This Virtual Night

C.S. Friedman. DAW, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-0-756409-88-3
The long-awaited second entry in Friedman’s Outworlds series (after 1998’s This Alien Shore) will only whet the appetites of hard sci-fi fans for more adventures set in Friedman’s expertly rendered vision of the future. Centuries prior, a major technological breakthrough, the Hausman Drive, enabled humans to colonize the universe, but the development came with a steep price, as the drive altered the DNA of all those who used it, leading them to have mutated offspring who appear inhuman. Earth cut off all contact with these Variant colonists, but now a new method of travel into deep space offers the possibility of reunification for humankind. Against this backdrop, a mysterious explosion on Harmony Station disables the station’s life support system and kills two players of Dragonslayer, a virtual reality game. Suspicions of sabotage lead two very different characters to investigate: Micah Bello, Dragonslayer’s designer, fears he will be falsely accused of planting malware within the game and seeks to clear his name, and mercenary Ru Gaya is hired to look into an abandoned research station which may be linked to the explosion. Friedman perfectly balances action and characterization while keeping up a page-turning pace. Readers won’t want to put this one down. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/30/2020
Release date: 10/13/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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