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'Virtual Light' plot summary

Chevette Washington lives among thousands of homeless on the Bay Bridge and is a bicycle messenger in San Francisco. She stumbles into a party of the super-rich after her last delivery and impulsively steals a case with sunglasses from a guy who annoys her. The glasses are a new kind of virtual reality unit called 'Virtual Light' which directly feed the optic nerve with EMP to create images. The program in the glasses is top secret, which leads to the courier who owned the glasses being murdered and Chevette being hunted by the ruthless killer Loveless. She manages to get away from him, but as she tries to get help from her ex-boyfriend Lowell, she is arrested by SF policemen. ¶

Berry Rydell is an ex-policeman in Los Angeles who lost his job after killing a man who held his family hostage. He was opted for by the famous TV show 'Cops in Trouble' but was dropped when a more sensational case turned up. He then worked as a driver for IntenSecure but was suspended after some hackers of the 'Republic of Desire' sent him on a fake operation. His boss at IntenSecure got him a job as a driver with the San Francisco policemen which investigate the theft of the VL glasses and the subsequent murder of the courier. He meets Chevette as she is being arrested on the bridge. ¶

As Chevette sees Loveless with the policemen and tells Rydell that he killed on of her friends, Rydell decides to flee with Chevette. They get rid of the car and think of what to do when Rydell meets the woman who sat next to him on the plane. They decide to drive with her to Los Angeles, but after they both fall asleep they find Loveless in the passenger cabin. He tells them that the woman is working for the same company as he, and he also tells them that the program in the glasses is a plan to rebuild San Francisco with huge, self-sufficent towers. They manage to escape Loveless by putting an amphetamine drug in his drink. ¶

Rydell decides to go to Sublett's place, his colleague at IntenSecure. He lives in a trailer camp in the desert which belongs to a sect that thinks television is the ultimate manifestation of God. From there, Rydell establishes contact with Lowell and manages to get access to the 'Republic of Desire'. As he tells the hackers of the rebuilding scheme, they decide to help him. Rydell then agrees on a meeting with the policemen to give them the glasses back. While Chevette and Sublett go to the producer of 'Cops in Trouble' and tell her the whole story, Rydell manages to overpower Loveless attacking Chevette, and the policemen are arrested by anti-terrorist units called by the hackers. In the end, Rydell, Sublett, and Chevette are signed up for a new episode of 'Cops in Trouble'. ¶

Novel information

'Idoru' plot summary

Colin Laney has the special ability to make out patterns and 'nodal points' in huge quantitives of data and thus predict certain aspects of the future. This was made possible by dosing him with the experimental substance SB-5 during his youth in an orphanage. After working for Slitscan, a tabloid celebrity show, he changed to Out of Control, a counter-investigative show, but they dropped him after they found out that most SB-5 test subjects turned into homicidal celebrity stalkers. Rydell, the night security man at his hotel, tells him about a job as a net runner in Tokyo. He decides to go to the interview, which is held by Yamazaki and Blackwell, the bodyguard of Rez, of the very popular rock band Lo/Rez. ¶

Chia McKenzie is member of the San Francisco chapter of the worldwide Lo/Rez fan club. Chia is sent to Tokyo by her chapter to find out about latest rumors which indicate that Rez intends to marry the idoru Rei Toei, a completely artificial media star. On her flight she meets Maryalice who uses Chia to smuggle something through customs. Chia can't find out anything via the Japanese Lo/Rez fan club, but shortly after she learns that she is followed by the Russians. ¶

Laney is contracted by ParagonAsia Dataflow, the Lo/Rez shell corporation, to find out more about Rez's intentions and the marriage. But since Laney can't process Rez's data, he insists on a personal meeting. At dinner at the Western World, Laney meets Rez and the idoru, but shortly after the party is attacked by Russian mercenaries. According to Blackwell, the Russians thought that Rez possesses something belonging to them. ¶

Chia and Masahiko, the brother of a chapter member, go to the love hotel Di to port anonymously. They are supported by Masahiko's friends in the Walled City, a kind of multi-user domain. Soon afterwards, Maryalice, her boyfriend, and a Russian mercenary show up. The thing Chia smuggled turns out to be a heavily proscribed nanotech assembler which the Russians are not allowed to import legally. ¶

Laney accesses the data again with both the global fan database activity and the idoru data added. Now he can see the nodal points of Rez and Rei who are on the verge of merging, and also realizes that the bio-module localized at the Hotel Di will be some kind of medium for the marriage. ¶

As they show up at the hotel, it is surrounded by several thousand mourning Japanese fans, since a rumor was spread that Rez died. This rumor was initiated by Zona, Chia's friend in Mexico, who realized that Chia was in trouble. Meanwhile, Rez and Blackwell were sent to the hotel by the idoru to cut a deal with the Russian. They exchange the nanotech assembler with a small island in the Tokyo Bay belonging to the Lo/Rez management. Chia, after meeting Rez in persona, becomes less and less involved in her fan club and rather spends her time in the Walled City. ¶

Novel information

'All Tomorrow's Parties' plot summary

Colin Laney, who during his childhood was regularly dosed with a substance which made him sensitive to patterns and 'nodal points' in vast amount of data, now lives in a cardboard box in Shinjuku subway station, Tokyo, and is seriously ill because of the substance. After the events of 'Idoru', he was employed by the management of the band Lo/Rez to assist Rez and the idoru Rei Toei with their planned marriage. Now he is obsessed by the media figure Cody Harwood, a multi-billionaire PR genius. He believes the a major change of the world is on the verge of happening, and he feels it has something to do with the idoru and Harwood. ¶

This is the reason why he sends Berry Rydell to San Francisco. Rydell is currently working as a security guard in Los Angeles for a global conveniance store chain from Singapore, the 'Lucky Dragon'. After arriving in San Francisco, he recieves a package which he finds out contains the idoru's holoprojector. His task is to take care of the projector, which Harwood's men are looking for on the bridge.  ¶

Harwood dosed himself with the same substance Laney was exposed to and thus feels the change is coming as well. His only aim is to remain as powerful as before after the change. His latest project is installing Nanofax units in all 'Lucky Dragon' branches over the world, a technology to create an exact facsimile of an object at any distance. ¶

As Harwood's men fail to get the holoprojector from Rydell, who was able to escape with the help of his ex-girlfriend Chevette, they try to burn down the bridge. Meanwhile, Laney and the idoru, who are supported by the Walled City denizens, chase Harwood through information space and manage to get hold of him with the help of the deaf boy Silencio. Harwood is then killed by one of his own men. Rydell and Chevette find together again, Laney's haunted mind finds peace, and the 'big change' is a perfectly human idoru stepping out of every Nanofax unit in the world. ¶

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