Monday, July 21, 2008

Review of MultiReal

Title: MultiReal (Volume 2 of the Jump 225 Trilogy)
Author: David Louis Edelman
Price: $15
Genre: Science Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-56102-647-1
Point of Sale: Amazon

Pyr is a new, up-and-coming science fiction press, and David Louis Edelman is 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 society 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.

RATING 10 / 10

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