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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reviewer Calls Reality of the Virtual a Must-Read

Title: The Reality of The Virtual
Sub-title: Presage
ISBN: 978-9881675118
Format: E-book and paperback
Publisher: Pebbles Publications
Publication/: End December, 2012
Launch Distribution: Amazon, Ingram, Lulu
Category: Alternative History/Sci-fi Novel
Author:Betsy Cheung
Amazon : http://tinyurl.com/9gyv2rf   
Review:
‘The Reality of The virtual’ is an edge-of the-seat-saga, which takes place between the real and the virtual. Cheung’s debut novel is packed with thrilling ideas about near-future technology. It has a balance of the believable and unbelievable that makes the plot seem very real. What’s more, it touches upon existential issues of human existence in the virtual.

The year is 2018. Nothing is what it seems and mis-information rules the Media. People are livid and riots abound surrounding a controversial new class system. Hugh van Santen is the Editor in Chief of a major newspaper reporting on the social turmoil. While governments go bankrupt, the grass roots are geared up to do community work and replace social welfare. Meanwhile Hugh relies on scoops to keep his newspaper afloat and recruits rogue reporter Sophie Chantal for his most ambitious and outrageous scoop to date. Sophie’s first assignment is to write a feature on the bicentennial birthday of a persona non gratis whose past doings wrecked havoc and caused the Cold War. She solicits the help of Sam, a computer scientist, who creates accurate simulations of humans down to their thoughts. Even before publication, the story is leaked and Sophie’s
feature becomes breaking news with explosive effect on the world and an
implosive effect on the news paper itself. It also alerts the CIA, who is after Sam’s simulation technology at all cost. To distract them, Sam designs a game called ‘Presage’ in which gamers and intelligence agents begin their race to find Sam’s secret in the reality of the virtual.

A crucial idea of this exciting boo is the conflict between the world, i.e. the totality of things work and the individual. The notion that the collective interest and wellbeing is suppressive of the individual interest and wellbeing is the same notion of why evolution and 'survival of the fittest' is necessary, but causes suffering and sacrifice of the individual animals and why the ‘have-nots’ suffer in a capitalist system. This book depicts what happens when a few individuals combine aspects of capitalism, collectivism, social media and technology to a new system and try to make the shortcomings of the previous systems right. The
problem they encounter is an old one: Although this new system makes a lot of sense to people, It is the human consciousness and the fundamental way in which it is taught to work when we are ‘socialized’ which prevent people from seeing the bigger picture in their actual life and stops them from walking the talk. With
intelligence and crazy imagination, the same idea and theme are reflected and reinforced in the sub plots.

The book is rich with intriguing, deep, believable characters, who reflect the different ways individuals are wired to be in or out of tune with the world. Some are totally stuck in their own way of looking at things like Mick Fallon, the spy. Some understand this and manipulate this to their own advantage like Otto Chantal, the CEO, Hugh can Santen, the editor in chief and Jim Hershel, the media baron. Some manipulate it to the advantage of society like Hal, a new breed of union leader while at the opposite ends of the spectrum you have idealists willing to sacrifice themselves like Thomas Pierson, the chairman of the

Alpha Federation and Sam Sheppard, the main protagonist and creator of the game Presage and Mindroids. And then, you have people, who study this phenomenon and find it all mighty interesting for a social-anthropological reason like the character of Dominique Sagresse, the Elvis among philosophers.

This book delves into the ethics and effects of a changed semi-virtual society in the near future. It gives us a fresh perspective upon the unrelenting human struggle in our continued attempts to wrench ourselves out of Sisyphus’ myth. Highlighting that our greatest enemy—the one, who causes the rock to tumble back to the bottom of the hill each and every time— is ourselves, this book revamps our hope that one day we may succeed. Don't miss this book if you like your mind and imagination challenged! This is truly a MUST READ!

~Author Jerry McGregor is an English teacher living in South-Asia who dapples in creative writing and loves books. His favorite writers are Fyodor Dostoevsky and Knut Hamsun, David Sedaris, Salman Rusdie.
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