OTHERLAND: Sea of Silver Light
This stunning finale to the gigantic Otherland tetralogy (City of Golden Shadow, etc.), a brilliant fusion of quest fantasy and technological SF, is sure to please Williams's many fans. Otherland, a complete universe co-existent with the real world, incorporates elements of the Arabian Nights, the Alice and Oz books, the Neanderthal Age, the Trojan War, rewritten Roman history (Hannibal returns three centuries after his death to crush Rome, without elephants), as well as numerous nursery rhymes and fables. An enormous cast of courageous humans confronts monstrous insects, unimaginable dangers and all the appurtenances of fantastic adventure. At nearly 700 pages this is a mighty mouthful to swallow, but a well-crafted if convoluted plot sustains interest through the lengthy climax, which explains the inexplicable. Those scenes grounded in a recognizable world are the most compelling. Individuals may live in both worlds, despite Otherland being only made of "light and numbers." Characters dead in real life can still be alive in the virtual world, as in the poignant plight of a young woman, whose dress and manners are 18th century, who's in love with a young man snatched, apparently, from the trenches of WWI. Are they real or "sims" (simulations)? Generously, the author supplies two master villains: one for whom we may begrudge some respect; for the other, no mercy. The Otherland books are a major accomplishment. Agent, Matt Bialer. (Apr. 10)
Forecast:Williams should enjoy another run up the genre bestseller lists with this strong concluding volume.