She stole his heart.
He stole her mind.

He didn't want the relationship to end. Now, he may never escape her.




book seven of the vinestead anthology


“This was the night we said our last goodbye,” said X. He turned to look at C. “Face to face, anyway. Do you remember?” He didn’t wait for a reply. “You were sitting there and I was standing here and thunder—”

A low rumble erupted in the distance.

X lifted his hand to the sound. “And thunder was crashing. A storm was coming. I remember because I had to drive back in the rain.” The more he thought about it, the more surreal the whole night became. A threatening storm moving low over the East Coast, waiting until he had parted ways with C before unleashing its torrent on the ground below. “It was lucky. Or divine intervention. What do you think?”

That was the problem, X realized. She didn’t think anything because she couldn’t think at all. She was just a clone, a virtual copy, a shell of the girl he loved. It reminded him of the videos he kept of C, of the way he used to watch them with the sound turned down, watching the movement of her lips, knowing the words by memory, but slowly realizing that the sound of her voice was fading with each viewing. This clone was far more advanced, full of tactile wonders that video could never provide, but he knew that the same limitation existed. He could go back and replay the memory of that night, give in to the simulation and just experience it as he had before, a spectator to a rerun. He could change the memory if he wanted to, break out of it and create a new one…


"A snowflake fell amongst the digital trees, pulsing lightly as it passed between its brothers, floating down to the white ground. X stood with his hands on the railing of the wooden bridge he had just finished creating, admiring the texture. It felt just like it would have in Terrareal, out there where nature was the true creator, where the bridge was just the sum result of necessity, a tool to be used to cross the oft-empty creek below it. But here, in the virtual construct, buried deep in the outer reaches of the Net, it was a true miracle. To make it feel like it did, smell like it did, was a feat that X took great pride in."

When X discovers that his long distance relationship with C is about to end, he copies her mind and loads her into a virtual avatar in the Net. But in his haste to preserve his high school sweetheart, X forgets to program the one feature he ends up needing most: how to turn her off.

Now it is up to Natalie and G to rescue their friend from the farthest reaches of the Net. Along the way, they must battle a cipher who cannot be killed, a virus that cannot be stopped, and a global conglomerate that will do anything to seize control of the precious Net.

Book 1 | Science Fiction | 260 pages | ISBN: 978-1453885413 | 2007-12-01


Natalie Purcell


Anela Zabora


Julius Parker

Vinestead International
Megan Riley


Xronixle is independently published. If you enjoyed the book, please consider leaving a review at Amazon and/or Goodreads.

Jason Roy
Cyberpunk and Virtual Reality Meets Snapchat
My favorite thing about Xronixle was definitely the concept of the immersive virtual world and it's ramifications on society. It was interesting to see Verastiqui's early views of such a world and the toll it would take on those most involved with it. I can see a great number of parallels between the inhabitants of the virtual reality and the world of today's smartphone-addicted citizens.

While the plot and story were interesting albeit amateurish (definitely to be expected with a very early work like this); I definitely enjoyed the way the characters and the world were brought to life. I could see the imagery playing out as if it were a "birth of the internet" era cyber-thriller blockbuster a la "The Matrix" or "Johnny Mnemonic". It brought back fond memory of the younger me's interest in cyber-punk novels and my time playing Netrunner.

I'm looking forward to starting the next one.
Good book overall
This book was pretty good overall but I was let down by the ending. I realize not all books have to end happy, but this was so sad at the end. I would have liked to see something with a little more hope. Still, good book that I enjoyed.
D. Cox
Not for me. I made it through 35% of the book and gave it up. Going over scenes multiple times with different cloned versions with different memories must have worked better in the author's head. It was much too confusing and didn't seem to be moving forward.
Great Read (but how the hell do you say the title?)
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Girl falls out of love, so boy makes a digital copy of girl, who turns into a cyber god bent on revenge. Just your typical teenage romance for the digital age, right?

Aside from the title (which, seriously, how the hell would you pronounce that?), I really loved this book once I got going with it. The characters are beautifully drawn, if slightly annoying sometimes with their obsessions, and the representation of what life could be like a few years from now is eerie and resonant. The novel gets slightly repetitive in places, with X constantly revisiting and reliving scenes of his time with C, but that seems to be a deliberate choice on the part of the author. With our entire lives available for replay, it's easy to fall into a loop, living in the past. I also had a slight issue with how quickly everyone falls into obsessive, "I would die for you" love, but they are all teenagers, so I guess it's not that strange.

One thing I did dislike is that one of the main characters, typically represented as a good guy, gets disturbingly rapey at one point. It's never addressed afterwards, and there are no consequences for him. I know that that's how things often play out in real life, but I feel like the author could have taken a stronger stance against it.

