Cyberpunk Review » Manna

September 13, 2008


Book Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2003-2004 (?)

Arthur: Marshall Brain

Category: Online Cyberpunk Books


Marshall Brain

‘How Stuff Works,’ Cyberpunk edition. Perhaps better known for his “How Stuff Works” website, Mr. Marshall Brain has since started his own site with some essays and stories. Out of curiosity, I did a search for “cyberpunk” on and they returned an article on “How Hackers Work,” so he/they seem to have an idea about cyberpunk. Manna also reflects this.


Synopsis. The story is told first-person by Jacob Lewis105, a burger-flipper at Burger-G when, on May 17, 2010, the end began. A simple PC in a back corner of the Burger-G had software installed on it called “Manna” (as in manage) that could micro-manage the workers via voice synthesis through headsets. Before long, other businesses replaced managers with Manna and clones. Eventually, this lead to a two-tiered society of the uber-rich execs and the minimum-wage slaves… until robotic technology advanced to the point where the slavers are no longer required, and a good portion of the human population ended up in unemployment tenement “projects.”


Short, but sweet. Brain’s story is surprisingly good, but the ending did leave me wanting more. I wanted to see if the Manna-net would try to take over the paradise Jacob finds. But for eight “chapters” of 2-3 pages each, it is a good, easy read. If only it was in PDF or some e-text form…

This post has been filed under Internet Find, Cyberpunk Books by Mr. Roboto.


September 14, 2008

Tim Riley said:

Excellent story. Kind of a short but sweet “1984″ with a where we are headed bent but not much commentary on the part of the protagonist about how he feels about things as in 1984. Loved it.. really made me think about things a little differently.

January 11, 2011

stephen said:

Marshall Brain is fascinated by the technology that surrounds us every day, and no one is better at explaining in simple-to-understand language the workings behind restaurant pagers, solar cells, yo-yos, and animal camouflage. As the founder of the immensely popular Web site, Marshall and his team of award-winning writers have enlightened millions of readers on thousands of topics.

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