by Donald Kingsbury
ISBN 0765341956 (0-7653-4195-6)
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Softcover, Tor Science Fiction, 2002
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Book summary: A loving homage to Asimov, and dialogue with him--a triumph of galactic-scaled SF that is destined to be recognized as a classic in its own right
Eron Osa had faced the ultimate penalty. Not death, but the removal of his fam. Without the augmentation of his brain by his electronic familiar, he can barely function amidst the bewildering complexities of everyday life on Splendid Wisdom. Here, on the capital world of the galaxy's Second Empire, everyone from the meanest citizen to the ruling Pscholars has depended upon a fam since childhood. Without one, simply navigating the streets and levels of the planetary megalopolis is a paralyzing challenge. Lost along with such everyday survival skills were many of Eron's memories and his professional knowledge. The crime he committed must have been terrible to warrant such a dreadful punishment. If only he could remember what it was!
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