A Novel

Cover image for


Author: Ryan Grabow
Published: 2009
Language: English
Wordcount: 125,924 / 354 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 82
LoC Categories: PS, TL
Downloads: 3,807
Added to site: 2010.01.12 26295
License: by-nc-nd

Brandon Dauphin feels like a dying ember. He’s jobless and feels worthless, and falling in love has only made his problem worse. In an authoritarian and overstimulated 22nd-century America, all he can do to relieve his pain is indulge in the computer-simulated fantasies of a network called Dynamic Reality, until a virus takes control of the simulation. Unable to return to the real world, Brandon finds that the virus shares his questions about existence, and that she will stop at nothing for her answers.

Show Excerpt

mand Logoff!"

The office began to disappear around us as the reset amai bid us off with "Thank you for thinking InTek reality, enjoy us again soon!"

After a few seconds, we were standing in front of a golden revolving door with a large InTek logo stamped above it: the entrance to one of the millions of skyscrapers in the plaza environment, one of the many exteriors regularly reprogrammed to look more impressive than the others, and more worthy of the billboards advertising hot new constructs and 21-day free trials. We stepped out into the public data space just as we would've walked out onto any city street, always reminded by the fantastic looking people and magical objects that we weren't in our flesh-and-blood bodies.

"Stupid! It's all so stupid!"

"It's not like you keep anything important on these servers," I was quick to say, "and I know you make like a trillion backups... seriously, did you really lose anything valuable?"

"No, I didn't," she replied. "There wasn't anyt


Average Rating of 2.3 from 4 reviews: ***

At first the book seemed like it was going to get interesting, then it became a laborious read because of its overly-long religious philosophical introspections. I skipped over large sections of it and didn't feel like I missed anything.


a laborious read


Very few instances of picking up this book did I find I was engrossed in the material and largely just pushed through the page count. It became a chore to read. I nearly walked away from it several times but continued to slug through. While I don't regret continuing I don't feel I gained anything from the book.

There are the inklings of a solid read in here mired underneath tedious philosophical asides. As the book descends in religious banter between two characters it drags to a crawl. Unmercifully over long, this could have been streamlined in to a much better read.


The first few pages had me groaning "another cyberpunk novel". Lots of acronyms and jargon are tossed out with little to no context, making a bit difficult to scan.

But I always like to try to give a fair reading, so I plodded on, and after a little while, I found myself engrossed.

The climax, like the exposition, were a bit overly drawn out, and I felt that closure could have been achieved in a more streamlined manner.

The author plainly classifies this as an "unashamed attempt at Philosophical (Christian) Science Fiction", wherein a self-aware artificial intelligence journeys to discover the meaning of life.

A human protagonist accompanies, at first unwillingly, the AI in her quest, and also finds the answers to his own questions.

The social and economic situations strike surprising close to home. Given this, I do wish the author did not attach specific dates, as I feel this could be "tomorrow" rather than a century-and-a-half into the future.



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