Mountain of Black Glass

( 37 )

Overview


Mountain of Black Glass is the third volume of Tad Williams' highly acclaimed four-book series, Otherland. A truly unique reading experience combining elements of science fiction,fantasy, and techno-thriller, it is a rich epic tale in which virtual reality could prove the key to a whole new universe of possibilities for the entire human race--or become the exclusive domain of the rich and the ruthless as they seek a technological pathway to immortality....
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Overview


Mountain of Black Glass is the third volume of Tad Williams' highly acclaimed four-book series, Otherland. A truly unique reading experience combining elements of science fiction,fantasy, and techno-thriller, it is a rich epic tale in which virtual reality could prove the key to a whole new universe of possibilities for the entire human race--or become the exclusive domain of the rich and the ruthless as they seek a technological pathway to immortality....
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Epic in scope and size, this near-future cyberspace adventure has likable characters, heinous villains, a plethora of classical references and a slew of powerful action sequences that propel its many-tiered plot forward. Paul Jonas, a mysterious man with no clear memory of his past, is trapped and hunted inside the Grail Project, an artificial intelligence network run by the ultra-wealthy Grail Brotherhood. This third installment of the Otherland series (City of Golden Shadow; River of Blue Fire) reveals that the Project has been designed to provide cyber-immortality to its rich owners: it does this, at least in part, by stealing essential elements from children's psyches and leaving them comatose. Renie Sulaweyo has lost a sibling to the Grail Brotherhood's machinations. While Renie's body is watched over in the real world, her consciousness has been transferred inside the network, where she works with a motley band of reluctant adventurers trying to save the children and themselves. Stalking them is the brilliant psychopath Johnny Dark, who knows secrets about the Project and has his own evil mental twist that can hurt it. While Williams has a rather conventional take on power and prejudice in his "real" world, he lets rip inside the network, working with environments that include Homer's Odyssey, an ancient Egypt where the gods are somewhat less than omnipotent and a gigantic House in which Linen Closet Sisters are kidnapped by boys from Cutlery. As his "real" characters encounter computer-generated simulacrums who express compassion and have their own dreams and desires, the line between reality and fantasy blurs. Though the sheer weight of the series is daunting, Williams fills his pages with the sort of stories and characters that readers of epic fantasy are sure to love. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Trapped in the exotic virtual simulation known as Otherland, Paul Jonas, Orlando Gardner, and Renie Sulaweyo continue their separate explorations into the heart of the reality that surrounds them. As they confront puzzles and obstacles in re-creations of ancient Egypt and Homeric Greece, they come closer to the black glass mountain that may offer them the key to the mysterious Grail Brotherhood that controls the passages to and from Otherland. Synopses of the previous volumes (City of Golden Shadow; River of Blue Fire) of Williams's ambitious epic provide enough information for newcomers to the series, but the entire story is best read in sequence. Filled with complex plot threads, a wide variety of virtual and "real" characters and vivid descriptions of numerous worlds, this series belongs in most sf collections. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Magazine of and Science Fiction
This is the best thing Williams has ever done, and it deserves attention, time, praise. More, it deserves to be read.
Kirkus Reviews
Third chunk of Williams's enormous four-part doorstopper (City of Golden Shadow, 1996; River of Blue Fire, 1998) about the eponymous virtual reality. Otherland was created by the rich, powerful, and ruthless Brotherhood, who have plans to rule the real world too. After various children enter VR, only to become ensnared, assorted good guys—a WWI soldier, a teacher, a blind researcher, a mysterious renegade, etc.—have hacked into the supposedly impregnable Otherworld in search of the children. But they too end up trapped. Worse, they're being stalked by the Brotherhood's assassin, Dread, not to mention another mysterious entity known as the Other, possibly Otherland's sentient operating system. Williams's synopses are as abstruse and overcomplicated as the yarn itself. So if by this point you have even the vaguest idea of what's happening, why, and who's involved, then keep reading and good luck. Newcomers: try something—anything—less absurdly overblown, labyrinthine and inconsequential. (Author tour)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780886779061
  • Publisher: DAW
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Series: Otherland Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 784
  • Sales rank: 190,446
  • Product dimensions: 4.12 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.71 (d)

