become a digital being, Konstantin knows that she must investigate more deeply.
Clearly it is impossible that a human could give up his humanity and become an artificial intelligence, yet Dervish has more power in the worlds of artificial reality than any mere human should be able to gain. If Dervish isn't digital, then someone has uncovered a way to commit crimes on the web that may be beyond any police force's ability to control.
Author Pat Cadigan has created a wonderful premise. Certainly in a world where on-line and off-line reality begin to blur, and where 'no one knows you're a dog,' the humanity of our correspondents becomes increasingly questionable. Perhaps emulating the complexity and interwoven nature of the web, Cadigan entwines Konstantin in a confusing and reality-shifting world--although often with the unfortunate result of confusing the reader as well.
Fans of cyberpunk fiction will enjoy Cadigan's dystopic, yet somehow hopeful views of the future. Fans of more character-based fiction will wish that we had gotten more into Konstantin's human mind, even if this meant a little less time wandering around cyber-casinos.
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