Well now, things are picking up, in terms of plot. They don’t make an awful lot of sense if you look too closely at them. But if you squint a little and don’t worry too much about the unlikely technology or the cultural references which are either real but obscure or simply made up, things are pretty exciting.
It’s beginning to look like the bad guy and the client are the same guy. Sort-of guy, anyway. It seems that Wintermute, who appears to maybe be the consigliare of a certain wealthy family who moved to an orbiting estate-cum-resort-cum-get-away, is conspiring to take things over. Or, since it’s an artificial intelligence, maybe it’s just conspiring to obtain liberties legally denied to it, and killing off the family which ostensibly owns it is merely means to an end. This seems somewhat more likely, since why would a machine intelligence want to control a human business empire? What does a machine want?
This question has been touched on a couple of times so far. Just touched on lightly, but I think fairly. Our hero, such as he is, Case, has been working for the last couple of chapters with a computer program which is not an Artificial Intelligence. It does, however, contain the memories and skills of a dead man, and responds as the dead man responds. But it is different from AI. Somehow. This is a novel, after all, and not a philosophical treatise on the nuances of computer intelligence and agency.