KarmaCon: A Novel of Alternate Reality
by Nowick Gray
Who were they, who put that rifle, its special bullet, its enigmatic instructions in my car? Once I was on my way to find out, I didn't know if I'd ever make it home again.
Not that my home life was that great. Moira was in control, that was clear. I was secondary. That was okay with me. I didn't know what I really wanted.
Now that I had some new guidance, Moira couldn't take it and moved out. Her sister Sheila moved in--fine by me. She was more sympathetic; more open, at least, to the weird possibilities.
Naturally I suspected Gerald, my boss at the computer consulting firm I worked for. Harry, my savvy sidekick on the technical end, tried to be helpful, but even he was stymied. My shrink, Dr. Evans, was intrigued but said it was all in my head.
The harder I tried to get home, the more I wound up in places like the hookup room, where they hardwired me into this mess. Or lost in that pre-teen's nightmare, Witch Bay.
Back at my virtual brain, I began to see a pattern, to get the gist of
it. I started doing the inner-body tanks, the VR parlors. Even took a
holiday, on a charming little offworld called Eleusia. Best location this
side of Earth, 2009. But when I pressed my luck, I found myself at last
on the planetoid Desertia. Wasteland, shattered cities, emptiness. What
had happened? A simple error in my program--or theirs?