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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
The Fourth World

Copyright 2000 by Dennis Danvers

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (3/5)

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."

Thanks to 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.
    
Cover of The Fourth World

Reviews of other work by Dennis Danvers
End Of Days