cover image Virtual Mode

Virtual Mode

Piers Anthony. Putnam Publishing Group, $16.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13661-0

Darius, a Cyng of Hlahtar, has traveled to earth in order to meet his true love, a suicidal teen named Colene, and bring her back to his universe. But in proving to her that other worlds exist, Darius uses up the power of the artifact that would have permitted them to travel, and they must try a slower, more dangerous method: the creation of a four-dimensional universe. Darius picks five anchor points in five different universes to set up a skew path, a Virtual Mode, which the anchors can walk upon. The anchor points, it turns out, are people: Darius, Colene and three others. With this fresh, imaginative device, Anthony ( Macroscope ) inaugurates a new series, in which each volume will feature anchor persons lost and gained, shifting the skew path which the others are traversing and bringing new universes into play. Colene, according to an author's note here, is a composite of several teenagers who corresponded with Anthony; whatever her genesis, she is a clearly defined character, virtues, flaws and all, and is brought fully to life in this skillful, enjoyable book. (Feb.)