Weekend reading: an augmented reality murder mystery

Bill Shunn writes, "The second and concluding part of my science fiction novelette 'Our Dependency on Foreign Keys' is available now at the online magazine Across the Margin (part one).

"The story takes place at a cocktail party in a flooded New York City, where most people wear augmented-reality contact lenses. Environment, economics, and information technology collide in a tale of murder, reputation, and AIs so advanced they run directly on the fabric of spacetime."

Fran needed a drink. Forty people. That's all this party was supposed to be. Instead, there were eighty-seven, and that was just in the living room. One of whom was there to murder him.

But instead of heading to the AutoBar, Fran pinged Hondo again. "The situation here's out of hand, big guy," he subvocalized. "Where are you?"

The cursor on the PET's secure feed continued to blink. Was Hondo giving him the silent treatment because of the party crashers or was something more sinister up?

Fran took off his retro, wood-framed spex and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I feel like an interloper in my own apartment," he shouted over the noise and music. He had to bellow over the noise and music.

"It's a great party, Franny," Kareem Foster said, sounding amused. The crowd had them both backed up against the wall.

Being called Franny made Fran grit his teeth, but he let it slide. His friends didn't seem to care that he hated it. "You're the planner here," Fran said. "You have to say that."

Kareem had secured the sponsorships, designed the environments, crafted the terms and conditions, and laid in all the supplies. The work was far beneath Kareem's training in molecular biology, but since neither of them could work in that field any longer, Fran liked to help him stay busy.

"You know I'm the harshest critic of my own work," Kareem said. "Just relax and enjoy this, Franny. I remember when you would have killed for attention like this."

Our Dependency on Foreign Keys
[William Shunn/Across the Margin]