I read this after Veneer, a novel by the same author, and when I realized it partway through my enjoyment of it definitely increased. If possible, I definitely recommend reading Veneer first, even though this comes earlier chronologically.
I certainly enjoyed what this book promised from the description and other's reviews. Probably one of the biggest problems with science fiction writing is not explaining a few aspects of the technology involved. Still, I did like the book for what was presented story wise.
Great book from a budding author
This is a really interesting read from an up-and-coming author. The pacing is good, and the characters are well thought out. It definitely brings up some philosophical thoughts, and can run a serious risk of forcing the reader to think about their fiction.
Gripping plot with real characters
As an ardent sci-fi fan I always appreciate it, regardless of genre, when the author invests in developing truly 3 dimensional interesting characters rather than simplistic good guys and bad guys and Verastiqui delivered. Then he took these characters on an intricate fast paced tale of human passion and growth while trying to paint one picture of where the slowly dissolving line between virtual vs. physical reality might bring us. obviously I enjoyed it.
Expecting Great Things From This Author
I got this book as a gift. I haven't read a non-fiction book in a while, so I wasn't sure what I'd think. But Daniel Verastiqui has a way of investing you into the book that has you really pulling for the characters. I had to keep reminding myself that these guys only existed in his head--or else I would've gone insane! There are so many twists and turns that I was constantly on edge. I'll admit, my work suffered a bit bc I was constantly trying to sneak a read to see what happened next. Don't want to give any spoilers, but the ending is one that I both hated and loved. It was a great ending, book writing-wise, but left me eager for him to finish his next book. I still want a part 2 of Xronixle, but his newest book, Veneer, also takes you on a ride that you just don't want to get off. I also love the pokes into human ethics and morals that he makes in his books, frequently giving you things to think about after all is said and done.
Megan Allen
High tech philosophy?
What's the nature of reality? Where does the soul exist? Would sex be twice as good if simultaneously performed in real life and virtual reality? Just some of the questions considered while reading this novel of a high tech world (but without too much high tech jargon!). A good read I would highly recommend.
Sarah Smith
Should have been 4 stars, but...
I really, really liked this book, in spite of the things that made it 3 stars instead of 4. Excellent plot, good characters, deft hand at description and action both. Sometimes tracking who was a clone, who was jacked in from home was difficult. And at one point a character is described as committing suicide, when the last we had heard the character was extremely angry, not self destructive, so that came out of nowhere.

I didn't mind the poor grammar when the characters were speaking, because that's the way people talk, especially just coming out of high school/college, but I did mind it in descriptive passages.

One constant annoyance: the author uses the wrong word. "Tact" instead of "tack" or "tacky"; "chord" instead of "cord"; "mantle" instead of "mantel". Though they're homonyms, each has a very different meaning. Then there's "nauseous" which is misspelled throughout as "nauseas". And other words where I can guess what the author meant to use, but he used the wrong one.

But don't let those errors stop you from reading this book. If you're into tech stuff and active on the Net, you'll love it. I hereby offer to proofread his next one, if the author would like the help.
Timothy Thomas
Sex, Violence, and Augmented Reality
Verastiqui's book was a fascinating take on the myopic world of teenagers. He imagines a world in which everything is a computer generated facade (veneer in the books' parlance) over concrete blocks and real people's visages, that can be easily changed with just a thought. Teenagers are able to look like cartoon characters or any other way they want. A fight between two teenagers leads to a glitch in the system that makes all the characters deal with what reality really means. Fascinating ideas about the identity of who we are vs. the way people perceive us.
Just Jane
Veneer Forever Changed
You will never think of furniture when you hear the word Veneer again. This book so creatively changes that paradigm and reveals new conclusions! You find yourself rooting for the different characters, all easy to identify with. Scorching fast read. When is the sequel coming out?
Not Bad
First off, I will say that after some initial awkwardness I got into the story and was compelled to keep reading. That being said I did find many aspects of the book's virtual reality world to be derivative of the cyberpunk genre: The jacking in, the literal representation inside the net, having near-super powers in the virtual world, the illegal information traders lurking in the shadows, the evil corporation behind it all, etc. I felt like the book didn't tread any new ground in that area. I attended UT and lived in Jester center so I got all the references; however, someone not familiar would likely wonder why the author keeps referring to insignificant background features by their proper names. Still, I had a hard time putting it down, and I can't say exactly why.
Scott Graber
A must read for any Cyberpunk fan!
Xronixle is simply an astonishing, clever, funny, and suspenseful work of the imagination. What begins as a tale of longing for a distant love in a technologically advanced future of simulated reality constructs, downloadable consciousness, and hackers-for-hire, this cyber-thriller takes a dark turn as the protagonist X becomes entangled in a virtual maelstrom. Verastiqui's take on human nature, advanced technology and their respective combination is a thoroughly enjoyable read and will keep you both laughing and on the edge of your seat the whole time. The G character is especially memorable and the "data rush" scene alone is worth the price of the book!
Mark V.
Great book! This was a really good read, very entertaining. G is my favorite character, i can only hope for a spin off, GRONIGLE maybe? Really enjoyed the story along with all its twists and turns. The data rush scene was awesome, it was kind of like a Tron meets Rollerball kind of thing. Anyways, can't wait for the movie!