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Xronixle by Daniel Verastiqui
Purchase link: /amazon/?xronixle

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Message from VNET PRAISE DAEMON...

"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." - Jeba

"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." - ForrestC53

user@vnet:~/books/xronixle$ cat description.txt

"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.

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

user@vnet:~/books/xronixle$ ls characters/

user@vnet:~/books/xronixle$ ./

Year(s) Covered: 1998
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user@vnet:~/books/xronixle$ mysql -u ZERO_COOL -pHACKTHEPLANET -e "select * from reviews where slug = 'xronixle' order by RAND() limit 5

********** 1. row ***********
      name: Megan Allen
     stamp: 2012-02-11
     stars: 4
     title: High tech philosophy?
   content: 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.

********** 2. row ***********
      name: Faloi
     stamp: 2012-11-19
     stars: 5
     title: Great book from a budding author
   content: 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.

********** 3. row ***********
      name: scififan1337
     stamp: 2008-09-08
     title: Not Bad
   content: 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.

********** 4. row ***********
      name: Jason Roy
     stamp: 2016-06-03
     stars: 4
     title: Cyberpunk and Virtual Reality Meets Snapchat
   content: 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.

********** 5. row ***********
      name: Jeba
     stamp: 2013-04-03
     stars: 5
     title: Great Read (but how the hell do you say the title?)
   content: 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.

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