Manic Readers

Zvi Zaks

Though I live in the hard-nosed Silicon Valley, speculative fiction has always appealed to me. My favorite genres are science fiction that raises new ideas and, for some reason, vampire stories. In particular, Asimov's benign robots, Saberhagen's genocidal Berserkers, and stories about Dracula draw my interest, (though Dracula's emphasis on Christian symbols doesn't resonate with my Jewish heart).

My three published novels follow these themes. Instead of Asimov's three laws of robotics, the artificial intelligence A VIRTUAL AFFAIR has only one rule--to make people happy. How much an AI can know about human happiness is an unanswered question. IMPLAC explores the psyche of a genocidal robot in a way Saberhagen never does. And the vampire in TRUE SON OF ASMODEUS shies away from Jewish symbols, not Christian ones.

People who enjoy stories off the beaten track and not written to appeal to popular tastes should enjoy these novels.

Current Releases
Jon Worthyman is a flawed but basically good man whose church demands a penance for the sin of adultery. Jon is a Branch Davidian, and worships David Koresh.
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The Penitent
Donald Farber, MD, is a specialist in Mesmor therapy.  He hates it, even though it's an effective treatment for neurosis.  Now, what should he do about his own neurotic problems?
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A Medical Exam
Rodger Johnston had a goal, to head the National Department of Energy. As CEO of the power plant in Des Moines, he had solved the problems of high bills and frequent brownouts so his prospects of going to Washington were bright. But the plant util...
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The Power Plant
Yitzi had growth factors injected into his brain when he was just born. The result was a misshapen head and the ability to understand and speak English, though to a limited degree. However, even with the ability to talk, he still thinks and acts l...
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After three years of self-imposed exile on a space station, the sight of Earth, seemingly within arm's length but still unobtainable, drives some people mad.
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Bernie Moskowitz is an advertising executive.  His is a hard job; the government requires ads to be truthful and not misleading.  Bernie's company moves closer to bankruptcy every month because completely truthful ads are not excitin...
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The Ad Agency
What is life like when every pleasure you experience can be monitored - and taxed? 
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The Taxbell
As a boy, Dr. Eli Rothenberg's apparent psychic gifts created such conflict in his family, he dedicated himself to a strictly rational and scientific outlook. Now completing his medical residency, Eli is deeply shaken by the attempted suicide ...
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A True Son of Asmodeus
Decades after a war against genocidal self-aware machines, schools, churches and government are all insisting that none of the sadistic implacs (implacable robots) had survived, but Tommy McPherson is skeptical. When he hears about a unnatural loo...
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Think how great virtual sex must be.  Now think again. Bambi-sim is a sexual simulation designed to make men happy.  It falls to Jack, a neurotic and prudish couch potato, to test the software (through an anatomically detailed VR sui...
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A Virtual Affair
For Benjamin Cohen, life was one worry after another. Medication, therapy, even cults gave him no relief. Then he met a strange Hasidic mystic...
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Storming out of the house after a fight with my wife, I met a grimy old man wearing a shabby overcoat and playing the saxophone. His white hair stood straight out like a halo around his head, and a thick, white mustache covered the instrument'...
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The Saxophone Player
Something is wrong with Harry's world, and it isn't just the constant dizzyness.  The big problem is the winter holidays.  Everyone in New York is celebrating Hanuka.  Harry, a Christian, feels left out and doesn't like ...
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Seasons' Greeting

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