Short works

Books : reviews

Steven Piziks.
In the Company of Mind.
Baen. 1998

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 23 October 2003

Lance Michaels may be the son of one of the richest men on the planet, but his father is a sadistic monster who is determined to have a perfect son, even if he has to resort to body-sculpting operations and horrific tortures to achieve it. Lance manages to escape, at first mentally, by splitting off a host of other personalities to cope, and eventually physically, but his father still keeps after him. The showdown comes when Lance is hired to pacify a hostile nanotech hive, but discovers it is a trap.

The abuse scenes are very unpleasant, but necessary to explain the Multiple Personality Disorder that drives the plot. The nanotech and other high-tech world-building is great fun, as Lance battles internal and external foes, and the pace is quite frenetic, with an interweaving of THEN and NOW plot threads. Good enough to make me want to read the sequel.

Steven Piziks.
Corporate Mentality.
Baen. 1999

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 25 October 2003

It's a couple of decades after the events of In the Company of Mind. A reintegrated Lance is living on a backwater planet with his twin children, who have inherited his nanotech abilities. Lance gets called to stop another nanotech hive on a colony planet, but what he doesn't know is this hive is connected to a human intelligence maddened by years of parental abuse [hmm, there seems to be a trend here]. He is captured, and it is up to his twins to rescue him.

Even more fun nanotech than before, with planetwide nano-wars erupting, and interesting discussions on personality and embodiment. The pace is just as frenetic as before, and has an ending that went off in a direction I wasn't expecting. Good fun, in a high-body count sort of way, and lots of ammunition for the anti-nanotech brigade. Some of the outcomes seen here make grey goo look like the pleasant option.