Mir: A Novel of Virtual Reality

Alexander Besher, Author Simon & Schuster $24 (304p) ISBN 978-0-684-83087-2
The brave new world Besher envisioned in his well-received debut novel, Rim (1994), a fizzy blend of Eastern spiritualism and Western cyber-technology, has flattened in this sequel into a virtual retread of the Cold War, 21st-century style. Trevor Gobi, 24, son of Rim's hero, Frank Gobi, lives in a world of virtual nations where Germany's Fourth Reich, complete with cybernetic concentration camps, confronts neo-czarist Russia and the U.S. for online superpower supremacy. On vacation in Europe, Trevor's girlfriend, Nelly, starts to sport a new virtual tattoo and becomes the unwitting carrier of the newest Russian cyber virus (and secret weapon), code-named ""Mir,"" which can control consciousness as if it were programmable software, moving one's spirit on- and offline at will. While Nelly and the virus, which she nicknames ""Sinbad,"" enter into a heated sexual relationship, agents of the U.S. Avatar Immigration and Naturalization Service and thugs from the Russian/Japanese mob close in on the unsuspecting pair. The ensuing chase leads to a global virtual performance aimed at infecting the world with Mir. Besher's funky rhythms misfire, however, and the climax sputters out too soon, with the lovers reunited and the world no wiser. This is a curiously pedestrian outing from an author who, judging from his first novel and portions of this one, boasts an extraordinary imagination and invigorating humor. Editor, Bob Mecoy. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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