The Discovery of Socket Greeny is the first book in a young-adult scifi trilogy that explores love, angst and Zen-like acceptance of true nature in kick ass fashion. Reluctant readers, especially boys, will find this story compelling, enlightening, entertaining, and, yes, even emotional.
Work comes first for 16-year old Socket Greeny's mother ever since his father died 11 years ago. Now, in this tech-driven futuristic society, he's zoned on energy drinks and living in virtual worlds. He doesn't know what his mom does for a living, but the bills get paid and the refrigerator is full, so why bother with details? His only real world thrill is fighting. He doesn't always win, but that's not the point. Breaking skin is a reality rush.
But worlds change.
Socket starts hearing other people's thoughts. He thinks he's hallucinating, even when time seems to stop. But when his mom arrives at school, he knows it's for real. She's there to take him to work.
The Paladin Agency.
He discovers an evolved race of humans that have existed for centuries, where thoughts can be heard. And felt. They are people that can manipulate time through the body's metabolism. They protect the rest of humankind and strive to bring them understanding of their full potential. But some Paladins see humankind as inferior. Imperfect. Cancer.
Socket soon finds himself in the center of controversy when he's anointed a Paladin prodigy. He didn't ask for the "blessing" of psychic powers and the ability to timeslice, he just wants to go home and be normal again. But, sometimes, life doesn't give us that privilege, his mom tells him. And when humankind is threatened, Socket discovers what that means. If he doesn't embrace his true nature, the world will change forever.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)|
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Read an Excerpt
No Rime or Reason
Chute was reclined with her eyes closed and the transplanter discs behind her ears. Her
red ponytail was hanging over the seat. Streeter had already crossed over. He was lying back
with a grin on his face and his fingers laced over his belly. I stuck the transplanters behind my
ears. They sucked at the soft skin under my earlobes. My small hairs stood up and a spot
quivered in my head like a tuning fork. The numbing took over.
There were no lights in the darkness behind my eyelids. No colors. A deadening sensation oozed down my neck and consumed me. Sound faded and the outside world drifted away. Temperature became non-existent. I left my skin behind and my awareness�whoever I am � was drawn into the Internet and transplanted into virtualmode.
For the moment, I drifted in darkness with the falling sensation. This was the place where most people failed to enter virtualmode. They couldn�t handle the drifting. Virtualmoders knew how to ride the in-between like a wave.
I entered my sim that looked pretty much like my skin, except for the hair. I liked my sim bald. Back in the skin, my hair was past the shoulders and white as snow. Don�t know why it didn�t have color.
Darkness took form. First, there was an empty room with lumpy, colorless furniture. The gray walls turned into wood paneling with frosty windows. Cheap sofas, frayed rugs covered the floor and monstrous deer heads looked down from mounts, their glassy eyes reflecting the fire in the hearth. Above the fireplace was an enormous moose head.
The flames flickered over the dry wood, occasionally licking the old stone around it. The top of the mantel unfolded and a tiny woman, blond hair and sweeping curves, stepped out and crossed her perfectly smooth legs.
�Can�t feel the heat?� she asked. �Upgrade your gear with Dr. Feelers� tactile attachments. Dr. Feelers puts you in control of the nervous system inputs, you can feel as little or as much as you like. Fire too hot? Turn it down by��
�Off.� Chute�s sim was taller than her skin. It was leaner and more dangerous. �Dr. Feelers don�t work,� she mumbled, even though she was rubbing her hands in front of the fire. A giant barbarian came out of the next room with a wooden chair that looked tiny in his hand. Streeter�s sim was ten feet tall, muscles bulging off his neck and rippling down his arms with a bloody axe dangling from his hip. I always thought he should just go the whole nine and wear a loincloth. Dude was four feet tall in the skin, the shortest high school sophomore who ever lived, but in virtualmode he was a god.
He kicked the sofa away to make room and sat in the chair that groaned and splintered but somehow held him. Control panels emerged from the floor and wrapped around him like mission control.
�What�re we doing here?� I asked.
