The Extremes Paperback – Sep 8 2005
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A bizarre and horrible coincidence draws FBI special agent Teresa Simons to England: on the same day that a mass murderer killed her husband and fourteen others in Kingwood City, Texas, another spree killer massacred seventeen in the small Sussex town of Bulverton. Teresa seeks to understand her husband's death by exploring the similar but unrelated event in Bulverton, as she once explored reconstructions of historical mass murders in ExEx (Extreme Experience, a brutally realistic form of virtual reality) to train for her FBI job. In Bulverton she finds a commercial ExEx parlor, which, she is horrified and fascinated to discover, offers a Bulverton mass-murder scenario. As Teresa explores both the town and the scenario of Bulverton, the separations between reality and ExEx, between ExEx murder reconstructions, between past and present, begin to blur--and so does the separation between Kingwood City and Bulverton, as Teresa realizes the simultaneity of the events may be more than a coincidence.
A New York Times Recommended Book, The Extremes received the British Science Fiction Association award for 1999. Christopher Priest's previous novel, The Prestige, won the World Fantasy Award and the James Tait Black Award. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
A forensic thriller with a strong science fictional element, Priest's fourth novel provides suspenseful, intelligent entertainment. On the same day, at the same time, that a man with a gun committed mass murder in Kingston City, Texas, another armed man did the same in the seaside resort town of Bulverton, England. FBI agent Teresa Simons, 43, lost her husband in Kingston City. Now she's visiting Bulverton to determine if the slayings were more than coincidence. Teresa's training included the virtual reality scenarios of ExEx (Extreme Experience), which reconstructs violent events and requires participants to get shot over and over until they learn the right way to fight back. The FBI uses ExEx for training; companies market it for entertainment. Teresa uses ExEx facilities in Bulverton to seek parallels between the two murder sprees. But the GunHo Corporation has a major ExEx investment in the Bulverton incident, and wants to thwart Teresa. Could ExEx's feedback loops have altered time and reality, affecting or even creating the paired killings? Teresa's discoveries horrify her, but propel her into action. She endures a barrage of carnage to find her way back to her love. Priest (The Prestige) keeps one eye on his suspenseful plot, another on the SF angles that underpin it and a third, camera-eye on the real implications of worldwide instant communication, virtual reality and media-driven violence. If his lingo can get a bit thick ("It's the same thing, in algorithmic terms, as your basic what-the-hell symbolic adumbration"), his plot will keep most readers raptly amazed. (May) FYI: The Prestige won the 1996 World Fantasy Award for best novel.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I was disappointed with the blatant anti-gun message. Now that I know the author is English, it makes sense, but hey, America is the crime capital of the world? And simply because of the "abundance" of guns? And that the main character was "poisoned" by her father because he was a gun fan?
I'm sure the other reviewers are right, I'm just too unsophisticated to "get it." However, for the American audience, this book completely tanked. I picked it up for one dollar at our local convenience store. Sure, it didn't cost much, but the time invested reading it could have been used a lot better.
This is the kind of SF I need now and then, maybe the best kind; where the whole story isn't techy, there is just one added element/theme to a time that could otherwise be today, ExEx. (Extreme Experience, virtual reality on steroids.) The story takes a very pleasant ramble through Teresa's' life, and from time to time she does an ExEx scenario, first for FBI training and later through a commercial provider. The iterative process she goes through to improve her performance is the most interesting of the whole book. I want this in my life for home, work and social situations. It's like the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, where he is trapped into relieving the same day over and over again, until he eventually he gets it right. How cool would that be??
The rich, lush detail of the novel echoes the supposed detail Teresa finds in the hyper-real VR scenarios.Read more ›
This novel focuses on one character's virtual reality experiences. I won't bother to tell the story - another reviewer already did that. What stands out is this book, though, is the way the plot folds over and over, until the reader loses touch with reality.
I say this is a disturbing book as well - when I was reading it, I found it so skewed that I could only read a few paragraphs at a time. I had to stop and do something else for a few minutes, to anchor myself, before coming back to it. Nevertheless, I read it in one day.
This book incites a kind of subconscious itch, a discomfort that arises from not knowing what reality the characters is in. A brilliant work, along the same line as The Prestige, with its multiple realities.
In the end, this novel shows that the book is the ultimate virtual reality device. Preist's mastery of a complex plot leads the reader down dark paths to dead-ends, before finally coming to a totally unexpected resolution.
Great work, Chris.
Most recent customer reviews
The novel started out with a very strong and intriguing beginning, but by the second half it was getting really tedious with the protagonist's repeated virtual experiences and a... Read morePublished on Dec 3 2003 by lady_of_mercia
Teresa Simons has the idea that a random shooter in Bulverton, England is somehow linked to the random shooting that killed her husband in Texas. Read morePublished on March 12 2002 by frumiousb
I am certainly surprised that some of the previous reviewers found this book dull. I found it to be that rarest of books for me--a genuine page-turner! Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2002
This was the first Christopher Priest book I have read. His writing style is very good, keeping the book well paced and bringing you into the world of ExEx - Extreme Experiences. Read morePublished on July 22 2001 by Tman