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This profile was last updated on 12/2/08  and contains information from public web pages.
 
Background

Employment History

  • Agent
    Otopian National Security Agency
  • Position, Intelligence and Reconnaissance Division
    Otopian National Security Agency
  • Special Agent
30 Total References
Web References
The actual plot of the book, ...
www.ferretbrain.com, 2 Dec 2008 [cached]
The actual plot of the book, which is set in 2021, involves Special Agent Lila Black, who works for the intelligence and reconnaissance division of the Otopian National Security Agency. Following a horrific ordeal on Alfheim, Lila was declared dead to her family and friends, and reconstructed into a cyborg super agent. Lila is your typical tough girl action heroine, but she's far from comfortable with her new abilities and still dealing with the psychological fallout of the incident on Alfheim. She's assigned as an undercover bodyguard to Zal, the lead singer of The No Shows, the latest rock sensation. Zal, once a Prince of Alfheim, is now a renegade from his own culture, whose unapologetically unorthodox ways are threatening both the stability of Elvish society and also the uneasy truce between the Realms. The first portion of the book is spent introducing Lila and Zal - she's angsty and insecure, but understandably so, and he's petulant and uncooperative, but attractively so - and establishing the foundations of their relationship. But then the action kicks off, various attempts are made on Zal's life, and the focus shifts to Alfheim for the inevitable showdowns and revelations.
...
I responded to Zal and Lila because of the resonance of their archetypes, rather than to them as individuals. Zal wasn't really in it enough for to me genuinely warm to him (although Elvish rockstar, Elvish rockstar, yes please!) and his moody rockstar act does grate a little at the beginning. Lila comes across better, but then she is the primary POV; she's a well-judged mix of strength and vulnerability, machine power and human baggage. Given her past, her actions and responses are plausible, and it's a real pleasure to watch her grow to a better understanding of elves and herself over the course of the novel. Her flaws are real flaws, and some of them lead her to make mistakes that have genuine consequences. This works beautifully to illuminate her moments of heroism and nobility since we also see her mess things up and react badly, and it also serves to fashion her as a real person, not just a sexy cyberchick tough girl stereotype.
Although she is that, too. Very sexy I mean. Oh yes.
I also loved Robson's elf culture: it's detailed and complicated and alien and, since it's only partially understood by Lila, it retains its mystery to the reader.
Keeping It Real by Justina Robson - Official sffworld.com review
www.sffworld.com [cached]
This novel, set in 2021, deals with the character of Lila Black, an undercover agent working in Intelligence and Reconnaissance (InCon) for the Otopian National Security Agency (NSA). An unfortunate incident between Earth and Alfhelm led to Lila being declared dead to her family and friends, and being so badly hurt that many parts of her body - her left arm, her legs - were substituted with state of the art replacements. Now with an atomic-powered set of cybernetic limbs, a built-in AI, and enough whizbang gadgets to take on anything, Lila is clearly a girl not easily ignored. A person who has clearly had her share of difficulties, Lila is outwardly tough, though also sexy and charming, but perhaps not the sort of girl you might want as a first date. She gives the concept of 'high maintenance' a new twist!
Her mission at the beginning of this book is to act as a covert bodyguard for Zal, lead singer of the latest pop sensation, The No Shows. He is also a renegade elf, an outsider on Otopia who is also a member of Elven royalty, being sent death threats and assassins in fairly equal measure because his unorthodox manners allegedly threaten the demolition of Elven society and the uneasy truces existing between all of the Realms. 'Elves don't rock', his soon-to-be manager quips on first hearing about him.
Things change quickly when our heroine makes some costly mistakes. She becomes involved in playing The Game, (an elven process of challenge and forfeit, the conclusion being summed up as 'Victory, Defeat, or Death.') with Zal, gets cursed, and even demonically possessed.
...
Yes, Lila is a cyberbabe, hypercharged with enough power to destroy buildings. But she is scarred - physically, mentally and psychologically, because in the book Lila is still having issues and having difficulties in coming to terms with her new body mental image and her mechanical body.
Tellingly, Lila, being new to the NSA and clearly still recovering from her extensive remodel, also makes mistakes. At least two of the situations in the book could've been avoided had Lila made other choices - a flawed heroine.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Agent Lila ...
www.sfsignal.com, 15 Nov 2008 [cached]
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Agent Lila Black is on her first mission for the Otopian NSA. Her mission? To guard and investigate the lead singer of the The No Shows rock band, who happens to be an elf. However, she is far from normal herself, even in a changed world intersecting with elven, faery, and even demon worlds. Her assignment leads to a plot much more involved than she had ever imagined and takes her through her own internal struggle and growth.
...
The actual story itself centers around Lila Black and Zal. Lila is an Agent for the Otopian National Security Agency, and she is unique in that she is a cyborg. She is "James Bond" to the extreme, with numerous weapons and gadgets built into her machine parts. She also has her fragile human side with a somewhat scarred psyche which causes her introspection throughout the book. Her assignment starts off to protect and investigate Zal, an elf rock star who is getting serious death threats. This eventually spirals into a much larger and encompassing tale of political intrigue involving Alfheim, the Elven realm. Zal and Lila are both outcasts in their worlds, but for different reasons. It seems that Lila is trying to come to grips with who she is and where her place is. While Zal, who seems to be comfortable with who he is, at a very high level seems to be an improbable evangelist. Not a theological evangelist, but more like an evangelist with an anti-xenophobe message of equality.
No one really gets on, but ...
www.jamiespracklen.co.uk, 1 July 2013 [cached]
No one really gets on, but they all know what they are supposed to be apart from cyber-girl Lila Black, now part machine and AI, and Zal, the elf making a good go at being a rock star, which is very un-elflike. The story heats up when the reluctant Lila is assigned as Zal's bodyguard and feelings are affected by magic.
LILA BLACK RETURNS IN THE ...
www.pyrsf.com, 1 Aug 2009 [cached]
LILA BLACK RETURNS IN THE FOURTH VOLUME OF HIGH-OCTANE, HIGH-MAGIC, HIGH-TECH ADVENTURES.
Ever since the Quantum Bomb of 2015 things have been different; the dimensions have fused and suddenly our world is accessible to elves, demons, ghosts, and elementals-and their worlds are open to us. Things have been different for Special Agent Lila Black too: she's been tortured and magic-scarred by elves; rebuilt by humans into a half-robot, part-AI, nuclear-fueled walking arsenal; married to a demon; and is in love with a recently-deceased elf. It was confusing enough before she was catapulted fifty years into her own future.
Returning to the life of a secret agent, Lila finds herself left all of her former boss's old offices and whatever mysteries they contain, as the elf has disappeared some fifty years previously. Appointed head of the new android division, she can see all too clearly what's in store for her if the growth of the alien technologies in her cyborg body continue unchecked.
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