�We�re going to get our kill on.�
�I just got pardoned for fighting. We get caught, just stamp my suspension.�
�Don�t worry, Buxbee�s out of town.� Streeter�s rich voice vibrated off the walls. �That substitute has no idea where we�re going. I set up a false scenario. As far as anyone�s concerned, we�re reliving Desert Storm for history class.�
I looked at Chute. �Did you know we were doing this?�
�He didn�t tell me. If you were in class on time, he wouldn�t have told you, either.� She turned her head, the ponytail whipping around. �That�s the way he does it.�
�All right,� Streeter sang to himself. �If you�re wondering where we are, I hacked us into a world��
�Whoa, wait a second.� Chute held up her hand. Her sim looked like it had never seen the sun. �I don�t think we need to be hacking into anything, Streeter. You got caught last time and we don�t need to be wandering around some protected world while we�re in class!� His bushy eyebrows knitted together like enormous caterpillars. �First of all, I didn�t get caught last time, someone ratted me out. And they couldn�t prove I hacked anything so, technically, I wasn�t caught. Secondly, stop being a wuss. Right, Socket? Right?� He smacked me with a fist the size of a basketball. �We�re in, we�re out, no harm, no foul or whatever else jocks say before a game. We�re not getting caught. Besides, this place is one hell of a ride. I hacked in the other night just for a little taste and me likey.�
I didn�t care one way or the other. I never wanted to admit it to Streeter, but I was getting a little bored of virtualmode battles. So was Chute, I could tell. But Streeter lived for it so I shrugged.
Streeter smiled. �All right, good. This place is called the Rime. It�s a bunch of twelveyear olds with rich parents. I say we vaporize their asses down to bare data and harvest all their experience points. They aren�t worth shit, but who says we can�t have a little fun.� �Twelve-year olds?� Chute said. �Seriously?�
�Yeah, seriously. We ain�t got time for a real battle. It�s just a little quickie, come on.� The monitors lit up. Streeter scanned them, mumbling to himself as he surveyed the environment outside the cabin. Chute was already sitting on the couch with her arms locked over her chest checking her emails. She wasn�t going to talk, so I figured I�d check mine, then changed my mind. There�d just be a thousand unread emails and I wasn�t going to read them. Besides, there was likely a video message from Mom with the worn out face telling me she wouldn�t be home tonight. Again. So I sat next to Chute and zoned out for a while.
�You all right?� Chute said.
�Yeah, I�m all right. You?�
�Something�s bothering you.�
Life was bothering me, but I couldn�t explain that to her. It was just one of those days, but I could never hide it from Chute. She looked right through me.
Streeter clapped his hairy-knuckled hands that sounded like paddles and smiled, his teeth big and square and chipped. �Let�s shred some twelve-year-old ass.�
�Don�t say it like that,� Chute chimed.
Our clothes shifted and changed, turned white, speckled with browns and blacks and hung like rags. A battle staff appeared in Chute�s hands. Evolvers materialized on my belt, simple handles that looked less threatening than Chute�s pole but, once activated, transformed into any weapon I visualized.
A clean-cut kid appeared at the door. �Are your weapons weak? When you need to destroy and do it fast, think the Canonizer.� He held up a pistol with an oversized barrel. �It�s rapid, compact, and requires a fraction of the code��
We walked through the apparition and his cheesy weapon onto the front porch. The boards were gray and weathered like the sky. The cabin was buried in a dense forest. A narrow path at the bottom of the steps carved between the snow-crusted trees. My breath came out in long clouds.
I could feel all the way back to my skin and it felt cold. Maybe it was my imagination or maybe I was just nervous. Or maybe things were about to get really weird.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
While the premise of this story could be interesting, this portrayal was not. Not only where the characters poorly developed, the story was difficult to follow. I kept reading hoping something would develop but by pg 200 I gave up. Save yourself the time, don't bother reading this one.
Too many passages that were overdone, especially towards the end. The number of words in a book isn't as important as the impact of them.
The writing a little choppy and not much character development but i enjoyed it anyway
The story begins with an introduction to a concept known as virtual mode in a scene that makes me think of commercials for World of Warcraft. At first, it seems like a virtual reality version of the present day video game, but its possibilities are enumerated slowly over time, some more ominous than others. Beyond this, we discover a superior subset of the human species: the Paladins. Their technological advances, as well as their natural abilities, equip them to protect humankind at large from predation, natural disasters, and even themselves. All of the unfolding events are seen through the eyes of a fifteen-year-old named Socket Greeny. Bertauski does a laudable job in exploring the adolescent psyche, showing his main character as a boy who is snarky, jaded, yet self-sufficient, who struggles with abandonment issues and hides vulnerability with sarcasm. Ultimately, however, he is guided by a strong moral compass that is as rooted in emotion as it is in thought. Sound familiar? It should - most of us have displayed aspects of these traits at one time or another. The duality of his personality is echoed in his mother and his literary foil, Broak. Both are initially rendered in grayscale, but over time, the author starts to color in the different parts that make them who they are. The naturalness of these revelations enrich the reading experience without making us feel like he is trying too hard. The story itself is slow at first, and the first few pages very nearly lost my attention completely - the kiss of death for many a novel. Some of the futuristic terms were difficult to understand the first time around, thus adding to the disinterest. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, when the next few chapters picked up the pace, creating a vacuum from which I am still trying to resurface. The tale is spellbinding, with a plot that is complex enough to please older readers yet understandable enough to appeal to a younger set. Socket's attitude had me chuckling to myself many times, while his frustrations with the actions of those around him often mirrored my own-or was I imitating him? At some point, the distinction started to grow hazy, and by the end of the story, its existence was obliterated. Part of the authenticity of the story comes from the simplistic way in which it is told. Some of the sentences are overflowing with information, while others are short and clipped, imitating the thought patterns of someone who is still relatively young. While I applaud the author's ability to make us believe in his hero's age, I often found myself tripping over one sentence or another. Subjects would shift partway through, tenses would change inappropriately, or verbs were used where gerunds would have been appropriate. Sometimes, all three flaws were present, leading to a jarring disharmony that only a fascinating plot could overcome. Thankfully, there was one present. The Discovery of Socket Greeny is a book that both adult and children can enjoy. I am bumping it from middle grade to young adult, however, due to Socket's favoring of profanity in the first few chapters of the story. Believable vocabulary words for a fifteen-year-old protagonist? Certainly. Appropriate language for a children's book? Maybe not, though parents should decide for themselves where they would like to draw the line. -Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews
Interesting plot cool teen protagonists. I especially the mini dragons, nice touch
Very entertaining, especially for a free selection. I will gladly pay for the next books.
