Hydrogen Steel is a tense and thrilling mystery within a mystery, a tale of secrets and truth, and a journey to the limits of existence — and a bit beyond!
When retired top homicide inspector Zette McGee, late of Winter City, Ganymede, gets called out of her mysterious retirement to help Kell Fallow, a desperate former android accused unjustly of murdering his wife and children, she knows she has to help him, for Zette has a secret she is desperate to keep, and Fallow knows all about it.
With the help of her best friend, the elderly but very suave former secret agent Gideon Smith, and his ridiculously impressive personal starship, the Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, Zette sets out (a) to help the accused man, but also (b) to keep Gideon from finding out her own awful secret, even as everything they learn in the investigation keeps pointing to it.
But when Kell Fallow is killed by a bomb he didn't know was buried in his guts, and when a homebrew android identical to Zette destroys her home on the luxurious Serendipity habitat, Gideon and Zette go on the run, only to run afoul of sabotage, spies, nasty infections, and bad guys galore and ordinary machines come to relentless, murderous life.
The case will take Zette and Gideon on a terrifying journey into the darkest reaches of human space, in pursuit of an ancient truth — and will bring her into deadly contact with that truth's keeper, the awesomely powerful firemind, Hydrogen Steel, an artificial consciousness evolved far beyond its original design, and which is utterly determined to keep that same truth from getting out, at any cost.
K. A. Bedford
K. A. Bedford was born in Fremantle, and attended both Curtin and Murdoch University in Perth where he studied writing, theatre, and philosophy prior to his becoming actively involved in the Australian SF community. HYDROGEN STEEL is his third novel. He lives with his wife, Michelle, near Perth, Western Australia.
"Bedford amasses plenty of high-flown SF concepts. (I particularly like his notion of turning whole planets into computers ...)." - Paul Di Filippo, SCI FI Weekly
"As always, Bedford mixes some serious issues with the adventure -- in this case, the uncomfortable moral and ethical questions posed by disposables, cheaply produced tech that looks and sounds human but is not engineered to have actual consciousness.... Hydrogen Steel is a rousing good read that should satisfy Bedford's existing fans and win him many new ones." - Victoria Strauss, SF Site
"Hydrogen Steel's mission is to prevent any release of information regarding how the Earth disappeared years before. There wasn't any rubble from its destruction, just "poof." Another firemind, Otaru, finds out the truth, but knows that it will not survive the expected battle with Hydrogen Steel.
This is a gem of a novel. It's a really good mystery/thriller; how does anyone deal with an entity that can reach into your DNA, and do something nasty? It's also quite mind blowing, and is very much worth reading." - Paul Lappen
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