Bad Gurus: Fiction from a Near Future

Jay O'Connell
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Con Men. Ex-lovers. Time-line Wizards. Cyborgs. Zen Master Private Detectives. Dead-Enders. Wunderkind, and Fools.

"Jay O'Connell has something to say and he says it with passion and fire."

--Warren Lapine

Prepare yourself for the happy ending that tears your guts out.

Costas had a terrible secret. His work helping the Old Man on the first floor had turned into something both wonderful and horrific. The Old Man was insane and now Costas hoped he was, too. Otherwise, the fate of the Earth lay in his hands…

Mostly, Garrison wanted to be living another life. One in which he was happily married, meaningfully employed... and thinner. Much, much thinner. A late night infomercial turned his dream into a reality, and then, a nightmare...

Morgan hated the term 'con man.' He thought himself more of a... rogue psychotherapist. He helped clients make the most important decisions of their lives, and wasn't the least bothered if they wound up dead. There were far worse things than dying. Morgan knew this from personal experience.

Helen had been the girlfriend from hell—beautiful, irresponsible, irresistible and imperious. Now she was standing on Evan's doorstep with a child—ostensibly his. Helen was fleeing a cult on route to Oceania, the Libertarian Free State... and did Evan want to come along for the ride?

Stanley, the last human employee at the Lower South Bronx TeachNet facility, was a glorified security guard and janitor tending the automated learning systems. He knew that Joel, the poverty-stricken kid acing his corporate qualifying exams at terminal 1050 would be worth a hundred of him—if he survived the recruiting process...

Chris hired Peebles, the pot-bellied, hairy private detective and zen master as a dating coach. "Insight is painful," Peebles told him, and so Chris endured his abuse, only to discover that getting everything he'd ever wanted came at an unforeseen cost…

These stories are filled with people you know living fifteen minutes in the future. Hero and Antihero, losers and the lost, dreamers and fools and people stuck in ruts, in for a rude awakening. People that want things. People that need things. People on the brink.

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About the author

Jay O’Connell re-emerged on the short genre fiction scene in 2013 with a sudden outpouring of short stories and novellas in the SF pro press which transmuted his mis-spent years in east-coast tech-bubble start-up culture into something weird and wonderful. This is his story, one of those mid-life transformations that gives hope the future might grant an unlikely redemption, if only we keep our head in the game.

You can join his mailing list at:

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Additional Information

Jay O'Connell
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Published on
Aug 16, 2017
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Fiction / Science Fiction / Collections & Anthologies
Fiction / Science Fiction / Cyberpunk
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi.

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what's now known as "Haden's syndrome," rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" - someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

But "complicated" doesn't begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery - and the real crime - is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with the change comes opportunities that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation that began as a murder case takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture. It's nothing you could have expected.

Old Man's War Series
#1 Old Man’s War
#2 The Ghost Brigades
#3 The Last Colony
#4 Zoe’s Tale
#5 The Human Division
#6 The End of All Things
Short fiction: “After the Coup”

Other Tor Books
The Android’s Dream
Agent to the Stars
Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded
Fuzzy Nation
Lock In
The Collapsing Empire (forthcoming)

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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