The second installment of David Edelman's Jump 225 Trilogy, picks up on renegade entrepreneur Natch's struggles to bring to market a software product so groundbreaking that it threatens the stability of this information-centric future civilization. The product of decades of development by the iconic Margaret Surina, MultiReal software allows a user instantaneously to run unlimited possible effects stemming from a particular cause, choosing the particular reality outcome from these choice cycles that best suits the user's needs. Obviously the power to select a desired outcome in virtually any cause-effect scenario gives each MultiReal user tremendous power over others, a realization that triggers a mad scramble by the Defense and Wellness Council for control of this critical technology. On the run after a disastrous MultiReal demonstration, infected with an insidious and debilitating form of black code, and the target of an aggressive scheme by the Defense and Wellness Council to strip him and his fiefcorp employees of their business licenses, Natch struggles not only to survive but also to ensure that he honors his weighty responsibility as MultiReal's guardian.
MultiReal succeeds in most respects, setting up what promises to be an exciting conclusion to the trilogy. It fleshes out the futuristic world that Edelman introduced us to in Infoquake, providing relevant pieces of back story to explain the various agendas of those maneuvering for control of MultiReal. And fascinating new aspects of this future culture, like "the Sigh" where multi connections can meet to experience an infinite variety of sensual pleasures, add tantalizing detail to this vision of the future. There are also some memorable set pieces, such as the action sequence where Natch uses MultiReal to dodge black code fire as well as the confrontations between Magan Kai Lee and High Executive Len Borda amidst the ancient sailing ship SeeNaRee used to decorate Borda's private chambers.
I would, however, like to see Edelman make a few adjustments in his approach to the critical third installment of the trilogy. The addition of more action sequences would be welcome, as the pacing of MultiReal slowed in some of the scenes involving prolonged political maneuvering and verbal sparring. I would also like to see Edelman delve more deeply into the philosophical confrontation between the individualistic bent of the libertarians and the collective mentality of the Defense and Wellness Council; the story really seemed to gain momentum and focus when that debate crystallized during the Prime Committee's hearing and during Natch's exchange with Brone concerning MultiReal 2.0. Finally, in his emphasis on technology descriptions, recounting of historical events, and descriptions of political maneuvering, Edelman tends at times to neglect the development of his characters and rely too much on dialogue tags that tell (rather than show) us how they are feeling. Natch, Jara and Horvil make an engaging trio of protagonists, and I'm interested in understanding better what motivates each of them.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of this trilogy and find Edelman's vision of the future as original, thorough and convincing as any I've seen. If I had to guess what our future society will look like, I'd lay money on it taking a form resembling the setting of the Jump 225 Trilogy. And my constructive criticism represents nothing more than one selfish and picky fan's wish list of items I would like to see this talented author focus on in his next work.