I am searching for the title of a book I probably read between 1996 and 2005. The cover of the book, if I remember it correctly, was a traditional "high tech" background with a young lady in a mini skirt. That's actually relevant because the main character (the young lady) has a split personality and one of her personalities is promiscuous.

The two central technologies of the book are:

  • Chip implants to the brain that connect the user to the "internet" of the future. Software lets kids change the people around them into NPC monsters for games.

  • The space travel, which is through somewhat wormhole-ish gateways. Travel through the "wormholes" is not safe, requiring people with a particular form of madness to see the (if I recall correctly) "dragons" hiding in the ether. One of the young lady's split personalities has this particular mental disorder and she saves a ship by admitting to the personality and allowing it to help navigate. If I recall correctly, the "wormholes" existed at specific nexus that required days or longer to reach through conventional space flight.

Groups of people or political factions in the story embrace psychological issues (such as OCD) and the book's story line revolves around the value of all kinds of people when given the correct circumstances. One of the sub-stories was an older gentleman tasked with something particularly onerous. His facial tattoos that identified his nature could not be tattoos at all. His particular condition drove him to draw the complex tattoo afresh each morning for fear that the sharp lines would blur with aging skin. His nature drove him to over-focused concentration to the point where a computer complained that he was lacking nutrition. He ordered "something frothy."

Another character was a young man who wanted the best electronics in his head possible. That was considered illegal (chips were implanted at birth, the quality of the chip was based on wealth). He had a line like, "you might as well install a zipper in my skull because I'll be back for more." In the end, one of the factions pulled him in for his hacking skills.

The story was how the young lady learned to accept her split personalities (at the beginning of the story, all she knew was that time went missing from her life and things appeared that she had no idea obtaining). As the story progressed, she had to rely on the particular skills and psychological issues of each personality to overcome problems.

Can anyone remember the title to this book?

  • I voted to close my own question when @gowenfawr pointed out that I had asked this question once before two years ago. Some advice, my young friends. Avoid getting old for as long as you can. It stinks.
    – JBH
    Nov 27, 2022 at 5:14
  • It's still better than the only alternative :-) Nov 29, 2022 at 6:49

1 Answer 1


C.S. Friedman: This Alien Shore

This novel has every element you mention: A young lady with multiple personalities (one promiscous), horrors in hyperspace, tech implants. etc.

Read this review for more detail.

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  • 1
    The bit about the zipper is actually a hinge. The character Phoenix says: "And you may as well put hinges on that piece of my skull you're cutting out, 'cause you can bet that when Sitech or Omniware comes up with something new to add, I'll want that installed, too." Nov 25, 2022 at 15:53
  • If accepted, this is a dupe of this and this and this. (@JBH, finding dupes is a good thing. If this is the book you're looking for, click on the check mark beside the answer to toggle it from greyed out to filled in.
    – gowenfawr
    Nov 25, 2022 at 15:53
  • @gowenfawr That's hilarious, it's a duplicate of my own question from two years ago with a fairly large chunk of the same concepts asked in the question and yet didn't appear in searches before asking the question. Stack Exchange could use synonyms in searches to their advantage. But I've voted to close.
    – JBH
    Nov 27, 2022 at 3:57

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