The Spiraling Web a Free Science Fiction E-Book by Ryan Somma

Posted on 29th February 2008 by Ryan Somma in Creative Commons Works - Tags:
The Spiraling Web

The Spiraling Web

Years of writing and rewriting this novel and peddling it around to dozens of agents have made me realize it could eventually be overcome by events and never be read. This is a hard-SF cyberpunk novel that I wrote in 2003, and have been rewriting ever since.

Here’s the pitch:

The cycs are not a computer virus destroying the Internet as everyone thinks, but a sentience naturally evolved out of our information systems. Flatline, a hacker with seemingly supernatural powers over information systems and a demonically disfigured avatar, has assumed leadership of the AI hive, overseeing their domination of the World Wide Web and plots their conquest of the world outside it.

Zai, handle “BlackSheep,” a blind girl in a world where medical science has all but eliminated the condition, travels to find her missing online friend Omni; however, an emotionally traumatic childhood experience with a virtual friend will not allow her to believe in the possibility of Artificial Intelligence.

Devin, handle “Omni,” straddles both worlds, the virtual and the physical. He sees a war, where one side’s victory, human or artificial intelligence, means the tragic demise of the other’s entire civilization. When Flatline locks him out of the Internet, Devin must successfully navigate the strange, alien world known as Real Life if he is to prevent total tragedy.

What are the ethical dilemmas we face as chatbots grow so convincing, they begin to deceive people, especially children? How will culture evolve in a world where we cannot build on others’ ideas because everything is copyrighted or patented? Who owns emergent intelligence in information systems? It provokes speculation as it entertains.

Available for online purchase through LuLu.

Also available as a free downloadable PDF. Lemme know what you think, even if it’s harsh criticism. : )

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License, meaning you can make all the copies you want, remix it, rewrite it, and even make money off it, but you have to give me credit for the original work and you have to give your derivatives a similar copy-left license.

To make writing derivatives easier, here’s the word document.

Have fun with it!

I also have a sequel written, titled Entropy of Imagination, which I will post sometime this summer once I have it polished. It will also be CC’ed.


  1. Do you get money if people buy the book?

    Comment by Nick Hamden — February 29, 2008 @ 3:18 pm

  2. Ryan,

    I second Nick’s question. I also think it is fantastic that you finally released your novel and I look forward to reading it. I’ll make sure to mention it on twitter, myspace, facebook, and every other social outlet I come across.


    P.S. Welcome to the age of the self-publisher. ;)

    Comment by BMF — February 29, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

  3. I highly recommend this book. I found it to be quite enjoyable both in the unique take on a common concept in science fiction and the engaging characterization. I look forward to the sequel!

    Comment by Anonymous — February 29, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

  4. I get $1.35 if you buy the hardcopy of the book. I tried to make the E-book free through LuLu, but when I do, the link to download it disappears. My revenue for the download is $0.01 through lulu, so please reference the links in this post if you like it.

    I’m really not interested in making money off this book. I’ve got other stuff I’m going to be putting online, also as Creative Commons works. I’ve realized being read is much more important to me than making a living off it. : )

    Anonymous – Thanks for the compliment!

    Comment by ideonexus — March 1, 2008 @ 12:15 am

  5. Interestingly as the Mr resolution take to be this…

    Comment by valaerory — July 2, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  6. […] my book, The Spiraling Web, originally written in 2002, I talked about two super computers battling it out on a Chessboard in […]

    Pingback by Ideonexus’ Futurism Scorecard | — July 31, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

  7. Brother Somma,

    Your pictures of Thylacosmilus on Flickr was very helpful to me today. I would love to share this link with you. You might find Mr. Anderson’s ideas interesting. Considering that you have similar notions vis-a-vis your work.

    Thanks again for the pic!

    Sincere Regards
    Ateeq Ahmad

    Comment by ateeq ahmad — July 12, 2009 @ 12:40 am

  8. Cool stuff! Very interesting. Thanks for the free PDF file.

    Comment by ScienceFIctionFan — July 23, 2009 @ 11:48 pm

  9. Hello! I bought your book from amazon. I was reading it and a wii remote fell on my kindle breaking the screen. So I was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish it until my new one arrived. I thought I’d just say that its amazing that you give this book away as a free PDF. Due to your generosity I won’t have to wait a week and a half to finish this book, which I was thoroughly enjoying. I was almost done with it too.

    Comment by Eric — January 3, 2011 @ 3:54 am

  10. Eric,

    You just totally made my day. Thank you for sharing. : )


    Comment by ideonexus — January 9, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

  11. Ryan,

    In a weekend I have managed to read all of your books via kindle… Great reads!!
    and highly recommended to any sci-fi fan… Anything else in the works for the Flatline series??? Keep up the great reads… My only disappointment at this point is that you have nothing else out there for me to grab on my kindle…

    Comment by Harry — January 30, 2011 @ 9:40 am

  12. @Harry

    Thanks so much for the praise! I’ve got a collection of notes for a third final book to the “Flatline Series”. Your comment made me pull those notes out and start laying them into an outline. Hopefully, if I can find the time to get away from my programming tasks, I can tackle another book. : )


    Comment by ideonexus — February 1, 2011 @ 12:23 am

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