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Otherland

I think I'll switch gears for a minute, and talk about the books I'm currently reading, the Otherland series by Tad Williams.

As I've mentioned before, I am a fan of the .hack series. For those not familiar with the series, it revolves around a popular MMORPG called "The World", which is usually played with head mounted displays. The primary spark to the plots of the .hack series involve characters going mysteriously going into comas during the game, due to events within the game, as observed by people associated with those going into comas (though not believed by others, as that is simply a silly concept). In the first series, it is the protagonist Kite's friend Orca, and in the second, it is the protagonist Haseo's friend Shino. Different sets of events, different proceedings, but in both cases thats what really sparked the games to start.

On Blind Guardian's latest album, A Twist in the Myth, there is a song called Otherland. One of my favorites from the album, when I first heard it I had interpreted it as it sounded, like an illusionary world that the characters of the song are trapped in somehow. However, it was pointed out to me by someone on the Dothackers.net forums that it is based on a book series of the same name, with a storyline very much similar to the .hack series. Intrigued, I checked out the first book from the library, and got hooked.

The storyline very much starts off the same way. It takes place in the future, somewhere around the 2070's, where the internet and virtual reality technology had evolved to a point where it was very much a virtual world that could be explored. The main protagonist of the story is a woman named Renie, a college teacher in South Africa. Her younger brother falls ill and into a coma after exploring a paid part of the internet he broke into, and encountered something odd according to the friend that was with him. She then begins her investigation into what happened, with the aid of one of her students which had become her friend, and through the course discovered a second network, called Otherland, much more complex and realistic then the internet, and she and others were gathered together by a mysterious man who wanted them to go into Otherland to rescue a person trapped within. Once inside, they discover they are trapped within, everything feeling real to them and their physical connections seemingly nonexistent, and they can't be unplugged from Otherland without enduring unending pain.

Short summary, yes, especially for such long books. The Otherland story is four books total, each about 800 pages in length. There's much more to the story, but I don't really want to spoil it. All I can say though, is that it's a very intriguing story, rich in description and complexity, and I'm loving every page of it.


Date posted: 07 11 07 - 23:18
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