Upon the Mirror Sea


Upon the Mirror Sea is longform science fiction. It is a work in progress. You can follow the RSS feed for updates.

Like everyone else at Shanghai's top university, Mona Xu is a neikonaut: mind soaked in psychedelics, intertwined with a supercomputer, she does things in there she can barely imagine sober. She's also a clinician, helping her patients deal with dangerous mental debris that this process leaves behind. And she's the student of the illustrious Dr. Deng — who insists she has a bright future, if she can focus her thesis away from certain attractive dead ends. She shouldn't be thinking about the Mirror Sea at all. They gave her pills to take if she starts.

That's hard, when the Mirror Sea surrounds her. Shanghai has pried open countless portholes into its own surveillance system, from tiny LCDs to ten-story quasigrams, to watch the city's motion make the Ripples. They're not really alive, of course. Not unless we choose to see intention, intelligence, agency, in the way they move. Not unless we give them life. The city's interest in chasing Ripples is becoming an obsession. It made Mona do dangerous things, once, and she'd prefer to forget that.

But she's about to find something in a patient's mind that pushes her back to that boundary between reality and delusion, observer and observed. Back to the Mirror Sea. Weaving between her drab clinical daytime and nocturnal, electrifying dimensions of self and city, she'll soon find herself at the dead center of a decades-long deceit that once nearly ripped China apart. The Ripples have something they shouldn't, Dr. Deng knows something she won't say, and Mona's dead-end research might be the decisive weapon in a battle for consciousness itself.