[I've been 
reading]

Signal to Noise   book icon  
by Eric Nylund (1998)

read: 18 December 2002
rating: [+]
category: uncategorized

This book has the worst cover ever. I have been down that road, so I know it’s not the author’s fault, but it kept me away from the book all Summer. Finally, its paperback size and fictional nature drew me back, and I was happy I returned. Mostly because I am out of William Gibson books to read and reading Nylund makes me feel sort of like I do when I read Gibson. To be more specific, his plot is good and moves rapidly, there’s a lot of fancy gizmos to look at, the time is not quite the present but not really the future. Unlike Gibson, Nylund kills nearly everyone in the entire world at the culmination of this book [and yet there is a sequel? hard to fathom]

The book takes place at a point in time when VR worlds and scenarios are somewhat real, butinsteadof making his characters all impressed and “oooh trippy!” about it, Nylund makes their integration into everyone’s work and home life no big deal. The super-computing environment that must be accessed nearly constantly to maintain these worlds, means that every time you are truly “outside” [as so few people are] you must wear shielding helmets to protect you from the massive bandwidth coursing through the air. There is definitely a Dic-ian paranoia at work as well. The book works, the main character is believable and mostly likable and as I said before, the story moves, hustles really. There is a bit of clumsy foreshadowing, but it’s not entirely unexpected. This book is a fresh name on the scene of a very small cyber-genre, he’s worth reading.

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