Persistence of Vision (Paperback)
Jane can't have secrets. As the leading online influencer, each fraction of her life is streamed for all to watch. Social media hears what she mumbles as she sleeps; sees her recoil in unexplained fear of deep water; leers over the sponsor's logo tattooed between her shoulders. Everyone watches everyone, downvoting undesirables, exposing seditious thoughts, while endless advertising distracts them from the dust storms of their dying world. Private police watch over them with surveillance so complete that they can predict crimes before they occur.
But Jane recalls a different world, where her thoughts could be private and choices could be her own. She plans to wield her influence to make this the future.
On the largest marketing holiday of the year, she'll strike. All she needs is to keep her plans secret.
When Jane publicly spoils a fashion show for all social media to see, the show's organizer, Ray, vows to have her fired. He feels guilty for discovering a marketing technique that, while increasing sales, also manipulated shoppers to become fatally aggressive. Now, Ray just wants to accumulate enough social credit to leave the country, and his guilt, behind. The last thing the jaded marketer needs is for Jane to disrupt those plans and, worse, to then entrust him with dangerous contraband: a secret.
As Jane takes Ray from the gleaming towers of their ever-surveilled dystopia to the mysteries of the forbidden Red Zone, she draws him deeper into her secrets. They embark on her daring plan, risking summary and lethal punishment by the private police, as they struggle to keep rebellious thoughts undetected and old identities hidden. But when everything is watched, can she keep her secrets? Can he?
Persistence of Vision is speculative fiction about how social media, big data, and artificial intelligence affect our relationships with one another and with ourselves. Its central question is whether we can still make our own choices when we can no longer keep our lives private, or our thoughts secret.