In Absence of Fear

In Absence of Fear is a debut novel by Celeste Chaney that examines what it means to be human in a digital age and explores how far we're willing to go in order to feel safe.

About the Book

In Absence of Fear examines how the government can legislate away liberties through fear, paving the way to despotism through democracy.

The novel is about technology and convenience, and what it means to be human in an age where we allow these things to govern our existence. It's also about a man in search of meaning as he seeks to make his family whole again.


A NEW ERA IS BORN/ Afraid to leave their homes or send their children off to school, citizens of The State vote to enact the Protector Program, a predictive policing system. 

iD chips are implanted in every citizen's wrist, providing convenience and protection to the people of The State. The chips are used to unlock homes, enter offices, start cars, transact in stores and restaurants, and monitor users' health. They also collect data.

THE PROTECTORS/ Specially designed risk prediction algorithms, called Protectors, parse and analyze the data captured by iDs to predict individual levels of threat, aiding the predictive policing program and eradicating crime in most cities.

Marus Winde has worked in the West Region for The State's Intelligence Annex since the inception of the New Era. As Senior Algorithm Architect, no one is more dedicated to the predictive policing program. No one has greater trust in its proficiencies. 

That is, until his young son vanishes inexplicably one morning in broad daylight at a soccer game in the safest city in the world.

UNCERTAINTY IN AN AGE OF ALGORITHMIC ABSOLUTISM/  When the Protector Program fails to protect his son, and the data doesn't provide any clues, Marus learns that the program is not only imperfect, but corruptible, and that even the greatest of technological advancements can't replicate human instinct.

In search of the truth, Marus must betray the system, abandoning its protections and risking everything to save his family.

A compelling novel to tease readers’ paranoia.
— Kirkus Reviews
A thought-provoking novel that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.
— Readers' Favorite
Remarkable! Leaps ahead where George Orwell left off...I recommend this book without reservation.
— Alan Rinzler, Editor

About the Author

Celeste Chaney is an American writer and emerging author whose Utah home is just 15 minutes from the NSA's largest data center.

In her debut novel, In Absence of Fear, Chaney examines what it means to be human in a world of algorithmic absolutism and considers the risks society faces by succumbing to fear and choosing protection over privacy. Can a mass surveillance state truly remain a democratic one?

  Photo by Ted Roxbury

Photo by Ted Roxbury

Celeste Chaney is a Freedom Forum Scholar and graduate of the University of Utah.

Her writing has been recognized by Writer's Digest and featured by CATALYST and The New York Times Magazine.

She lives in a small mountain community outside of Salt Lake City, UT with her husband, Ted, and dog, Po.

All Content © 2015 Celeste Chaney  All Rights Reserved.