Friday, July 18, 2008

Cyberdrome




Cyberdrome
by Joseph & David Rhea
(CreateSpace / 1-434-80995-1 / 978-1-434-80995-7 / January 2008 / 292 pages / $14.95)
Reviewed by Dianne Salerni for PODBRAM

The Cyberdrome Corporation has found a unique way to develop ground-breaking technology: create a supercomputer containing hundreds of simulated human worlds, allow them to divert naturally from the true course of Earth’s history, and watch for the development of revolutionary technologies that don’t exist in the real world. The millions of inhabitants of these worlds have no idea that they are only programs, living simulated lives and observed by scientists from Earth Zero. Of course, the scientists from Earth Zero don’t realize that they are only programs, living in a simulated world and supervised by employees of Cyberdrome who are biologically interfaced with the digital universe.

When a rogue virus gets past the firewalls, wreaking havoc on the program and trapping forty humans interfaced with Cyberdrome, corporation leaders bring in Alek Grey, an expert at preventing break-ins to secure systems. Alek is not only the son of Matthew Grey, the top scientist of Cyberdrome currently trapped in the program, but he is the creator of the Cyberphage, the program which inserted the attack virus after it was stolen from Alek himself.

Cyberdrome is a fast-paced techno science fiction adventure, but do not be put off by the term “techno.” Written by two brothers with a background in designing computer games, Cyberdrome is nevertheless accessible to readers without experience in computer programming or simulations – like me. I prefer my science fiction to be based on unique settings, complex plots, and fascinating characters, and here Cyberdrome does not fail. Certainly, there is a degree of technical language, especially in the first couple of chapters, but I considered this to be “world building” and the Rhea brothers introduced the universe of Cyberdrome by immersion, rather than by tedious explanations. It was not more than I could handle, and I loved the storyline.

When Alek ultimately interfaces with Cyberdrome, he encounters programs that think they are human, humans who might just be programs, and a program that could possibly be turning into a super-human intelligence. Layer after layer of plot twists and double-crosses add to the delicious tumult, and the authors even tip their hats at the reader by acknowledging this. When the heroine warns the hero that the character they have just encountered is “not real,” the character replies, “I’m quite real. At least in the context of our current understanding of what defines reality in this world we have created.” Now that’s a mouthful!

Action packed, with memorable characters and imaginative settings, Cyberdrome is a satisfying science fiction adventure. And, if you do happen to have a background in computer programming or gaming, you’ll probably appreciate it on a whole other level!


See Also: Dianne's Authors Den Review
Dianne's High Spirits Review
The Cyberdrome Website
Joseph Rhea's Website

No comments: