PsyBot: A Novel of the Near Future Paperback – May 15 2014
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About the Author
Nowick Gray had the good fortune to work and play on some of the first time-sharing computers, at Dartmouth College (home of the BASIC programming language) in 1968, when beginning a BA in English. By the nineties he was quick to adapt an early laptop to 12-volt power he generated from his waterline in wilderness British Columbia; and by 1996 he had survived the proto-Web era and merged with the Internet. A fascination endures with what Joe Norton would call “the computer mind.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In the near future a computer programmer, already somewhat dysfunctional, finds his dreams taken over by a series of malicious nightmares that he can neither control nor escape from, all urging that he undertake some deadly mission he can’t define.
He suspects he’s the victim of a Virtual Reality (VR) program from his workplace. Finding clues to his dilemma in the vivid horrors themselves, both sleeping and waking, he embarks on a lengthy quest to fight back.
But who’s responsible? His drone of a boss? His quirky co-workers? His flighty lovers? The firm’s defense-contractor clients? Evil gamers? Aliens? Or is the whole thing solely in his paranoia-riven brain? He becomes unmoored from his “normal life,” moving farther and farther from that shore with every decision he makes.
The stream-of-consciousness writing style takes some getting used to. Our protagonist journeys on ships of high-masted prose navigating through seas of sentence fragments. (Flows? Floes? Get my drift?)
That said the work is a compelling look at the nature of reality, an interesting mystery and a warning about the possible misuses and consequences, intended or not, of future VR.
Note: The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair, and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.
PsyBot is an interesting but strange read that I couldn't figure out until the very end. Despite the straight-forward summary that piqued my interest, I wasn't sure what was truly happening and what was only in the main character's head.
This calls to mind one of my favorite books, Slaughterhouse Five, with its surrealistic imagery and jumps between time and place. I found myself questioning Norton's sanity--which was compounded by his absolute dedication to his belief that this was a computer virus infiltrating his mind. Even his friends and lovers drifted away from him as he explained to them what was happening. He was fearful of their disbelief but more committed once they showed doubt.
As with Mr. Gray's Strange Love / Romance Not For Sale , the characters in PsyBot are distinctive and interesting. Creating living, breathing people seems to be his forte. Despite my questioning of Norton's sanity, he was never too far gone that I didn't like him or his observations. Despite being a ladies' man (OK, I really hate that term, but if the shoe fits ...), his endearing self-deprecation never made me dislike him as a person. And it's not just the main character, but every one character populating the book was his or her own person.
If you enjoy bizarre books that you can't quite pin down and fascinating three-dimensional characters, I recommend PsyBot. I look forward to meeting Mr. Gray's future characters and seeing what mischief they get themselves into.