Virtually True

Overview

True Ailey is a journalist in a strange land, exiled by his network to a damp Southeast Asian republic gouged out a war-ravaged peninsula weeping monsoon tears. When his friend is murdered, True sets out to find the killers, and in the process untangles a vast conspiracy that threatens to upend the global balance of power. Set in the near future, Virtually True takes readers on a wild ride through a world where nothing is what it seems, corporations rule, technology has been woven into the fabric of people's ...
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More About This Book

Overview

True Ailey is a journalist in a strange land, exiled by his network to a damp Southeast Asian republic gouged out a war-ravaged peninsula weeping monsoon tears. When his friend is murdered, True sets out to find the killers, and in the process untangles a vast conspiracy that threatens to upend the global balance of power. Set in the near future, Virtually True takes readers on a wild ride through a world where nothing is what it seems, corporations rule, technology has been woven into the fabric of people's lives, and information can be both weapon and life-saver.

Award-winning journalist Adam Penenberg, whom Slate called "one of the best-known technology writers in the world," has peopled a literary thriller with unforgettable characters and crafted a plot worthy of Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, and Martin Cruz Smith.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781938757006
  • Publisher: Wayzgoose, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/23/2012
  • Pages: 334
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

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  • Posted August 15, 2012

    Smart, fast-paced, visionary sci-fi meets classic noir

    Adam Penenberg's "Virtually True" is a frenetic headlong rush through a colorful multi-verse of intrigue and illusion, hard-boiled noir and high-tech magical realism; squalid dystopian nightmare and lush cyber seduction; a cosmic data-storm of brilliant ideas and unforgettable imagery. The author portrays a future not so very far off; unnervingly close to present reality for much of the world; less prophetic vision than logical projection. Into this grim future, Penenberg's protagonist, journalist True Ailey emerges from the great literary tradition of smart-mouthed gumshoes and hard-boiled reporters, though he has not wholly succumbed to cynicism. A cyber-savant, able to navigate massive data streams manifested within virtual reality; inside these "meta-worlds" True has no equal. But VR addiction--"mnemonia"--has compromised his health, alienated the love of his life, and all but ruined his professional career. Now he finds himself in the capitol of Luzonia, one of the bleaker corners of the developing world, little more than a stringer for a CNN-like infotainment network, itself part of the vast "corpocracy" that dominates the globe. An old friend offers a tantalizing scoop--a story that could put True's career back on track--but the friend is assassinated before he can spill the details, and True is left with more mystery than he can handle on his own. The search for the killer takes the form of classic whodunit with the smartest elements of sci-fi, techno-epic and geopolitical thriller folded into a rich, spicy adobo; think Philip K. Dick at his post-apocalyptic perception-bending best including his familiar recurring theme of the phantom twin; the brooding zeitgeist of Alan Moore's "Watchmen," the cyber-punk whiz-bang of "Max Headroom," and the artist's unerring eye for the minutiae of human suffering in Alfonso Cuaron's masterful cinematic interpretation of P.D. James' "Children of Men." The dialogue sizzles in the best "better-than-real" tradition of Robert Heinlein, Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler. But Penenberg is at his most original, vivid and animated when describing the irrepressible life that teams in the dust, far below the radar of sheltered Western consciousness We view the action as if through a head-mounted camera at street level; hurtling through the mad perpetual rush-hour traffic of some swarming developing-world megalopolis like Mumbai, Jakarta or Karachi, but distinctly of the author's imagination; lumbering superannuated buses belching fumes long-since banned in the West; auto-rickshaws, pedi-cabs, tuk-tuks, drivers of unpowered vehicles hitching rides with grappling hooks attached to bungee ropes on the back of overloaded lorries and vans, careening through dark side streets and alleyways to grim shanty towns cobbled together from the cast-off packaging of ruling-class luxuries and toxic detritus, their residents barely eking out subsistence while black and gray markets thrive, where traditional haggling takes on a new high-tech twist with cash cards and portable debit machines. The narrative pace does occasionally drag, weighed down by surplus "tech," and one-too-many forays into the arcana of Japanese politics. But otherwise, "Virtually True" is a riveting read that leaves us, as most intelligently entertaining books do, with much to think about and replay in our imaginations long after our e-r

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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