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The Beam: Episode 1 [Kindle Edition]

Sean Platt , Johnny B. Truant

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Product Description

Product Description

This is the first episode of The Beam. Get the full season here: bit.ly/thebeam

In the future, the Beam network has taken over our lives. But now, it's developing a life of its own.

The year is 2097. North America has become the North American Union -- the only place on Earth not decimated by the environmental catastrophes of the 2020s. To protect citizens during the technological renaissance, the NAU erected the Lattice: an impervious net to keep the so-called "Wild East" at bay. That was when the NAU began to regrow as a cyperpunk utopia … or dystopia, depending on where you stand.

Today, the NAU appears to be divided into two political parties: the socialist Directorate and the capitalist Enterprise. But within secret circles, the true division of NAU power and wealth is more apparent: there is the Lower 99 Percent, who rely on The Beam to entertain and connect the nationwide hive mind ... and there is the Beau Monde, who control it.

Meet Micah and Isaac Ryan: Figureheads of power, pawns within a greater game

For the Lower 99, the choice between Enterprise and Directorate is simple. They can choose the security of Directorate: fed, sheltered, and provided-for by the government … but unable to advance beyond their assigned (and modest) station. Or they can choose the potential and risk of Enterprise, where a few entrepreneurs and artists thrive, but many more die in the gutters without a safety net.

Micah heads the Enterprise party, blessed with family wealth that grew from rumored unsavory practices during the dystopian years. Isaac heads the opposing Directorate -- just as wealthy, just as enhanced with restricted Beam-interfacing upgrades much better than those widely believed to exist.

But both of the Ryan brothers ultimately serve an inner circle, with strings pulled from high above.

Meet Kai Dreyfuss: A prostitute assassin with aspirations to join the Beau Monde, harboring a cortex full of dangerous secrets.

Kai is eternally young, eternally beautiful, her add-ons suited to her dual careers in pleasure and espionage. Kai would do anything to ascend to the secret club she's learned is above her pay grade … and her connection to Nicolai Costa (the power behind Isaac Ryan) gives her an unfair advantage.

Meet Leah: A girl with no last name, no past, and a hacker's mind in the body of a luddite.

Not everyone loves the hyperconnectivity of The Beam, although few are immune to its influence. Leah (young, dreadlocked, with a penchant for disobedience) lives a pair lives between the Organa settlement that eschews technology and plots to disrupt the network … and her prodigious ability to see behind The Beam's AI to the intelligence growing within it.

And meet Doc Stahl: A biological upgrades dealer who knows too much.

So far, the Beau Monde has kept its secrets under wraps and the true breadth of its power hidden. But Thomas "Doc" Stahl has stumbled into a place he shouldn't be and seen things he's forbidden to see. There are upgrades on the market far superior to those he's been allowed to sell -- and interests out there who are prepared to kill to protect their secrets.

But Shift is coming …

The Enterprise and Directorate parties have always given people an identity … and a "them" to resent so the true power balance can remain hidden. In the past, the chance for citizens to change their party (or remain in the same) for the next six years at Shift has been routine. But this year, the air is different. Something has changed. Riots are blooming. And this Shift promises to be anything but ordinary.

The Beam is part hard science fiction, part political thriller, part heart-pounding cyperpunk adventure, part techno thriller. Science fiction in the footprints of Asimov, where nothing is quite what it seems.

Choose your side. Select your destiny.

Plug your mind into The Beam. It's been waiting for you.


Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2406 KB
  • Print Length: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Realm & Sands; 1 edition (June 18 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DHEPVKA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,205 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious Start June 22 2013
By Steve R. Yeager - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After reading the first few chapters of this story, I nearly put it down. The large amount of information that was being transferred (beamed) to the reader felt much like the proverbial drinking through a fire hose. However, once that initial information was imparted, the story took shape, and the characters began to morph into solid forms. Forms which I found intriguing. And after reading the last chapter of this episode, I was hooked.

While this story has some aspects of newness, there were so many things being done that I'm now curious how the writers will pull it all off successfully. Take for example the two main political systems that represent two diametrically opposed philosophies; one Ayn Randian, where citizens are left alone to sink or swim; another, where nearly pure Communism reigns--along with mediocrity. Given human nature, I question how these two systems could possibly coexist economically, and what forces might be required to keep them in balance.

The Beam, and its incantations within the world are an interesting extension of the connectively of the internet, central processing, and something mysteriously nefarious. I was hooked there. But, the mystery of how it all works and what role The Beam ultimately plays in people's lives remains to be seen. I suspect an Oz hiding behind a curtain somewhere.

