With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.
But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?
And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?
As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.
God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.
--Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Game designer Dagmar Shaw is skilled at creating vast online entertainments with millions of players. But Dagmar is haunted by her past, and by memories of a burning city, and of the friends who died as a bloody vengeance plot played to its conclusion around her.
Dagmar is an expert at manipulating the online players known as the Group Mind. But when an acquaintance appears with the plan to manipulate an entire Middle Eastern country, to stage a revolution and make the people think it was all their own idea, Dagmar is both appalled and intrigued.
Can she crash the Deep State? And can she do it without creating another bloodbath?
This is no longer a game. The bullets, the tanks, and the spies are real, and so is the danger as Dagmar plunges into the task of gaming an entire state.
When it first appeared, Deep State gained a modest amount of infamy as the novel that predicted the Arab Spring, and appeared the very week the Egyptians occupied Tahrir Square.
“And since this is an intrigue thriller, there are undercurrents and deceptions and hidden agendas and secret loyalties and unexpected betrayals, deeper states of operation and deeper games being played for higher (or lower) stakes. Dagmar faces not only the normal perils of an elaborate and delicate con, but those of the deep state of international politics, where you don’t know who has been bought or intimidated, who might be a plant, who has a history that will blow up at the worst possible moment.” --Russel Letson, Locus
“Williams has crafted a slick, intelligent techno-thriller that never allows the melodramatic storyline to swamp the cast of sympathetic characters.” --Eric Brown, the Guardian
“Both prescient and utterly of the moment, featuring an ingeniously concocted and elaborated plot and a compelling cast of characters, Deep State is a success on every level . . . if ever one of Williams’ books had crossover potential . . . this is it.
” . . . The biggest plot coupon of all . . . is really the card on which the whole hand turns, and Williams does not blow the trick. On the contrary, he weaves this bit of scientific or pseudo-scientific legerdemain very deftly into the warp and weft of his plot, giving the novel that satisfies both logically and emotionally. Like his doughty heroine, Williams is absolutely at the top of his game here.” ---Paul Witcover, Locus
It's the eve of the twenty-second century: a world where the dearly departed send postcards back from Heaven and evangelicals make scientific breakthroughs by speaking in tongues; where genetically engineered vampires solve problems intractable to baseline humans and soldiers come with zombie switches that shut off self-awareness during combat. And it's all under surveillance by an alien presence that refuses to show itself.
Daniel Bruks is a living fossil: a field biologist in a world where biology has turned computational, a cat's-paw used by terrorists to kill thousands. Taking refuge in the Oregon desert, he's turned his back on a humanity that shatters into strange new subspecies with every heartbeat. But he awakens one night to find himself at the center of a storm that will turn all of history inside-out.
Now he's trapped on a ship bound for the center of the solar system. To his left is a grief-stricken soldier, obsessed by whispered messages from a dead son. To his right is a pilot who hasn't yet found the man she's sworn to kill on sight. A vampire and its entourage of zombie bodyguards lurk in the shadows behind. And dead ahead, a handful of rapture-stricken monks takes them all to a meeting with something they will only call "The Angels of the Asteroids."
Their pilgrimage brings Dan Bruks, the fossil man, face-to-face with the biggest evolutionary breakpoint since the origin of thought itself.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.