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Any good novels about virtual worlds?


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William Gibson's Neuromancer is a good one.

Maybe not so much into the virtual world but making use of it as part of your body... check out Peter F. Hamilton's  Pandora's Star or the followup to that Judas Unchained. First one took me a bit to get into but once it got going was a very good read. I understand these are only two books in his Commonwealth Universe series. I plan to look the rest up and give them a read.

I really loved Tad Williams Otherland series. Again some bits were on the long side but once it got going, it got really good.

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Greg Egan's Diaspora is definitely worth reading. It describes the possibility of human life, or rather afterlife, as an AI within a virtual world, as well as other forms of posthuman existence. The inhabitants of Egan's hypothetical virtual world can even procreate by programming new AIs with a human personality. It's pretty wild.

Not exactly or only about virtual worlds, but also a masterpiece of the cyberpunk genre: John Shirley's eclipse trilogy (Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, and Eclipse Corona). Very dark and gritty, with many parallels to the Iraq war and Blackwater (unintentionally, seeing that the author wrote the novels in the 1980's and 90's). Vacuum Flowers by Michael Swanwick is also worth a read.

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Ciaran Laval wrote:

 

DMom2K Darwin wrote:

William Gibson's Neuromancer is a good one.

Heavy going though, I love William Gibson but you really do need to be prepared to get into some heavy geeky stuff.

 

The wild thing is that Gibson invented some of the geeky stuff and the geeky language in which he described it when he wrote Neuromancer (and the follow-up novels). He envisioned the internet before it existed in reality, coined the term cyberspace, and described firewall technology years before it was developed. Pretty much like Jules Vernes, who wrote about submarines and space flight in the 19th century.

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Sigmund Leominster wrote:

Apart from "Snowcrash," which is certainly worth the read, are there any other good novels out there with virtual worlds as a central theme. Tad Williams' "Otherland" quarter is wonderfully satisfying - if a tad long. So, dear friends, any suggestions???

Thanks y'all for the suggestions! And thanks to the devils at Amazon for making it frighteningly easy to download "Neuromancer" (and yes, I admit it, I have not read it!) and "Rainbow's End." Guess I'll be spending less time in-world next week and spending more with my Kindle and coffee :smileywink:

 

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Sigmund Leominster wrote:

Thanks y'all for the suggestions! And thanks to the devils at Amazon for making it frighteningly easy to download "Neuromancer" (and yes, I admit it, I have not read it!) and "Rainbow's End." Guess I'll be spending less time in-world next week and spending more with my Kindle and coffee :smileywink:

 

If you read Neuromancer, you're also in for the two follow-up novels "Count Zero" and "Mona Lisa Overdrive". Neuromancer can be read as a standalone story, and was originally meant to be one, but Gibson eventually decided to turn it into a trilogy.

You'll probably also want to read the short story anthology "Burning Chrome", especially the story "Johnny Mnemonic" (which has been turned into a not-so-great movie with Keanu Reeves), to get some background on some of the characters in the Neuromancer trilogy.

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Magnus Brody wrote:

 

Quinn Morani wrote:

I haven't personally read it and therefore can't vouch for quality of writing, but there is a self-published novel by Huckleberry Hax titled AFK. I just did a search and here is a link to the free PDF download:

And here is a review:

 

I've read that and it's a good read.

 

I'm glad to hear from someone who's read it. I downloaded it like a year ago, before Quinn even existed, but I've never made the time to read it. Maybe that's what I should have done during the forum hiatus!

 

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Definitely read Philip K. Dick's Ubik. It's a popular sci-fi novel but I haven't seen it get enough love in Second Life circles. It doesn't deal with virtual worlds from a "jacking into the computer" perspective more prevalent in recent novels, but PKD's fave theme of "What is real?" pervasively and thrillingly runs through the book from beginning to end. It's a pretty brisk read and I was awed. You'll especially enjoy it if you get a kick out of the more surreal timeclash elements in SL.

PKD is one of the most influential writers when it comes to "simulated realities" and "artificial life".

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