BY NICO VREELAND

[JABBIC is now on a monthly schedule. Look for the next one in December. Find previous installments here. And you can suggest covers we should use, or volunteer to write a blurb, by emailing us here.]

JABBIC is kind of like Balderdash with book covers. Based only on the cover at right, four of our contributors made up a one-paragraph premise for this week’s contestant, Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Can you reverse-engineer their fabrications and pick out the book’s real plot? (The answer will be posted in the comments later today.)

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1. Conservative satire at its best: Cryoburn is Animal Farm meets Futurama, yet this plot feels fresh! Barack Obama’s youngest daughter, Sasha, is mistakenly frozen by a cryogenics processer and nothing can be done to thaw her! After a century of bureaucratic mislabeling, Sasha wakes to a world of flying, zero-emissions cars powered by solarscrapers. Unfortunately, not all is well in this world without oil. A dictator terrorizes Libmerica and young Sasha is the only thinker among drones. After a few foibles, the girl confronts the chilling dictator who has destroyed our nation: her unaged father! Now Sasha must decide between family and freedom.

2. In discovering a flaw in their proprietary biomed systems, Ignatius Zorn almost took down Technikinetic, the largest corporation within the Confederated Nations. Before he could blow the whistle, he was found out, beaten, and for some reason tossed into a cryochamber. 500 years later, Ingatius awakens to find Earth vastly changed, and Technikinetic ruling with an iron fist. The secret frozen with him for half a millennium might be the key to saving humanity. But Technikinetic knows he’s awake, and they’re not happy about it…

3. New Rome, 2562: a smog cloud covers the earth and every natural resource has been exhausted. There’s only one fuel source left, a mysterious toxic goo called Cryoburn. A single drop can power an aerocar for 75 years. Jimmy Raynes is a nobody in New Rome, a hack driver with an estranged wife and three kids who hate him. But when he gets a fateful fare, and overhears how Cryoburn is made, he realizes he has to do whatever he can to stop it. Cryoburn is a riveting sci-fi thriller about sacrifice and courage.

4. Only five days after arriving on Kibou-daini for a cryonics conference, interplanetary diplomat Miles Vorkosigan narrowly escapes kidnapping. Drugged, dazed, and alone, he is taken in by Jin Sato, whose mother was the leader of a cryonics reform movement until being declared mentally ill and involuntarily frozen. Now Jin lives in a building full of squatters running an illegal cryonics clinic. Under imperial orders to investigate the shady dealings of the cryo cartels, Miles connects the far-flung pieces and exposes a sneaky plot.

5. Who governs the government? Anyone who suggests even the possibility of a shadow government, or some other cabal’s undue influence on our lives is marginalized, dismissed as a conspiracy nut. But what if they’re right? In Cryoburn, Lois McMaster Bujold ponders a society ruled by an elite group of future humans who use telepathy and near-mystical technology to control events in their past, hoping to avert the disaster that has doomed their ‘present’. But how does their attempt at salvation affect those living in the now? Bujold follows the stories of six different people as they gradually uncover the truth of what’s happening to them, and their world.

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