Welcome to the fifth book of the Vinestead Anthology, a fast-paced cyber-thriller that explores a future where organics and synthetics fight to steer the course of human evolution.
Open your eyes, my son, and behold the machinery of the world…
Armando Carrillo has always lived with the nagging feeling that the world wasn’t real, but he never expected to wake up naked in an abandoned underground bunker with a computer screen behind him flashing the words CLIENT DISCONNECTED.
After the discovery that his life in Austin, Texas was nothing more than a computer simulation, Armando must unravel the mystery of his true existence and figure out who put him in the simulation in the first place, and more importantly, why.
With ancient generators spewing noxious gasses into the underground facility and massive screens flashing ominous warnings, Armando will have to find a way to escape his cavernous tomb, not only to save his life, but the lives of the three other Austinites who were plugged in with him.
Set in the Vinestead Universe and brimming with twists and clever one-liners, Hybrid Mechanics is another irresistible mash-up of technology, mystery, gun-play, and subtle sexual tension from Science Fiction author Daniel Verastiqui.
It wanted to talk.
They always wanted to talk.
“Hello,” said Jake, lowering the Phoenix.
“Welcome, brother,” said the male. Its friendly words didn’t match its icy tone. “I am Patriarch Stevens. I’m afraid our temple is closed to new members at this time. Would you kindly leave the way you came?”
Jake cocked his head, looked past the organic. There was another steel door at the back of the room, but it was supported by several cross-beams, buoyed against an outward blast. It would contain the Popper to the room.
Scripture scrolled in his HUD.
“Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God?” he asked.
“Always,” said Stevens, smiling. Several of its teeth had gone missing; frothy saliva oozed through the openings, which it sucked back in with a labored slurp.
“Then you know why I’m here.”
“My people have no quarrel with you, brother. Please, leave us in peace.”
Jake folded his hands. “There will be no peace until one of us yields, and you’re the ones hiding underground like common insects. You’ve had your time on the surface, brother. Now it’s our time.”
Stevens coughed, lifted the Popper to his mouth to wipe his lips with the back of his hand. “I’ve lived my entire life waiting to meet Heavenly Father. Who will you meet, godless machine man? What glory awaits you in the afterlife?”
“You misunderstand, organic. There is no afterlife for us. Children of Lassiter do not die. We are forever.”
Sweat ran down the Patriarch’s temples. It took a deep breath, cleared its throat.
“Only Heavenly Father is eternal. You’re an abomination begat of man’s hubris. A special hell awaits your kind, and I’m more than happy to send you there. It truly makes no difference to me. Or, you can leave us in peace. As a sign of our goodwill, we’re prepared to give you certain information.”
It wanted to bargain.
They always wanted to bargain.
Not as Crazy as You Think
Many works of science fiction as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct). Then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race. It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be rational to think that we are likely among the simulated minds rather than among the original biological ones. Therefore, if we don’t think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears.– Nick Bostrom, Are you living in a computer simulation?
What People Are Saying
Bob B. My new favorite book by Daniel Verastiqui. I was wondering since the cover blurb gives away some of what the story is about. But even though you think you know where it’s going, there are some surprises. All in all, a fun story and well written. A lot of Austin, TX references, if you’re into that.
C. Wyatt. This is first book I have read by author Daniel Verastiqui and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I will now go back and read the rest of his books.
Callie. Nice book. I really enjoyed this book!
Scott G. Have you been begrudgingly perusing political news headlines, day after day, and think to yourself, “this can’t be real”? Hybrid Mechanics, Verastiqui’s 5th installment in the Vinestead Universe, answers back, “what if it’s not? What if this is all a simulation?”
I’ve been following Verastiqui’s work since Xronixle – his first – and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing his writing continuously improve, culminating into this fantastic mix of Cyberpunk Futurism and modern-day existential crises of the true nature of reality.
This book follows a group of strangers in non-linear fashion, including a burnt-out IT manager, a tenacious YouTube personality, and an ex-GI mamma’s boy and man of faith, who through a series of “glitches” find themselves woke in the real world. Where are they, how did they get there, and who put them there? Verastiqui weaves a cunning narrative that answers these questions while raising even more, reaching a nail-biting denouement that will send shivers down to your solar plexus.
Verastiqui’s trademark descriptive style and signature wit is thankfully present throughout the story: clever dialogue, multi-dimensional characters, sexual subtleties and exploring of gender identities, The Matrix-style virtual realities, religion, synthetic humanoids, and cliff-hanging chapter conclusions that only makes you want to keep reading. Pop culture-savvy readers will enjoy Verastiqui’s humorous allusions, and if you’re familiar with the Austin, TX area you’ll absolutely get a kick out of his local references.
This book is much deeper than the surface level would lead you to believe – figuratively and literally. Verastiqui is at the top of his form and I can’t wait for his next book.
Julia Grubbs. Best book of the Vinestead Universe. Immediately engaging, a non-stop read.