|Authors:||Jesse Bull and Logan McHenry|
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Tokyo, 2034 A.D. Japan has relaxed her borders to allow an overdue influx of immigration, and with it subsequent street crime and true multilingual diversity. The world’s first transition to an entirely cashless banking system has created a society completely reliant on the Personal Life Assistant™, or PLA, a mobile device that acts as phone, wallet, keys, identification and more. Over the course of roughly one week a story of technological security, financial terrorism and socioeconomic upheaval unfolds around a small cast of characters, including J., a hard-drinking American banker, Sana, a media personality and journalist, and Shade, an underground tech kingpin shrouded in mystery. The Wharf is a subversive, parodical black comedy and also a crime/comedy novel penned by two Americans with a combined twelve years’ experience working, studying and living in Japan.
Excerpt, Chapter 7:
Patronage was sparse this morning, but a few elderly regulars brooded silently over their infused beverages and baked goods. A more youthful table dressed in suits and ties and with briefcases at legs spoke in earnest, hushed tones amidst frequent nervous glances over shoulders. The young salarymen and salarywoman were visibly distraught. J. guessed they must have the day off too.
Excerpt, Chapter 12:
He soon revealed himself, however, to a procession of squealing, shopping-bag-toting girls, the battalion wielding easily twenty or thirty bags in total, so that each step threw them off kilter in what Laurent must have thought to be a curiously alluring way, as he approached one of them or the other. Some suited men followed soon after them, nipping at the girls’ heels and waving PLAs at them, and shoving at Laurent when they saw him, but Kita chased them off, and the girls.
Excerpt, Chapter 16:
Manabe turned to face him. Behind him a smaller garden displayed a lonely, exquisite Everpink™ Sakura tree, fallen petals sprinkling the hushed moss greens of the garden’s floor, already near the end of a preprogrammed shedding cycle (the fifth or sixth Manabe had enjoyed this year). This was the first time Shade’d seen an Everpink™ with his own eyes, having only read, or more accurately skimmed, about the trees’ R&D in one of the biotech printed periodicals he still received via P.O.S.T. a while back.
“Thanks, have a seat.” Manabe had now risen to his full height and crossed his arms and tilted his head back, looking Shade over as if he hadn’t seen him in some time.
Excerpt: Chapter 8 [The Wharf]
The surfaces his fingers deciphered were wet and alien. As he felt along the curious terrain, a few fingers slipped into a strange cavity and hit something warm and squishy. It was his tongue. He withdrew his hand and held it up, and it was painted red and globules of red matter glazed his fingers here and there. The Chihuahua barked and splashed in the pooling blood before bounding up his chest, covering the man in miniature red paw prints. He confusedly reached to brush it away with the gun, still held weakly in his right hand, but it danced playfully and growled and buried its head down into a place to the left of his blurry vision.
Excerpt: Chapter 18 [The Wharf]
Evan was in his room now, hurriedly unloading the cardboard boxes he’d hauled up earlier as Laurent now managed to gather himself and join him upstairs opposite. Pabst knelt hard into the concrete floor as he threw open in clockwise succession and emptied the contents of Kita’s bespoke IDW-skirting beer consoles onto the general floor area behind the defensive wall of LC sofas he had fashioned 30s previous. Everything went dark. From over on the open wall-panel side of the compound came a brash Far East Asian whooooouuuooooooouh!!!!!!, and now from up above a clear keeeel zem allllll!!!! was audible. There was silence save the whooping of the dogs that had now swelled to Cerberian proportions. The boys waited.