John Barnes Candle

ISBN 13: 9780812589689

Candle

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9780812589689: Candle
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Currie Culver is about fifty-five years old, in good health, living in a comfortable retirement in the Rockies with his wife. In the wake of the Meme Wars that swept the planet two generations before, Currie, his wife, and almost everyone on Earth have in their minds a copy of One True, software that grants its hosts limited telepathy and instills a kind of general cooperation.

In his younger days, Currie hunted "comboys"--people who had unplugged from the global net in order to evade One True, and who hid in wilderness areas, surviving by raiding the outposts of civilization. Now Currie is called back into service to capture the last comboy still at large, a man who calls himself Lobo. With his high tech equipment, thoroughly plugged into the global net, Currie sets out to bring Lobo in.

Instead, Lobo captures Currie, and manages to deprogram him. Thrown back on the resources of his own intelligence, courage, and wisdom for the first time in twenty-five years, Currie finds himself in a battle of minds with his captor . . . with results that will change the lives of everyone on Earth.

In the best tradition of John W. Campbell and Robert A. Heinlein, Candle is a novel about individualism and society that will leave readers breathless, arguing, and demanding more.

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Review:

It is the near-future, and in the wake of the Meme Wars, the world's population is much reduced, although, thanks to One True, the winning software meme, humankind is now a cooperative, noncompetitive species. One True manages the survivors by controlling both memory and the autonomic nervous system, and a copy runs in the mind of everyone on earth. Or almost everyone. Occasional cowboys, such as the one known as Lobo, purge themselves of One True, unplug from the global network, and survive by raiding civilized settlements.

Currie Culver is the bounty hunter who brought Lobo down--killing him, he believed, years ago in the Rocky Mountains. When One True informs Currie that Lobo survives, Currie must ride out once again on Lobo's trail. What follows is a splendid mix of Western, moral argument, and philosophical treatise. In a skirmish, Currie's copy of One True is damaged, and he is taken to a hideout where the wily Lobo begins to deprogram him. All, of course, is not as it seems.

It could be said that Barnes, best known for the juvenile space novel Orbital Resonance and the decidedly adult disaster tale Mother of Storms, occasionally allows his characters to degenerate into talking heads, but for most readers the meat of the matter will be the hugely enjoyable (if rather basic) examination of that place where the interests of the individual, society, and human identity collide. --Luc Duplessis

About the Author:

John Barnes is the award-winning author of Orbital Romance, A Million Open Doors, Mother of Storms, Earth Made of Glass, The Merchants of Souls, Candle, and many other novels. With Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, he wrote the novels Encounter with Tiber and The Return. He lives in Colorado.

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