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Cover for 'Spherical Tomi: A Novel of Despair'

"Star Wars is over. Star Trek is dead. In Spherical Tomi, Jack Mangan has opened up a new frontier."
- Ernest Hogan, author of Smoking Mirror Blues

A top-secret AI project.

A deadly power struggle between warlords.

Tomi was once lead combat programmer for the Shogun Ryogi, on the front lines of his conflict against President William the Black of Cerberus. When she failed to prevent William from killing the samurai she loved, she abandoned all sides, all loyalties, all hope. In her fury, Tomi destroyed the Greatship, Hades IV, and almost everyone onboard. Almost everyone. . .

William the Black escaped with his life.

She now hides out in a remote monastery, awaiting the day when she can kill the three she holds responsible for the death of her samurai: William, Ryogi, and herself. . .

With her real body in exile, Tomi's consciousness inhabits a deteriorating clone body on a satellite around Cerberus. She's lived and worked incognito in orbit for almost three years now, monitoring the planet's subspace debris cleanup.

But some histories will not stay buried.

Tomi again finds herself in the crossfire when Ryogi's forces ambush the Presidential shuttle in her sector.

Ryogi's samurai have pirated remote control of her satellite's store of dormant clone bodies; his combat programmers fight her for the station's computers, while the planet's extrasphere swarms with deadly smart-mines. Will she be able to protect the President's shuttle to secure her own vengeance? Will she be able to hold her satellite together? Or will Tomi abandon it all and give in to despair?

"Spherical Tomi" is an action-packed tale of deception, revenge, redemption, fragmented identity, and the limitations of the human and artificial mind.

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  • Prologue. Tomi watches from within her Spherical as a fierce battle rages between the Greatships Musashi and Hades IV. Though she is the lead combat programmer for the neo-Tokugawan Rebellion, she has abruptly ceased all Spherical activity, following a failed programming battle against President William the Black. Shogun Ryogi places an anxious call to stir her from her idle revelry, to find out why his most imnportant combat coder has suddenly dropped out of the battle...

  • Chapter I: Orbital Debris (partial). Michi inhabits a decaying clone body (itai) aboard the the Linden satellite, alone with her partner Jeanette. Their job is to monitor the subspace surrounding planet Cerberus - home of William Sterling the Black - for all potentially dangerous debris. Michi hides here from her past, cloaked in her itai and the obscurity of her satellite post. She's uncertain about her present and her future, and especially unsure of her feelings for Van. He's on his way to visit her at the satellite when she suddenly discovers an alarming number of mysterious objects in their sector, small black cylinders which the AI patrol shifts had somehow missed. William Sterling is due to travel through the sector within hours. . . What are these strange devices? Are they simply dumped cargo from some freighter? Or something more sinister...?

  • End of Chapter I. Orbital Debris. Begin Chapter II. The Persistence of Memory. With no doubt now as to the nature of the cylinders in their sector, Michi and Jeanette scramble to fulfill their duties, while also tracking Van's progress toward their satellite. They learn that William the Black's shuttle has been ambushed out in deep space, and things just keep getting worse from there... Will Michi reveal her terrible secret to Jeanette?

  • End of Chapter 2: The Persistence of Memory. Van is on his way to the satellite now, though in a way - Michi and Jeanette find themselves with another unwelcome visitor. In the meantime, even Michi's great Spherical skills are put to the test against a full-on Tojo programming assault. More terrible secrets are uncovered; things are getting steadily worse, and Michi starts to consider giving up. Watch out for those nano-cutters!

  • Chapter III. A Moment of Despair and Begin Chapter IV. A New Plan of Action. Michi is overwhelmed and suffers a moment of despair in the face of imminent defeat. She's all too aware that defeat almost certainly means death. Care for a cup of tea? William the Black and his entourage take to incredibly desperate measures in order to escape their besieged craft.

