This book picks up a month after Escapology, and forms a whole with it. Virology is a cyberpunk novel in which your avators turn out to be created from essential parts of your identity, so when someone locks them all up in the Slip, a VR internet, you feel amputated. The protagonist has a biological piece of software taking over its implanted harddrive and then his brain and body, while chasing down the antagonists with his gang. All ends well, just knee deep in gore. There’s something in Warom’s writing, an edginess and friction that keeps me reading.

So I bought her other published work and read that too.
Ren Warom hasn’t maintained her own online presence, other than Twitter, after 2018 it seems, and her Instagram account since the spring of 2019 (though I did take a few reading tips from the book images she posted there before).

Space exploration of exoplanets with life. Not with space navies and guns blazing, but crowdsourced and ethical by design. To Be Taught, If Fortunate is a fun novella. Very different from the previous work by Becky Chambers that I read, the also very enjoyable Wayfarers series (The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, A Closed and Common Orbit, Record of a Spaceborn Few)

The past days were by accident probably the best setting to read this book, right in the upward swing of a pandemic. I finished it yesterday and today here in the Netherlands everything got closed down, pubs, restaurants, sports facilities and schools for at least 3 weeks. In A Song for a New Day, that ‘at least 3 weeks’ turned into always, with humanity keeping its distance from one another after a pox pandemic, and most of life moving to virtual environments so you don’t need to leave your room for work nor entertainment. Drone delivery ftw.

Live music takes center stage in this story. Concerts are not allowed, as they bring together more than a few people. But there’s an underground network of venues and artists. One on which a company feeds to find talent for virtual concerts, but at the cost of shutting down the real venues and scenes.

A call for creativity, and overcoming fear of others. In times of government calls for social physical distancing, a reminder to let guitars rip over the speakers and be kind to your neighbours and community.

16down concert in Second LifeA concert by 16Down I once went to in Second Life in 2007.

(I started reading A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker, as I found it on the list of Nebula Award nominees).