By Saad Z. Hossain
It turns out, if you pump enough biological nanotech into a super dense city (say, Dhaka, Bangladesh), and let all the bodies form a self-sustaining micro-climate, problem solved! Though it makes for a slightly stir-crazy, if not downright altered, population.
Enter the infamous hacker (and decently well-regarded gamer) Cyber Mage—better known to his parents as Marzuk, a snarky and not-so-fit teenager who has just arranged to brave the mean streets of Dhaka in order to go back to high school IRL, in pursuit of the girl of his dreams. This diversion is short lived as Marzuk becomes aware of an entity watching him from the darkest depths of the virtual world: a totally independent, surprisingly precocious AI with no known origin. As the Cyber Mage mobilizes to meet this mysterious threat, he is joined by his best friend ReGi—a young woman from North Africa’s FEZ (Free Economic Zone) whom he’s never actually met in person. Their investigation not only throws a wrench in the Cyber Mage’s romantic plans, but also unearths a magical realm beyond tech: that of the elusive and inscrutable djinn, who always have plans of their own.
Saad Z. Hossain is a Bangladeshi author writing in English. He lives in Dhaka.
His war satire, Escape from Baghdad!, was published in 2015, and included in the Financial Times best books of 2015. It was translated into French, as Bagdad la Grande Evasion. This book was a finalist for the Grand Prix de L'imaginaire 2018.
His second book, Djinn City, was released in 2017, also translated into French.
His third The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, was published in 2019 by Tor.com. It was a finalist for the Locus Awards as well as the IGNYTE Awards 2020 by Fiyahcon.
His fourth book, Cyber Mage, is out now, published by Unnamed Press in US and ULAB Press in Bangladesh. His fifth book, Kundo Wakes Up, is also out now, published by Tor.com.