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The Cybernetic Walrus: The Wonderland Gambit: Book One Paperback – Nov 14 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (Nov. 14 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345386906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345386908
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 367 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,256,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

From Booklist

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

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Jack L. Chalker's theory of existence was spelled out in Book I, P. 223: "... Sometime, somebody, in a world we otherwise know nothing about but which has to be far more advanced than the one we now knew, built a vast computer for some reason and put tremendous knowledge and capability into it. Something went wrong, or so it seemed. A group, a small group, of people from that original place, that true universe, had come into the system and gotten lost, then trapped, in an ever-increasing series of exquisitely detailed virtual universes.. [Brand] was the only hope of getting everybody together again and back to reality. ..."
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.
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Format: Paperback
I know! Thirteenth Floor wasn't based on this novel (or the series, either), but that movie kept coming to mind as I read the first part of Cybernetic Walrus. Chalker is original and creative in this book, though, and it's much more satisfying than the "What Is Real?" movies out there. A thoroughly enjoyable book, stands as an adventure in its own right, but also beckons the reader on to the rest of the trilogy.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Follows the usual theme in J Chalker's books that everyting including identity is fluid.
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
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By A Customer on April 15 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chalker always amazes me with his imagination. Much of fantasy/science fiction literature follows familiar established themes with some originality thrown in from time to time. For all of that, it is very entertaining for the most part. It is very hard for a writer to surprise his readers today. To be able to take familiar ideas, put subtle twists on them using current technology, and create something so completely new and entertaining is a true gift and Jack Chalker has it. I can't begin to express the enjoyment his works have given me. This series has to one of his best yet
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am optimistic about the story line itself.
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.
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By A Customer on Dec 19 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jack Chalker continues his tradition of unique ideas and perspectives in the Wonderland series. What starts out as a classic cyberspace story quickly turns in unexpected directions. This book will definitely get you thinking about the true nature of reality. If you liked the movie, "The Matrix," get this book! The movie stole Chalker's ideas without giving credit, and the book explores the ideas to a greater depth. Too bad Del Rey is so short-sighted and has not reprinted the 3rd book in this series.
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