In a bitterly divided nation where security trumps civil liberty, unemployed David is on the verge of sinking into the ‘Zeroes’ – a destitute underclass numbering millions. But then JobNet's advanced virtual reality world offers him a gateway to a worthwhile future, and a chance to rejoin society.
But David is an unwitting pawn in a deadly conspiracy to topple the Government: he's the ideal carrier for an intelligent virus designed to shatter the system and set the Zeroes free.
When the virus activates, chaos ensues and the Zeroes rise. David is left trapped inside a corrupted reality. If it doesn't shatter his sanity, the secret he finds there will change everything...
Sometimes even a pawn can hold the balance of power.
“Humanity built its
monolithic spires of hopes and dreams and tried to believe that the whole
sordid mess actually meant something.”
Terapolis is an urban sprawl of global proportions. The vast
city state has smothered whole nations, liberated humanity from the tides of
history; the place is ripe with secrets...
Here, billions of people live only to give themselves to The
Gestalt. An esoteric technology, said to unlock the secrets of creation, it
offers humanity the chance to realise its most-cherished and forbidden desires.
For Silas Morlock, enigmatic Master of MorTek, The Gestalt
is his greatest achievement, but little time remains to fulfil his purpose and
save Mankind from itself; death gathers, an ancient struggle between good and
evil nears its peak.
On the other side, the Incunabula;
bibliophiles who refuse to stop peddling the items most poisonous to the hold
The Gestalt has on human minds.
And then there’s Adam, the misfit dreamer pulled into a
conflict beyond his understanding. His own desire will take him on a terrifying
journey into the heart of darkness.
Poor Adam, he will learn the secrets of Terapolis; if they
don’t shatter his mind, he’ll become the unlikely saviour for good... or ill.
It’s a struggle played out in the shadows, where the lines
are blurred, and nothing is quite as it seems. For the lost souls embroiled,
the stakes are the very highest.
But secrets are for keeping, in the dark places...
In this issue:
In Hope Endures Where Life Persists, a decades-long feud between mages erupts into the 1906 San Francisco Fire.
In The Raven’s Shadow, a woman seeking to help her new husband and his people - and gain power for herself - enters into a binding agreement with the vengeful Celtic deity, Cathubodua
In Ash Shades, two women survive the destruction of their landing site by taking shelter in their ship. They emerge to find a local sentient species salvaging burned seeds and must navigate communication barriers to learn what happened to the rest of their crew.
In New Game+, a serial killer sentenced to Hell finds himself recruited by the devil to work in the new field of video games.
Fourteen long form fiction included in this issue.