I think this is the first time I read a science fiction book, and that is both good and bad. For one, because I wasn’t sure what to expect; and also because if I didn’t like it I would probably never read a science fiction book again. I’m more the romance-kind-of-chick. Yet –to my surprise –I found Discovery of Socket Greeny to be rather interesting and entertaining. My first reaction to Virtualmode was: effing cool. I can be like that sometimes. My brain just shuts down and no real useful word comes out. Putting that aside, it was really cool, okay!? Alright. Enough teasing. Discovery of Socket Greeny was overall a really great story. Socket was a really likeable character, and the way he acted and spoke made him really believable. I had a little bit of a problem with all the technology. Though I consider myself fairly aquatinted with it, I did find myself in a riddle sometimes with all the new terms and devices. The author’s attention to detail was perfect. I found that I could picture scenes with clarity and I simply loved that. On the other hand I wish we could have seen a little bit more of Socket’s relationship with his two best friends. I loved Chute to death, such a strong character! Again it was overall an enjoyable book, and for a first time reading science fiction I’d like to think it went rather well.
I really enjoyed this book. It is engaging with a good storyline, likeable trio of main characters, and nasty villains. It is a book that will appeal to adults as well as children. The futuristic games that are available and played by the characters and the possibilities of creating and becoming sims (simulated people) to act out and explore the virtual world will appeal to anyone who has ever played a strategy computer game. Betauski has a good grasp of what teenagers are doing and thinking and is able to create realistic characters. Though I really liked this book, I only rated it 3 stars because I think it would have been so much better if there was a lot more background on Socket Greeny before the story line started. This book takes place in the future and Socket then goes into the future's, futuristic organization. If there was more description of his daily life, school life, student activities and family issues before the main plot starts, the book would have been much clearer and the reader would have been able to follow the story easier. This length of this book could easily have increased by 50% without losing any of the action or dragging out the story. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I will recommend it and definitely read the rest of the series.
Socket Greeny didn’t ask to be special. He just wanted to get on with his own life, enjoy computer environments with his friends, and, well, be himself. Unfortunately Socket may not actually be sure who or what his own self is, when a computer game glitch reveals half the answer to a secret never to be told. Suddenly the real world is radically changed by the virtual, but even that’s not all. The surprising appearance of Socket’s frequently absent single parent adds another layer of virtual reality that might make school and schoolfriends obsolete. But who is Socket? And can he ever go back? The story starts off exciting, heads in unpredictable directions, includes elements of mystery and intrigue, self-serving powers and those who serve others, secret societies, paranormal activities and more. It’s cool, novel, and a perfect enticement to read. The language, characters, relationships and activities are all age-appropriate for middle-grade boys—which means, yes, there is middle-grade boy language, suitably uncensored because why would reluctant readers read their mothers’ books. It’s never over the top, always intriguing, filled with honest teen angst and concerns, and a really fun story. Now I just need to find the time to read more. I love this author’s writing! Disclosure: I found it on a deal and I love it!
Daniel stands at the rop, looking down on the boys. (I'll just say it comes up with all of you guys.) The keeper of the runners jumped down and introduced himself. "Hey. I'm Daniel. Glad to have some company." He said, starting to help them out. (Okay, continue this at the first result.)
This book is extremely violent! It glorifies fighting and killing. What is the purpose of all of this hate? Barnes & Noble shouldn't even be selling this if they have any compassion for victims of mall shootings and school shootings. People fed on a stready diet of violent entertainment become violent. They've even done studies on this. Violence begets violence.
Minho offered a shrug. "This place -- We call it the Glade. What that is I have no clue.p"