Chapter

PART I: MACHINES. 1. Psychic Combat; 2. Sacrificial Weapon; 3. Still World; 4. Kick the Dog; 5. Technolust; 6. The Sign; 7. Roadkill; 8. Unfamiliar Planet; 9. Queens of the Cyber Age; 10. The War Inside Me; 11. Weird Dream; 12. Spatial Dyslexia; 13. This Alien Earth; 14. Paralipsis; 15. Mob Rule; 16. See Yourself Going By; 17. Dismal Jargon; 18. Threshold Moment; 19. Sub-Ballardian; 20. Kill the Head; 21. Pathogen

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EXCERPT

I can trace my decline. That is one of the bittersweet benefits of survival. I can locate the exact moment in time when I joined the theatre of the unwell. I was a high-school dropout, pinballing between dead-end jobs. Once a bright student, I’d squandered my ambition, melting like a fuse under excessive voltage. No one knew why, let alone me. I turned inwards but nothing held my stare. The void was too deep.

I lost sight of myself within an interminable fever dream.

I awoke inside an anomalous world.

Something was waiting, oddly familiar.

Another version of me.

A clone, threatening me with erasure.

I was left with no choice but to spark an internal war. The mission: take out the clone. But the fight would expose me to interdimensional radiation. I became sick with time, unable to distinguish between the past, present and future. What’s more, I was unskilled in psychic combat, asking the wrong questions and opening the wrong doors.

The dark matter burned me from inside.…