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For Feòrag, with love This book took me five years to write – a personal record – and would not exist without the support and encouragement of a host of friends, and several friendly editors.
Among the many people who read and commented on the early drafts are: Andrew J.
Wilson, Stef Pearson, Gav Inglis, Andrew Ferguson, Jack Deighton, Jane Mc Kie, Hannu Rajaniemi, Martin Page, Stephen Christian, Simon Bisson, Paul Fraser, Dave Clements, Ken Mac Leod, Damien Broderick, Damon Sicore, Cory Doctorow, Emmet O'Brien, Andrew Ducker, Warren Ellis, and Peter Hollo.
"Fucking Cold War hangover losers," he swears under his breath, quite angry, partly at himself for losing his cool and partly at the harassing entity behind the anonymous phone call.
" capitalist spooks." Russia has been back under the thumb of the apparatchiks for fifteen years now, its brief flirtation with anarchocapitalism replaced by Brezhnevite dirigisme and Putinesque puritanism, and it's no surprise that the wall's crumbling – but it looks like they haven't learned anything from the current woes afflicting the United States.
The bandwidth is good here, he realizes; and it's not just the bandwidth, it's the whole scene.
My agent Caitlin Blasdell had a hand in it too, and I'd like to thank my editors Ginjer Buchanan at Ace and Tim Holman at Orbit for their helpful comments and advice.
A camera winks at him from atop a streetlight; he waves, wondering idly if it's the KGB or the traffic police. "If survival is what you're after, you could post your state vector on one of the p2p nets: Then nobody could delete you –" "Nyet! " "Then we probably have nothing to talk about." Manfred punches the hang-up button and throws the mobile phone out into a canal.
He is waiting for directions to the party, which should arrive within the next half hour, and this Cold War retread Eliza-bot is bumming him out. " The artificial intelligence sounds as alarmed as it's possible to sound over a Voi P link. It hits the water, and there's a pop of deflagrating lithium cells.
Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who e-mailed me to ask when the book was coming, or who voted for the stories that were shortlisted for awards.
You did a great job of keeping me focused, even during the periods when the whole project was too daunting to contemplate.