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Review of MultiReal

Pyr is a new, up-and-coming science fiction press, and thanks to my work over at POD People, I get a chance to review some of their stuff. Specifically, the works of David Louis Edelman, one of their hot new stars. His first book, InfoQuake, was called “the love child of Donald Trump and Verner Vinge.” If that’s the case, MultiReal is what happens when that child starts driving and going out on dates – entertaining to watch but not something you’d want to experience.

Let’s get my quibbles out of the way. MultiReal is a very tight sequel to InfoQuake. In order to understand the second book, I had to read the summary of InfoQuake (included) as well as the glossary. Also, the ending of MultiReal is a cliff-hanger. Lastly, from a writing point of view, Edelman uses a lot of “said-isms.” A said-ism is where the writer, instead of using, “[Character’s name] said X” will use, “the neural programmer…” It’s a bit irritating, but again, it’s a quibble.

Moving on to substantive matters, the book is full of Big Ideas, in the best tradition of science fiction. Hundreds of years after the Autonomous Revolt, an attempt by artificial intelligences to take over the world, humans have rebuilt and use “bio-logics,” programs which run in the human body, to interact with the world. Natch, an entrepreneur and programmer, has helped develop a radical new technology. This technology, called MultiReal, allows users to manipulate virtual computer networks in such a way as to gain vast powers. They can literally think rings around any human opponent.

In InfoQuake, Natch defied the world government to demonstrate his software, earning considerable ire from the government. He was also injected with “black code,” malicious programs which run on the body, affecting various aspects of his existence. MultiReal is in effect “The Empire Strikes Back” part of the trilogy, in which an increasingly desperate set of adversaries use whatever means are available to stop Natch and his company.

Edelman is a programmer in real life, and his understanding of the process informs the book. Multireal is a deep book, full of plots and counter-plots, with a stunning vision of the future. It manages what seems to be impossible, making the act of computer programming exciting, while reflecting on the nature of government and business. This is high science fiction at its finest.



Jul. 21st, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)

Y' know… In ten years, that book is going to be as embarrassingly dated as any 1950s “Atomic Mutant Vegetables Conquer The World” story. I mean, look at it. Maybe he won't care - royalty checks are their own currency, in the literal sense of the word - but this ain't exactly The City and the Stars, you're describing here.

Jul. 21st, 2008 01:12 pm (UTC)
Well, what's the point of science fiction? It's not to be accurate about the future - if you can describe 'the future' with any accuracy, you're going to turn readers right off - it's too alien.

I believe that most science fiction works - when it does - because it takes 'the now' and shows it as a fun-house mirror. The very best SF manages to thrive but ... it's still very much a product of the era it was written in.

Or not - it's been a busy week today and my mind is numbed from the training course I'm auditing.
Jul. 21st, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I claimed it was a classic of SF, sure to stand the test of time. Besides, many books that are Certified Classics (Heinlein, anybody) miss The Future by a mile or ten.

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This is the personal blog of Chris Gerrib, and all opinions expressed here are solely his own. Commenters are welcome; however please be polite to me and my other readers. I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, inappropriate or otherwise objectionable at my sole discretion. The opinions expressed in a comment are not necessarily mine, and if I do not delete a comment that should not be construed as my agreement with the commenter.

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