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A novel of low-tech noir by Jon Frankel, narrated by Miette.
In the squalid New York of the very near future, Manhattan is cut with sewage-filled canals, and walled in by levees. The suburbs have become subterranean hives of office workers living in climate controlled pods. Upstate New York has been abandoned, left in the hands of the Iroquois Nation and Amish farmers, coupled as a hidden sanctum for a small spate of refugees.
It is in this setting that Dr. Ruth Bryson, a renowned 67-year-old scientist, reluctantly under the aegis of a monopolist, government-sponsored pharmaceutical giant, has invented Paragane, a panacea marketed as a cure for ennui, despair, and hopelessness. Among its many early adopters is Veronica, the deeply suicidal wife of Felix Clay, who, with virtually every other person prescribed the medication, reports not only the miraculous success of the drug, but the recurring dream of exploring an enchanted garden on the arm of an angel. This dream’s reality is evidently more desirous than a waking consciousness for Veronica and others, as Paragane’s side effect becomes evident:
Ten percent of all people who take Paragane will die, inexplicably, and with no immediate causal connection to the drug.
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