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Hydrogen Steel

Hydrogen Steel [Kindle Edition]

K. A. Bedford
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

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.

Other Books by K.A. Bedford

Orbital Burn
Paradox Resolution
Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait

"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

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 831 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing; 1 edition (6 Jan 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #688,286 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rolicking great Sci-Fi story 15 Nov 2011
I really enjoyed this story by Bedford, author of the must-read Time Travel comedy "Time Machines Repaired While You Wait". In Hydrogen Steel Bedford weaves together a coherent universe, plot, and characters. It's like Blade Runner as if it were written by an amalgam of Charles Stross (particularly Glasshouse) and John Scalzi (particularly Android's Dream). I enjoyed the surprises - a lot of sci-fi these days feels like it is on rails, treading the same ground as books before it - Bedford keeps things moving without you feeling at any time that the plot has run off the rails. Pick up this book - you'll be glad that you did!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a novel 12 July 2007
By Paul Lappen - Published on
Zette McGee is a private investigator, and former cop, in a habitat on Ganymede. She abruptly retired from the force, rather than risk exposure of a personal secret. McGee is called out of retirement by a frantic phone call from android Kell Fallow, who knows her secret, and who swears he did not kill his family. Before Fallow can reach her, he is killed by a bomb in his gut.

At every step in the investigation, McGee, and Gideon Smith, a friend with a shadowy past, are stopped cold. It is the work of a firemind called Hydrogen Steel. Think of an artificial intelligence that has had eons of time (about a hundred years in human time) to grow and evolve. It can do a lot more than just read minds, for instance. Wherever they are, it can disable their ship, leaving them stranded in space. It can infect their neural implants with all sorts of major viruses. It can send an android that looks identical to McGee to destroy her residence. It can create intruders out of thin air, then disappear into thin air, to kill anyone it wishes. Hydrogen Steel can also infect McGee and Smith with bombs identical to the one that killed Fallow, forcing them to get quantum scans of their brains, and those scans downloaded into new bodies.

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.
5.0 out of 5 stars great 12 Mar 2013
By Patricia Bousquet - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
great book wish it would keep going and going,love hy-tek had alot of good stuff it was just a goog read!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Mind-bending hard SF mystery 20 Nov 2012
By Deborah - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
what an incredible mind-bender! to start with, this seemed similar to Bedford's first novel, Orbital Burn - likeable female central character faced with a mystery she needs to solve, dealing with her own personal dramas at the same time as chasing clues and dodging bad guys, with a high-tech science fiction background. But while Orbital Burn has some clever twists, Hydrogen Steel is like one big twisty carnival ride of high-concept messing with the characters' (and the readers') minds. A great read, just make sure to strap yourself in and hang onto some sense of reality
2.0 out of 5 stars A Japanese themed Artificial Intelligent helping detective in infowar 1 July 2010
By Jari Aalto - Published on
Zette McGee, a former Homicide inspector, gets a phone call. An android Kell Fallow is in trouble. He is being accused of murder. And he knows Zette's hidden secret: she is a property of Cytex Systems. An android that should not be self-aware. Zette promises to meet Kell at the cargo dock but she needs a little expert assistance. Gideon smith is retired "diplomat" who has hazy past that he won't talk about. He is just the person to trust. But nothing is as seems. Kell is blown up, or rather, the liquid bomb he had not known to carry was ignited as he landed. Next Zette's property is invaded and the HouseMind has no records of the intruder -- other than it was herself down to the DNA samples gathered from the air. Double. Why? What purpose? Gideon and Zette decide to depart to Kell's home world to find out, but during waiting for wormhole tube clearance, Gideon's military-surplus ShipMind was penetrated like butter. Who would have intrusion infoware like that? What powers are they faced against that try to stop their investigation?

After a very good detective story, the pace picks up and and everything that can be though of is crammed into the story: high speed chase through wormholes, the philosophical aspect what it means to be android but think like a human, rejuvenating medical procedures that allow one's brains to be transferred to another body, cyberpunk attacks that are beyond military grade, void space samurai entities, Japanese Otaru firemind which is one of the remnant of self aware AIs escaped beyond human control, and secret government cover up to "what happened to earth" (see previous book Eclipse). The Japanese culture is magnificent, but having a firemind Otaru modeled after it -- Geishas, Samurais and all -- is corny. The science that is introduced in the book is very creative, but stretches so far that it has no limits at all. Humans can live forever? Fireminds have already travelled the whole universe? Nanotech is so advanced that it is undetectable? The world is full of miracles that have no obvious boundaries what is possible. Yet more and more is introduced, like immortality "between the time gaps" as Otaru saves the lead figures. The philosophical questions of what is to be a human if the brains can be be scanned to other bodies, or if an android can think like a human, are fundamental questions of sole existence. Yet they are introduced like throwing a ball with left hand. Everything is miraculously solved, ice cube (Hydrogen Steel Firemind) is Godlike, yet naively trapped at the end and the android hero becomes immortal.

Two (2) stars. Written in 2007 this is loosely a book 2 in the same universe as Eclipse. The same problem that was present Eclipse book is manifested again: too much is going on and concepts introduced are beyond comprehending -- the reader detaches from the story as soon as he starts to ask "is this is possible?" The marvels of the science stack on one another in increasingly bigger blocks and the story starts to become indifferent. There are many clever ideas, very innovative science, but not all that would not have been necessary. Sticking to the promising detective start and building the mystery slowly would have accomplished the same elegantly in Asimov style. Not dull, but an exemplary of a herring salad.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A top pick for both science fiction and mystery lending libraries. 12 Mar 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
It's rare to see a genuine mystery embedded into the rich fabric of a science fiction setting, but HYDROGEN STEEL accomplishes both in the tale of a retired homicide inspector Zette, called out of retirement to help a former android accused of murder. Her attempts to save Kell will endanger her own closely-held secrets and leads to personal danger when Kell is killed and her home is destroyed. You won't find many more science fiction titles holding so much gripping mystery action and twists of plot, making HYDROGEN STEEL a top pick for both science fiction and mystery lending libraries.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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