The Cybernetic Walrus: The Wonderland Gambit: Book One Paperback – Nov 14 1995
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From Library Journal
A corporate takeover forces brilliant computer programmer Cory Maddox to look for another job. He accepts a government position too tempting to refuse?to continue the work of the late Matthew Brand, a virtual reality pioneer. After settling into his new environment, Maddox slowly begins to realize that what he has known as "reality" is not what it seems. Veteran sf author Chalker (Shadows of the Well of Souls, LJ 2/15/94) embarks on a new series that explores the boundaries of human identity, space, time, and the nature of reality itself. Chalker once again demonstrates his talents as one of the genre's leading raconteurs. For most sf collections.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Fresh from a trilogy of episodes in his Well World saga, Chalker quickly inaugurates a new series that explores the mind-bending limits of virtual reality. Cory Maddox is a brilliant programmer for a fledgling computer network company. He is promptly recruited by the National Security Agency when his company suspiciously sells out to a competitor. His new job involves reactivating an aborted virtual reality project pioneered by computer wizard Matthew Brand, whose incorporation of top secret alien technology apparently led to his demise. Checking out the agency's cyberspace realms, Maddox is soon trapped inside a perfect reproduction of base reality with no clear way out or even any certainty that base reality actually exists. Characteristically, Chalker's initially hard-sf premise gives way to increasingly bizarre and sometimes confusing plot developments, including body switching, alien intervention, and alternative universe hopping. Die-hard cyberpunks may want to pass, but Chalker stalkers should be delighted. Carl Hays
Top Customer Reviews
Chalker wrote, "All reality is programming. We cannot know the real: we are trapped in an endless series of simulations, all of us, and some, like myself, in simulations within simulations. ...." He uses an IT, a thing, a faceless one or a gray ancient to speak these lines, rather than a flesh and blood character. This device implied a para-programmer, one outside the mind of man. This invented God is in control not only of the author outside the story's pages but in control of all the characters within the pages of the book.
Reality now has a counterpart, virtual reality. The characters, en mass, stare into the mirror of their own minds and realize that they had no measuring rod with which to gauge their own realities. The mind is self reflective. The mind has no outer objective way to measure either its input or output. The characters reveal the dead end of human thought. The fact that the tactile nerves register solidity reveals little regarding production or projection of such solidity. There is no way to distinguish whether the neurons fire due to sensory input rather than from say drugs or computer generated inputs.Read more ›
The protagonist, Cory Maddox undergoes plenty of transformation in this story, running through several life "phases" while trying to sort out who to trust. One of the enjoyable features of this series is that the reader is never quite certain who he should trust, either. Often, I found myself wanting to urge Cory & Riki to trust the wrong (in hindsight) characters.
Plenty here for either the SF or fantasy fan. Thoroughly enjoyable--Chalker knows how to entertain while stretching the mind and imagination. Perhaps the worst feature of this book is that the 3rd book of the trilogy is so difficult to obtain.
A solid four-star rating: great fun, but not absolute genius.
In this novel he appears to have decided to adopt a more hard science fiction approach as opposed to his more normal sod the science lets keep the plot moving style. This I believe has not added greatly to the interest of the book and has reduced its readability. However persevere there are some good ideas in there.
It should be interesting to see how he develops the premise in books two and three.
In this books he is addressing the same Zeitgeisty theme as Sliders, Quantum Leap, and Hard Questions by Ian Watson
The concept of alternate universes and a "true" existence
are fascinating ideas. I was a little confused about the
allegiences of various characters although to be honest I
know that was partly Mr Chalker's intention. Years ago I
read the Well of the Soul series and loved the idea of the
"create anything" machine. I think Mr Chalker has created an
equally wonderful introduction to the characters and story
here. I am very excited about where the plot will go.
Most recent customer reviews
I tracked down a copy of this book after reading the comments suggesting that "The Matrix" appropriated some of Chalker's ideas. Read morePublished on May 12 2004
If you are naturally curious, like interesting plot twists and rich environments, then you are going to love this book. Read morePublished on April 18 2004
Mr Chalker takes an ongoing presence in the works of the great Phillip K. Dick, and spins the begginigs of a series that will not let any fans down. Read morePublished on June 24 1998 by Edna Eudave-Jones
Chalker takes a great premise (and acknowledges Philip Dick for the inspiration) and makes a terrific story from it. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 1998 by John T. Horner
If you enjoy books that make you think, this one will set your gears a-spinnin' at high speed! The premise is wonderful, the characters well-drawn and constantly changing their... Read morePublished on March 6 1997
An engrossing book laced with lunacy that starts off low-key and then slips -- Oops -- through the literary and metaphysical and scientifc (actually, I found the hard-science stuff... Read morePublished on Jan. 4 1997