Neurolink, M.M. Buckner, 2004, ISBN 0441011888
Two hundred years from now, Earth has become a toxic wasteland. Everyone lives in domes. Global warming has pushed the temperate climates farther north, rendering the area around the equator uninhabitable. Corporations called coms have takien over, ruling billions of protes, or “protected persons” (actually, little better than slaves).
Dominic Jedes is about to become president of ZahlenBank, the only institution more powerful than the coms. He isn’t just the son of Richter Jedes, the bank’s founder, he is an exact genetic copy of his father. He directs the bank to give two thousand protes their freedom, trappin them in a rusting, malfunctioning submarine at the bottom of the ocean. They are supposed to die, but they don’t. They broadcast an untraceable and continuous message over the Net, encouraging others to join them. The free protes get thousands of takers.
Every minute that the message is broadcast, ZahlenBank’s financial condition is damaged. Dominic is forced to go to the sub, and somehow shut off that message. For someone who has spent his life in filtered air, and with the finest in designer medicines in his bloodstream, when Dominic enters the sub, he feels like he has descended into hell. It’s hot, stinking, packed with people, and the oxygen-generating system is on the verge of collapse. People are constantly putting up walls everywhere, so any attempt to reach the bridge quickly becomes impossible. Within minutes, Dominic feels like he has contracted some major disease. When he first reaches the sub, Dominic wants to reach the bridge, expose the sub’s location, have everyone arrested, and get back to cleanliness as soon as possible. The longer he remains on the sub, the more sympathy he has for these people, and the more he wants to help them, instead of turning them in.
This is a strong, well done piece of writing. It has good characters, good society building, and an interesting story. The reader will not go wrong with this novel.