A dark vision of the near future, where entertainment and power have become indistinguishable. Is this the Europe of tomorrow? Virtual Reality has become the predominant form of entertainment for the masses: with a helmet and glove and appropriate software programmes, they can spend their leisure time in fantasy worlds. One company has developed ...
A dark vision of the near future, where entertainment and power have become indistinguishable. Is this the Europe of tomorrow? Virtual Reality has become the predominant form of entertainment for the masses: with a helmet and glove and appropriate software programmes, they can spend their leisure time in fantasy worlds. One company has developed Total Virtual, an extension of the original in which the dreamer lies unconscious while fantasy worlds are experienced, not through helmet and glove, but by direct input to the brain. Anna's son has died in an act of rebellion against European dominion over Britain, and she opts for treatment using Total Virtual - to rediscover her lost child, at least in the illusion of fantasy. But when she dies in the clinic and more suspicious deaths follow, her brother, Michael, is left to discover the real, sinister objective behind the Total programme.
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-05-12 Veteran Christopher, best known for his recent young adult fiction (the Tripods and Sword of the Spirits trilogies), is at the top of his form in a near-future SF novel that calls to mind his adult classic, No Blade of Grass (1956). Thanks to quiet British restraint, the glimpses of increasingly violent wrongness are more disturbing than entire planets being zapped in a routine space opera. Michael Frodsham is part of an influential Anglo-German family involved in producing virtual reality programs for mass entertainment, now also developing VR into a tool for psychological therapy. As a minor bureaucrat in the British hospital system, however, Michael uneasily begins to suspect that the technology could have more sinister uses as the oppressive European union aims to devour Britain whole. And so he must resist. Christopher avoids standard thriller formula with sharp attention to detail and his refusal to oversimplify the characters. Even people who behave the worst have their reasons-some of which they try to explain, some of which readers can figure out for themselves. The villains are convincing in their moral slovenliness. Likewise, Michael reveals himself as a man of honor without being unbelievably priggish or noble; he's just someone who can't take the easy way out by ignoring his sympathies and principles. He turns out to be unexpectedly admirable, and so does this subtle novel. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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