A key for
Zed by Joanna Kavenna
Random House Audio, 2020
- Guy Matthias – Owner of surveillance-based, mega-tech giant Beetle (imagine a merger of Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, and the NSA), for which most of the world's people work; Matthiasd is obsessed with wealth, his wife, Elska, who has asked for a divorce, immortality, and his concept of Real Virtuality
- Sarah Coates – Matthais' personal assistant
- Lifechain – Predictive algorithms, which by predicting all possibilities of what a person might do every day, should preempt crime by enabling authorities to pre-arrest people who are predicted to commit a crime (think Philip K Dick's Minority Report)
- Douglas Varley – Employee of Beetle in charge of the Lifechain. Since the Lifechain is presumed to be perfectly programmed, when glitches happen, it's assumed they are due to human error, specifically, error on Varley's part.
- Scrace Dickens – Varley's digital Very Intelligent Personal Assistant (Veep)
- BeetleBands – Super-smart wrist watches that almost everyone wears, which monitor and report every thought, feeling, action
- BeetleBits – Beetle's cryptocurrency, required for basic functioning in society, and which you can earn only by working for Beetle
- Bespoke – Beetle's own "newspeak," which uses dumbed-down vocabulary so that everyone, especially Guy Matthias, can understand what's being communicated
- UK – The "most advanced benign regulatory environment in the world"
- Zed – The term for instability in the Lifecchain, the gap between the presumed perfection and anomalies in reality
- ASPs – Anomalous Social Phenomena, that is, glitches in reality not anticipated by the Lifechain
- George Mann – Employee of Beetle who murders wife/children
- Eloise Jayne – Officer in charge of figuring out the "reason" for the murder; works for National Anti-Terrorism and Security Office
- Little Dorrit – Eloise's personal assistant
- ANT – Anti-Terror Droid, a headless, armored droid
- Lionel Bigman – Mistaken for George Mann, killed by ANT
- Mercury Cars – Self-driving vehicles piloted by Very Intelligent Automated Driving Systems (VIADS)
- ArgusEyes – AI-driven camera survelliance system
- Francesca (Frannie) Amerensekera – Hacker-turned–Beetle IT guru
- David Strachey – Editor-in-chief of the Beetle-owned Times, Daily Star, Sun, and the Daily Record
- Wiltshire Jones – Robotic reporter, a.k.a., robohack, working for David Strachey
- LOTUS – League of the Unverifieds, rebel group ("unverified" = doesn't work for Beetle, someone who has fallen out of Real Virtuality)
- Bel Ami, a.k.a., Millor Amic, a.k.a., Belle Amie – member of LOTUS.
- "Millor Amic was a hospitable person and he also allowed several good friends to share his melancholy office, among them an Estonian playwright called Parim Sober, a Finnish librarian called Paras Ystava, a Hungarian schoolteacher called Legjobb Barat, a Latvian blogger called Labakais Draugs, a Lithuanian molecular biologist called Geriausias Draugas, a Maltese doctor called Aqwa Habib, a Polish philosopher called Najlepszy Przyjaciel, a Swedish fitness instructor called Basta Van, a Chinese artist called Zuì Hăo de Péngyǒu, a Korean yoga teacher called Gajang Chinhan Chingu, an Arabian epigrammatist called 'Afdal Sadiq, a Turkish architect called En Iyi Arkadas, an Igbo poet called Ezi Enyi, and an Indonesian schoolteacher called Sahabat."
- "Another thing was quite improbable, and yet real: Parim Sober, Paras Ystava, Legjobb Barat, Labakais Draugs, Geriausias Draugas, Aqwa Habib, Najlepszy Przyjaciel, Basta Van, Zuì Hăo de Péngyǒu, Gajang Chinhan Chingu, 'Afdal Sadiq, En Iyi Arkadas, Ezi Enyi, and Sahabat were all the same person. They were, in fact, all Bel Ami."
- Sylvie Blanchette and Pascal Charpentier – members of LOTUS, once distinguished scientists, who had wrecked their careers by "refusing to allow VITs to help with their research, on the grounds that VITs had been created and developed by Beetle and could—presumably therefore—be hacked by Beetle. Unfortunately it was illegal to refuse to employ sentient beings, on any grounds, and so Charpentier and Blanchette were accused of various forms of prejudice."
- Demetriou Nikolaidis – Nobel-prize winning economist upon whose research BeetleInspire was based.
- BeetleInspire – "People were absolutely free to resist the nudging and urging of BeetleInspire. Companies, societies, have always urged their populations to choose one path and not another: to vote one way, to buy one thing and not another, to behave in one way and not another. BeetleInspire was just the most technologically advanced example of a venerable and—in this case—virtuous process."
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