In a transhuman near-future, an AI codebase is replicating across the Net – instanced on living memories and operating without predictable goals or terminal values. It swiftly becomes the unassailable proof of faith for millions, the foundations for a theocratic empire and an increasingly existential threat. As society unravels, a disgraced veteran of the Resource Wars must reconcile his past to have any chance at saving the future.
Publication date: January 27th, 2024
Formats: Kindle | Kindle Unlimited | Paperback
Set in a near future only an inevitable step away from our own, Mark Kolody's "The Disrupted" is a compelling piece of science fiction coloured with suspense, excitment and anxiety. Fans of the cyberpunk genre will relish it's rich cast of fully realized characters, each detailed and damaged, dancing with the mystery of what it means to be human in a world that is increasignly less so. Rife with style and themes of identiy, privacy and belief, "The Disrupted" presents a world in decay, percariously balanced on the threshold of irrevocable change. Our current angst and uncertainty in the face of rapidly evolving artifical intelligence makes this a timely read and is highly recommended.
I really enjoyed "The Disrupted." I'm a huge fan of cyberpunk more generally, and Mark Kolody's writing style and storytelling really do the genre justice. He does an especially good job of building a world that feels alive, and one I just wanted to know more about. I loved the ideas he explores, and his wholehearted engagement with the philosophy and possibilities of AI and what a world built around technology could actually become. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an exploration of the future told with care for the ideas and possibilities we face.
Great sci-fi work. I liked the vibe the entire time – thanks for the arc! I would Rex this one! Cheers
I was hooked from the first chapter! I would never have suspected this was a debut novel if I hadn't been told. The story is confident and original. The characters feel like flesh and blood people and I care about what becomes of them. The author is clearly tapped into what makes people do what they do. I am about halfway through and I need to know how it ends! I look forward to future works from this author.
I know the human who wrote this novel and attest that it reflects his intelligence, warmth, and character. The novel is about humanism (purpose, morality, duty, love, sexuality) and implications of the pending intersection with transhumanism (from identity to wealth disparity) and artificial intelligence (including alignment and the nature of the singularity). Strange days ahead. Nevertheless, humor runs throughout: in circumstance, dialogue, and, er..., violence (which never devolves to sadism). I look forward to his next works.
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As the Days of Anger weaponize the social landscape into a global uprising against wealth inequality, the fate of humanity’s transhuman future is contested by intragovernmental actors and counter-culture terrorists. Amidst the turmoil, an unassuming bio-digital architect desperately tries to safeguard the human condition.
Book Launch: Q2, 2025 (estimated)
Advanced reader copies: Q1, 2025 (estimated)
Note: Cover artwork to be finalized.
Mark Kolody possesses unique insights into near-future science fiction from decades of working at the leading edge of the digital industry. He was also a co-founding editor of Schrödinger’s Cat, a nationally distributed literary magazine. He currently lives with his family in Toronto, Canada.
I’m about 85k words into Minus One at the moment (the beginning of the 3rd act). While I recognize that doesn’t say much, I can offer some context: I usually aim for about 135k, then edit as though someone was going to slap me for every unnecessary word. After a number of passes to tighten/enhance the novel, I’ll hand it over to a professional editor and then do one final pass before putting it out to advanced readers. Realistically, Q2, 2025?
The story is really about a tipping point of social and economic unrest as experienced through an estranged family of a punch-drunk former prizefighter and his two adult daughters – a biohacker who’s part of a terrorist movement in Toronto and a criminal who runs a corporate extortion racket for a small, struggling Yakuza clan in Osaka. Central to the story, a bio-digital architect tries to protect his life’s work (read: wetware) from being used as a tool to control and repress future generations. It’s set in the near future, prior to the events of The Disrupted.
I’m a born/raised Torontonian with a fiercely Japanese wife. For more than 20 years, I’ve been returning to Japan and keep discovering more to appreciate about its people and culture. Especially Osaka – the people there are… different (in a good way). I would’ve set The Disrupted in that city if the novel didn’t have to account for advanced climate change.
As for Toronto, it’s an incredibly dynamic and modern, world class city of millions with more than 50% of residents being born in a foreign country. For perspective, the 311 service (for city info) has content offered in 180 languages. There’s something low-key magical about actively living with the world in a single location. I’m the son of two immigrants, married to an immigrant with a mixed-race child and there’s absolutely nothing special about that here.
Toronto’s a wonderful city with plenty of upsides, but also fantastically expensive. Many people genuinely struggle here. (10% of the city’s population relied on food banks in 2023). It’s far more vibrant than when I was a kid, but also grown considerably less egalitarian. When I was young and (quite literally) hungry, it felt like there was always a way out – if only I could work through it. Now, I see a lot more resignation and resentment where there was once optimism. It’s changed the very cadence of the city and there’s a gnawing emotional friction in that for me.
I’ve worked in the digital industry for 28 years – enough to know the price of free services and how the sausage is made. That’s not to say I won’t partake actively in the future, but for now, I’m… not hungry. I consistently lurk on Reddit and will make an effort to answer questions on GoodReads, though.
Let me know if you have a question or want me to address something in the future.