Whiteout

Sage Walker, Author
Sage Walker, Author Tor Books $23.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-85765-3
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-312-86302-9
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Breaking new ground in novels about virtual reality, Walker's first novel treats VR more as a means than an end, focusing less on the technology itself than on those who use it. Signy Thomas is a member of ""Edges,"" a group of men and women of varying special talents (and a medley of past and present intimacies) who have formed a VR research company. They accept a commission from the Tanaka Corporation, ostensibly to get the world's leaders to agree to maintain current limits on the harvesting of krill in the Antarctic. The job seems too easy until discrepancies arise and one of the Edges team, Dr. Jared Balchen, is kidnapped from a Tanaka ship. Even after his disappearance, Jared's spirit and virtual presence hover over the actions of his colleagues. While their primary contact is often through VR, the individual members of Edges travel frequently through ""real"" space--though Walker deliberately eschews describing most of the locations. While the author builds a complex yet credible web of inter- and intracorporate treachery and double crosses (and reveals Tanaka's real goal in the process), every death she limns is a noble one, with even death ultimately contemplated as a life-giving experience. This is an impressive debut, rich in ideas and feeling, told in a voice all its own. (Apr.)
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