  • This is a busy episode. We finish chapters: IV. A New Plan of Action, V. Drops of Rain, and VI. Waves. We begin chapter VII. An Old Friend For Dinner. Suddenly the Linden is the place where everyone wants to be -- Tojo Samurai, William Sterling and his staff, the smart mines, the Crossbones pilots. . . The satellite's own itai are pirated and eager to get into Michi's quarters. As control of her body, her Spherical, and her fate are being wrested away, Michi is thrown into yet another confrontation, the most dangerous yet.

  • Six minutes of discussion about how the Spherical Tomi book began, along with a few acknowledgments, shoutouts, and funny, mildly embarassing recording outtakes. This episode is not required to follow the story.

  • Finish Chapter VII. An Old Friend For Dinner, begin the mondo chapter VIII. Back and Forth. Tomi's mind is sent for a ride, then brought back for more confrontation with Shogun Ryogi. There's another skirmish for control of Michi's quarters. This episode ends with the stage set for Tomi to make her move.

  • Continue chapter VIII. Back and Forth. Michi is back in her Spherical again, programming against enemies on all fronts. Her itai body is continuing to deteriorate; the time has come to enact her desperate plan. This episode features combat, betrayals, and revelations, then closes with goodbyes.

  • Finish Chapter VIII. Back and Forth. Finish Chapter IX. Garden. This is it. Michi and William finally square off. You will not believe the outcome of this battle.

  • Finish Chapter X. In the Details. Another meal, another conversation, another offer. A healthy dose of existential terror.

  • Post-story meta-episode. Acknowledgements. Submitted listener names are read aloud here. Spherical Tomi notes and trivia. Nearly four minutes of outtakes! Listening to this episode is not required to follow the story. Thanks for subscribing, everyone! - - Jack

  • Finish Chapter XI. Azul. Finish Chapter XII. The Bakenokawa. Finish Chapter XII. Departure. High above Sterling City on the dome's underside -- watch out for that Clamp! Who is Azul? More revelations from Tomi's guest; the final revelation will change everything. . .

Great story. I liked it but I found it .... a little lacking. I kept on comparing this book to Snow Crash. Spherical doesn't have the depth of the created world. I would have liked to see more of the programing of the Sphericals, I didn't see the point in ...
If audio quality is your only metric for the worth of an audiobook, you will miss an interesting universe here. Magnificient scope, intriguing ideas. The behaviour of some characters is perhaps not quite consistent with the listener's expectations, but I can see some justification for that. Overall, nice storytelling for ...
A great read... great story... It was something different from what I normally read, but the simultaneous blending of war on multiple fronts, personal-technical-physical was great. I'd love to hear what happens next... but even if I don't then I really enjoyed the ride
Great Story!
I have to agree about the narration. It comes across as very monotone and flat, no normal inflections. It is as if the narrators are bored. I'm sure that is not the case, but please consider this as it fights against the excellent storyline. You might consider hiring or working ...
Hey, thanks Skeet and Josh. Obviously, I check comments at my main site (http://www.jackmangan.com) more frequently, but your criticisms and kind words are all welcome. The Spherical Tomi sequel has been slightly delayed, but it *will* happen in the first quarter of 2007.
This was an extreemly enjoyable book. I loved the high-tech elements, the characters were attractive and I couldn't wait to get to the next episode. The twists in plot, the action, wow, and I know I'm gushing but it's worth it. The reading was very good and well presented. My ...
Well, I have to say something about the narration, since you gave a small disclaimer in the beginning episodes about your reading abilities, I won't be too hard on you. But seriously, you both need to practice your lines before you record. Maybe even listen to yourselves and improve on ...
Thank you, Brian and P.G.! Apologies for that poor reverb effect. Perhaps someday when the saga is complete, I'll go back and do a George Lucas-style Special Edition.
I'm enjoying the hell out of this, Jack. The pace of your story is perfect for a podiobook, just like what I've heard from Scott Sigler and Matthew Selznick. I look forward to continuing the ride.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Logo This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 license.

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