Meet the Author


Tad Williams has held more jobs than any sane person should admit to-singing in a band, selling shoes, managing a financial institution, throwing newspapers, and designing military manuals, to name just a few. He also hosted a syndicated radio show for ten years, worked in theater and television production, taught both grade-school and college classes, and worked in multimedia for a major computer firm. He is cofounder of an interactive television company, and is currently writing comic books and film and television scripts as well. Tad and his family live in London and the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Tad Williams at tadwilliams.com.�

Tad Williams has held more jobs than any sane person should admit to—singing in a band, selling shoes, managing a financial institution, throwing newspapers, and designing military manuals, to name just a few. He also hosted a syndicated radio show for ten years, worked in theater and television production, taught both grade-school and college classes, and worked in multimedia for a major computer firm. He is cofounder of an interactive television company, and is currently writing comic books and film and television scripts as well. Tad and his family live in London and the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Tad Williams at tadwilliams.com. 

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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

I always have a hard time explaining Otherland. In today's book world, where people (especially on the sales and marketing end) usually want a description in a few words, leading to a neat category, it gets called things like "cyber-fantasy," "science-fiction virtual reality epic," and other even more hard-to-wrap-your-brain-around titles. It is science fiction, with ideas about the world that's coming soon, the future of the Net, and the shrinking distance between humans and their creations, but it's also an epic fantasy, and the virtual universe I've invented is mostly an excuse for high adventure of the getting-chased-by-monsters variety. (Although this is perhaps the weirdest and most diverse collection of monsters ever featured in one story.) Given the chance, even as an adult approaching the end of his second decade as a writer, I still really, really enjoy having people chased (and occasionally eaten) by monsters.

In Otherland, a group of everyday citizens stumbles onto a disturbing but well-hidden truth: Children all over the world, but especially those who are users of the Net (a vastly expanded version of our own Internet, which has replaced television, telephones, and most other communication media with a single worldwide system), are falling into deathlike comas. Renie Sulaweyo, a young South African teacher whose brother is one of the victims, begins to investigate, along with her student !Xabbu -- one of the last of the Kalahari bushmen. Behind this worldwide outbreak lies the shadow of a network unlike any other -- a virtual reality universe built by a group of the world's wealthiest and most ruthless people, the Grail Brotherhood. With the help of some unusual friends, Renie and !Xabbu manage to break into the Brotherhood's secret project, entering the Otherland network.

As Renie and others discover, Otherland itself is astonishingly sophisticated, its virtual reality simulations so realistic that experiencing them is just like real life -- except that real life was never so strange. With nearly unlimited budgets, the Brotherhood have built playgrounds for themselves from every point in history, literature, and imagination -- entire worlds of the past, perfect evocations of things only mentioned in books, environments as strange and original as Saturday morning cartoons. But the network and its ultimate purpose is a secret, and the Brotherhood have already proved themselves capable of murder to keep it that way. To the horror of Renie and her companions -- the sick teenager, Orlando Gardiner, who has honed his skills in dragon-and-dungeon fantasy games; the blind researcher, Martine; and the mysterious amnesiac, Paul Jonas -- they discover that once inside the Otherland network, they cannot go offline again. They are trapped in a universe of fantastical worlds, and the countless dangers they face, although computer-generated, are now terrifyingly real.

In the first book, City of Golden Shadows, Renie and the others find their way into the network. River of Blue Fire, the second volume, tells of their dangerous journey through the network along the river that ties the simulations together and deepens many mysteries. Volume three, Mountain of Black Glass, not only brings Renie and the others closer to solving the riddles of Otherland but also brings them face to face with the Other, the network's greatest riddle, and reveals their true and most deadly enemy.

In the fourth and final volume, Sea of Silver Light, a number of surprising truths will be revealed, not only about the fate of the characters but also about the fate of all humankind.

Plus, I promise, there will be several more interesting monsters...

—Tad Williams

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    More

    Keep your hunger for the journey sedated

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2011

    puzzled

    I'm really puzzled as to why the third and fourth volumes in this series have been published to ebook format before the first and second volumes...I'd like to re-read this series (EXCELLENT story, well-written, btw, hence the 5 stars), but I'd really like to start at the beginning, not in the middle.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2011

    Engaging Read!

