The Fourth World
Copyright 2000 by
I first read this on the 25th October 2001.
America has retreated largely into virtual reality, its citizens
spending their lives in their little cubbyhole apartments strapped into
their VR chairs.
In space, the Mars colony ship, the Mariana. is undergoing final
preparations for departure, but the colonists have yet to be chosen.
Star has partially achieved her ambition: she's made it into orbit.
She did this by dint of working maintenance on the J. P. Morgan, a Webnet repair station.
Now she's going to do whatever it takes to achieve the rest of her
ambition: to be on the Mariana when it leaves for Mars.
Meanwhile in Mexico, Margaret Mayfield, Santee St John and Webster
Webfoot journey through Mexico preparing the ground, with the aid of some hijacked
nano-technology, for the new Mexican revolution.
Also in Mexico Zack, transplanted Idahoan, smokes his dope and is very
careful not to see the evil around him.
It's humorous, heart-rending, joyous, political and revolutionary. It's
got some excellent writing - I was rather taken with:
"His sister used to say that he had no shame, but she didn't know him.
He was filled with it. It was coming out of his ears.`1"
And this slightly abridged exchange on the subject of using real cash
in the real world rather than electronic transactions in VR:
"I've never really handled cash too much before"
"Ever play Monopoly?"
"Virtual. When I was a kid."
"It's the same as that"
What an excellent book for the new millennium. Initially the book is
distinctly non-SF, but as it progresses, it evolves into very high
quality science fiction.
I was amused to see "Oh shit" quoted once again as famous
last words in dire situations. I hope that if such a moment comes for
me, I'll remember what to say. Almost as good as Wilde's
"My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go." But then that wasn't really on his deathbed."
Or George V, King of Great Britain and Ireland (1865-1936) with his immortal
"Bugger Bognor." If you've ever been to Bognor, you'll sympathise with his sentiments
Then there was Joseph Henry Green (1791-1863), clearly a man of some
poise, who checked his own pulse, announced "Stopped," and died.
In marked contrast to the above,the sadly unfortunate General John "Uncle John"
Sedgwick (1813-1864) who commented "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist--."
I'll finish this rambling with "Pancho" Villa's last words:
"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."
Last Words Of Real People" for providing these quotations,
And returning momentarily to the book, read it - it's great.
Loaded on the 20th January 2002.