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I was in the market for a new audiobook, and browsing not just authors but narrators that I like. Michael Page could, in my opinion, read out last week's shopping list and make it sound ascerbic and witty. Even better, his characterisation is distinct and his accents spot-on.
Having said that, Reality 36 is considerably more entertaining and engaging than last week's shopping list. Guy Haley has built a realistic and multi-layered world with a comprehensible history that leads on from the modern day to a deeply believable environmentally-damaged and cybernetically-enhanced future. His characters have just enough backstory to make them believable without weighing them down with unnecessary detail. As for the plot... well, Otto, a a cybernetically-enhanced ex-mercenary and his partner Richards, one of the few remaining sane AIs, are hired to solve the murder of one of the great AI-rights lobbyists. One of the many problems facing them however, is the fact that the man was, apparently, murdered more than once...
And if *that* doesn't pique your interest, nothing will!
Every year I suggest that Audible give "frequent flyers" the ability to give one book per year a 6th star. This is mine.
It is a near-future detective buddy story -- but much more. Haley weaves a Peter Hamilton-esque sense of mixing a real world storyline with a related in-machine story. I was also reminded of two of my all time favorite series -- Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon/Kovacs and Charles Stross' Halting State/Rule 34.
The narration was extraordinary as well.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Guy Haley's Reality 36 is set in the future when advanced AIs are commonplace and the virtual reality of gaming worlds has evolved to serve as alternate universes. The tale boils down to a complex detective story with a unique team of a Level 5 AI (quite advanced) and a semi-retired military cyborg. The crime under investigation concerns the death of a prominent AI researchers who was also an AI rights activist. Various competing agencies and freelancers are on the trail and the action is quite intense with no clear idea for what started it all.
The sci-fi elements are a solid blend of AI with a quirky VR world with some robotics thrown in for good measure. The weakest component is the formulaic construction of the VR world. The detective sleuthing is well done with good pacing and numerous plot twists. The chemistry between the partners is entertaining and results in a great team.
The narration is quite good, although the overall story construction is a bit slow in the beginning in terms of plot development, while then ending could use a bit more closure.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful