Queen City Jazz
by Kathleen Ann Goonan
In Verity's world, nanotech plagues decimated the population after an initial renaissance of utopian nanotech cities. Verity has been raised, an orphan, in a tiny Shaker revival community where all are forbidden contact with the Enlivened Cities. Yet as she grows up on the isolated farm, she is often drawn to the City of Dayton, abandoned nearby, and to its self-contained and still-functioning library. Her happy life is suddenly destroyed when the Shakers, in spite of their precautions, contract a nanotech plague that possesses them. Blaze, the only young man in the community and Verity's best friend, is shot by a crazed elder. And so Verity, with her dog Cairo - and the body of Blaze wrapped in a nanotech cocoon - sets off on a quest to the Enlivened City of Cincinnati. It is a place of legend, walled off from the rest of the world, where huge bio-engineered bees carry information through the streets and enormous nanotech flowers burst from the tops of strange buildings. It is the place where Blaze might be brought back from the brink of death. But Cincinnati is a city of dreams turned into nightmares, endlessly reliving the fantasies of its creator, a city that Verity must rule - or die.