Wednesday, 14 February 2007

CSFF Blog Tour for February -

Review of Jefferson Scott’s ”Terminal Logic“ (1997)
for the CSFF Blog Tour

I hope you will all excuse me for reviewing another “old” book. Yet having just read it for the first time, I believe its contribution to the Lost Genre is significant. I came upon it at wherethemapends , where there’s a great list of Bib-spec-fic classics. Funnily enough, the author of this book happens to be the owner of wherethemapends too. He offers a lot of good tips for writers, and as I am getting towards publishing my novel Faith Awakened I would like to get Jeff to do an editorial review. So I thought it might be a good idea to read something he wrote before I hire him.

I’m not disappointed. This guy claims to be an expert, and I think that’s justified. He writes so well that he’s invisible; it felt like I was watching a movie rather than reading a book. Okay, so it’s set in 2006 – old hat for something supposed to be in the future – but everything else is blockbuster quality. This is the second book of a trilogy, but it stands on its own as well.

The story is chillingly realistic. Programmable characters from multi-user online games are released into the Web and go about wreaking havoc in a world they are not equipped to understand. One particularly powerful character “decides” logically that it’s time to wipe out life on Earth and begin again, unaware of the difference between the virtual world and the real one. There is a lot of interaction with computers, edge-of-your-seat action both in VR and outside it, and a well-founded spiritual basis for the plot.

It starts getting scary when you realise the similarities to many games that exist today. The scenarios start sounding very familiar and distinctly possible. The Christian characters ask themselves if the devil could be behind this – but no one knows for sure. The reader is left to decide for himself, amidst disobedient appliances, skeptical army generals, undercover cowboys, and whiz kids. I find it better this way than if everything was pinned down too precisely. It leaves a pleasant sense of “what if”.

The ending is a little predictable – the heroes save the human race and get to meet the President of the USA. But to be honest, that’s the only way this plot could have ended. It’s nice how the President’s Christian values come through.

Well worth a read, if you haven’t come across this one yet. And do take a look at wherethemapends for all sorts of fascinating writing stuff.

Grace Bridges
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