Circuit Of Heaven starts off with a 80 year history of the world starting from the year 2000. Apparently a brilliant scientist has figured out how to transfer consciousness to and from electronic simulators and real bodies. This culminates with the creation of “The Bin” where 99% of humanity has transfered themselves. There is no crime, disease or death in the Bin, though we learn in the rest of the book that doesn’t necessarily make it paradise.
All that is left on the outside (the real world) are the criminally insane and the religious zealots. And a few odd stragglers. Nemo, the main character in the book, is one of these stragglers. Abandoned by his parents in childhood when they entered the Bin without him—children were disallowed from entering the Bin when it was first created because they lacked the wisdom to choose, it was felt—he has stubbornly refused to enter, instead choosing to live the hard life of the outside with his nanny/best friend Lawrence the Dragon. Lawrence is a construct—3 individuals crammed together in one mind (they aren’t supposed to remember their original selves, but all constructs wake up after a while). Not only that he has been spliced with reptilian DNA so he really looks like a Dragon.
Nemo only visits his parents twice a year (you can visit the Bin at any time, but you can only stay 12 hours before you start hurting your real body). One day Nemo meets the girl of the dreams, but there’s a small problem—she lives in the Bin. Also, she seems to not be able to remember anything about who she really is—she has strange dreams at night that are as vivid as memories, but they aren’t hers. What will Nemo do? Enter the Bin to be with her or forget her and continue his life on the outside? She can’t leave since she lost her body on entering.
Dennis Danvers has an easy to read style—I absolutely flew through this book. He captures the feelings of love and friendship, loyalty and betrayal, and pain and anguish in vivid detail. The book may have a science fiction setting, but it is really about humanity. Are emotions real, even if you are “living” in a computer simulation? Are constructs real people? Does living in a place where you are guaranteed not to die let you really live, or do you lose something essential to the human experience? But even though these lofty questions are covered, they are not harped on, merely presented (some just inferred) as part of the book’s setting. The real story is the love between Nemo and the girl, and even if you ignore everything else and focus on that, it’s still a well done and enjoyable book.