Brain-Computer Interface

In the not to distant future, you may find yourself jacked into a computer using a Brain-computer interface. In The Century Next Door series, author John Barnes explores the concept in two of the books, Candle and The Sky So Big and Black. The stories come after the MeMe Wars, which take place in the first two books of the series.

In Candle, most of the human population has computer software which interacts directly with their brains call Resuna. The software interconnects everyone to One True, a central computer system that controls everyone's thoughts and emotions. A few humans, called "Cowboys", live out side of the system. Lobo is the last of them. A retired "Cowboy Hunter" is called up from retirement to hunt for Lobo. The Sky So Big and Black tell's story of Teri. She is a ecoprospector-in-training on Mars. Unfortunately for her, people are evacuating the Earth to try and avoid the Resuna software...


John Barnes second book's title is actually "The Sky So Big and Black".
The book "Candle", I think, is about the author's fear of having his mind controlled by a brain-resident meme. I believe its writing preceded the breakup of his marriage.
"The Sky So Big And Black" is about the effects of having parts of your memory removed in order to excise the mind-control program first introduced in "Candle". The book's writing followed the breakup of the author's marriage, and what is a marriage if not shared memory? If no one else remembers it, did it really ever happen?
If you can get past the author's grim, violent, and often misogynistic outlook in all of his earlier works, you can find a guy trying hard to improve himself. Of all the SciFi writers writing today, I think John Barnes most closely follows Heinlein's works, although his viewpoint is very skewed. In fact, as brilliant as his writing is, and as believable as his worlds are (Barnes is the author of "How to Build a Future"), Barnes' protagonists are, more often than not, not very likable people. This makes spending time with them sometimes very hard. However, in his latest series featuring Jak Jinnaka, Barnes achieves the generally lighter tone (but keeps his theme of the evils of mind-controlling women) of Heinlein's juveniles.