    When I first picked up the first book in this four book series by Tad Williams I was a little confused at first about the overall direction this series would eventually take. After the first few chapters that confusion was replaced by curiousity.After completing 'City of Golden Shadow' I could not wait to delve into the next book in the series. The series has held my attention fully through three well written books and I can't wait to read the final book in the series. A true fan of the mixed genre of sci-fi and fantasy will enjoy this book as well as it's two predecessors.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mountains of Information

    The third installment in the Otherland series adds a mountain of information to the already complicated story. The main characters all continue to develop further into themselves, with some becoming a little too mushy towards each other. Dread continues to live up to his name, delighting in the pain and suffering he inflicts on others. While Rennie and Martine flip from heros to mindless victims several times throughout the book. Really enjoyed the visits in the recent similations. I think I enjoyed this version of Troy to the original poem. Some of the old characters fall off in this installment, not sure if some one will be back to finish the tale or not, or if it will make a huge difference either way. Can't wait to finish the last book to see where it all leads to.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2001

    An Excellent Way to Setup an End

    Tad Williams has spawned an amazing series in Otherland. It incorperates many believable future societal possibilities. Not only does his strong use of detail amaze any reader, but Mr. Williams does a beautiful job at 'setting up' his next and final book of the series. The ending is very moving and powerful. It's a curveball that not many would suspect. A must read. p.s. Not only are his books good, but his personality is golden. I had a chance to meet Mr. Williams a few weeks ago and was delighted to find that he is one of the nicest individuals that I have come in contact with.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    Loved them all

    Great at tying up all the loose ends

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2001

    Ready to read more

    I read this book as well as the previous two. I loved them. The virtual reality worlds are described incredibly well. The characters draw you into the book. Due to being a poor college student I'm waiting excitedly for the Otherland IV to come out in paperback.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2001

    Characters Begin Assembing for Final Confrontation

    Mountain of Black Glass continued this exciting story of a virtual reality where people interact via simulations -- but are susceptible to harm and death. All the mysteries quietly laid out in the preceding two books begin to be resolved as the characters all come closer to the confrontation between The Grail Brotherhood and the heroes found by Sellars. A mysterious house, a large-scale battle in an Egyptian simulation, a kidnapping, and even the death(?) of one of the villains are just some of the events occurring within. I have enjoyed this series immensely, even down to the creative 'head-line news' which precede every chapter! The series grabs you, and there are elements of both science fiction and fantasy expertly molded together, and the series reads like a dark and possible future. These books are even better than Mr. William's excellent fantasy series ending with the 'Green Angel Tower' books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2001

    thought provoking

    When I started the first book in the searies, I was just a little confused. I read on out of curiosity (plus I had nothing better to do) and I became swept up in story. As I rounded the corner to the third book, I was starting to appriciate the charecters, they seemed almost alive. As I finished the third book, I was disapointed, they weren't all alive in the end. When Orlando Gardener died, I was hoping he would be ressurected by the otherworld network, like the old men were supossed to do. I can only hope that something great happens in the next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2001

    gotta agree about steam loss

    This books still has the 'what's going on' quality of the other two, but the action seems almost predictable at times. This novel also spends too much time with each character before going to the next character, only changing veiwpoints when the action gets to a climax. I'm still impressed by the grand scape of things, but I'm worried it will end up like Heinlien's 'number of the beat' where the worlds get sillier and sillier until they reach an obscure ending. Still the scope is astounding, and his harsh detailing of reality is gripping. I wait patiently for book 4.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2000

    Magnificently complex and interesting

    Wow! Tad does it again! The first part of the Otherland series got me interested in this great tale and the second part kept me steadily going, and now, the third part has brought it to a new level! This is a must. Tad builds op the tension steadely until it reaches a dramatic and confusingly original end. I cannot wait to get my hands on the (final?) fourth part!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2000

    You have to read this!!!!!!!

    This is a really good book. If you have reas the previous books this is the best one yet. Even if you have not read the previos books it is still a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 1999

    This book was sooo good!

    This series is just getting better! Mountain of Black Glass has all the elements of storytelling. It's characters are so complex and real that I can indentify with many of them. The imagination and the realization that these things are possible are very captivating. God, I love this book, and I cannot wait for Book 4!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

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    Posted November 8, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2010

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews

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