What I thought worked best: zero preachiness in the series, at least so far. The authors did a remarkable job presenting alternate and extreme points of view without bias.

What I thought weakest: the characters. I had difficulty connecting with any of them on a level other than a simple lens to see the world operate. If most lived or died, I wouldn't care one bit. Except for Crumb. He was by far the most interesting character. There were a few other minor nit-picky things with the writing, too, but what bothered me most was a feeling the story had been rushed and lacked necessary depth for such an epic level story. A little more depth and connection to the characters could have made a good beginning into a truly great one.

But, my criticisms are minor. My ultimate recommendation for those who like near-future-extrapolation-sci-fi stories is to buy this series and enjoy the hell out of it. Well worth the money.

Ultimately, I am giving this series four out of five stars because I think Sean and Johnny have started a very ambitious series and now have the daunting task of pulling it off well. If they do, I can easily rate this a five star ride.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beam me up Sept. 14 2013
By gaia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hate to give a low rating for 2 authors that I enjoy (I've read whiteout and yesterday's gone, and Fat vampire in their entirety) but this first part really didn't engage me as much as I hoped it would - I've seen the reviews of the first season and it's very possible that in its entirety it's a better read than it appears here. I did like the themes and ideas, and I like sci fi in general, I just wasn't sold on all the characters, and for a first 'chapter', you really need to hook your reader in. If a second episode pops up on the freebie list I might snag it and give it another go.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is scary how real this is. June 20 2013
By billdowis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
We look back a few generations and are amazed at the prophetic vision of science fiction writers. I have a feeling my grandkids will be reading The Beam and be amazed at the prophetic vision of Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant.

Technology has saturated everything and everyone is wired to The Beam in one way or another. Episode one introduces us to some major players in the series and weaves them perfectly into a web full of suspense, drama, and action. The descriptions of the technology and politics of this world are vivd without being overbearing. While reading The Beam I felt as if I was immersed in the world and was exploring it for myself rather than being led by the hand.

Episode One is the perfect length. Long enough to contain several sub plots and main characters in great detail, but short enough to read in a day(or in one sitting if you don't have such interruptions as a job and kids.) I am looking forward to seeing where each of these characters are going and what they are doing. If the rest of the episodes are as good as this one we are in store for one hell of a ride.

Truant and Platt really hit a home run with this one. While I enjoy all of their other works (both as partners and on their own) this is the best piece of fiction from the pair.

Get the book now. My only wish is that the entire season was available today.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed Potential July 20 2014
By J. Fuhrman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really hoped I was going to like this one. I love science fiction and there are many interesting things about the world the authors have created. So what was my problem?

I was TOLD about the world, not SHOWN. Each chapter is from the point of view of a different character, wherein most of the world of the Beam was told to me by way of interior monologue, and to the point where it felt unnatural much of the time. People don't always reflect about every detail about their profession or state of the world, and I felt this was the main problem with this book.

If it had been edited better and the world revealed through more action and less exposition, it would have been much more compelling. Now, I'm not opposed to interior monologue or exposition, it's just something that needs to be handled strategically. At times I felt like I was sitting down with a cast of characters and they were telling me why they were doing things rather than just doing them and the effects of those actions becoming apparent as the story went on. Exposition is fine as long as it comes up in short beats and feels natural. I want to experience a novel, not have it read like a series of interviews and history lessons.

I don't want this review to sound completely harsh because there is good stuff here. The world is interesting as are the characters and I wish I could get past the writing style and delve into the entire series. But I'll probably have to stop here. The sample was long enough and consistent enough for me to assume the writing style won't be changing. Some people aren't bothered by heavy exposition as is illustrated in the many positive reviews so if that style of writing doesn't feel jarring to you, then I encourage you to pick up the rest of the series.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be aware: episodes NOT self-contained; must buy more to get story Aug. 16 2013
By CarrieK90 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Frankly, I prefer a complete story when I get a book. The best series keep you in the same universe and often have at least some repeating characters, but at least give you a satisfying ending, even if it leaves you wanting more. Breaking a story up just to make readers buy the continuation is shoddy.

There's some good writing here, with a minimum of copy editing errors. The premise is also wonderful (and real enough to be scary). This combination is enough that I was tempted to give another star, but there's a serious flaw: it's hard to care much about the characters, in part because we're whipped back and forth between too many of them, even while being given too little to help us really sympathize.

So will I continue with later installments? Possibly, if I can borrow them or they appear in the freebies list. Will I buy them? No.

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