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Nick Sagan

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Bantam Press

Published : 2003

Copyright : Damned If I Don't Productions Inc 2003

ISBN-10 : HB 0-593-05190-4
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-593-05190-0

Publisher's Write-Up

It is a not-too-distant future in our all-too-recognizable world. It is the late twenty-first century and a deadly virus has seeped into human kind's genetic make-up. In only a few generations this plague will have wiped us off the face of the planet, but we're not going down without a fight. Teams of scientists, geneticists and programmers race to find a cure, but time is not on our side and our only hope lies in one last, desperate gamble...

Eighteen years later and ten children are about to come of age. One of them, a young man, is suddenly startled awake. He has no memory. His surroundings mean nothing to him. All he knows for absolute certain is that someone is trying to kill him. Unsure who he can trust, he is reacquainted with his companions, all of whom are being trained at a special school run by the elusive Maestro. As he tries to uncover the identity of his would-be killer, it becomes clear that the ramifications of his investigation are far greater than he could ever have imagined - that it's more, much more, than just his life that is at stake...

Smart, stylish, terrifying and thrilling in equal measure, Idlewild fuses the fierce imagination of The Matrix with the chilling social vision of Minority Report, and introduces a singular new literary voice.

'A genuine page turner. Absolutely fun, like a rollercoaster ride of fusion fiction: starts out like Nine Princes in Amber meets The Matrix, and as it goes on, it turns into several something elses... Gripping... the kind of book you simply don't want to stop reading.'

Neil Gaiman
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nigel (130104) Rating (9/10)

Review by Nigel
Rating 9/10
Idlewild starts out leaving the reader a little bemused by the goings on of its main character Halloween. Waking up with no memory of who or where he is you are taken on a mad exploration of the fantastical world he inhabits. As the story unfolds you discover he is in fact living in his own creation, a IVR gothic world complete with ghouls - his own space on the server if you like. Halloween is one of ten students at an Immersive Virtual Reality school where the pupils are taught by actually reliving the events that shape human history. Want to learn about evolution? Take a trip with Darwin on the Beagle.

All is not as it seems, however, and Halloween is convinced that someone, somewhere, is trying to kill him and perhaps the rest of the students. Why?

I would love to tell you more but I should warn you at this point it would spoil the story somewhat. So just to say, if you liked The Matrix and are intrigued by stories that question reality, as well as a good murder mystery come techno-thriller, then Idlewild will fulfil all your wants with ease. Don't read this review any further, just read the book and you will not regret it.

What the hell. For all those still sceptical here we go. How do you raise ten children, the last survivors of mankind, who have been genetically modified and grown to resurrect humanity, with no one to watch over them? Simple, create a virtual world and don't tell them everyone has perished at the hands of a man made plague. Hard to convince, so you do tell them they are attending a virtual reality school and that most of the time they are living in a virtual world. The truth, however, is that the world they emerge into is also virtual.

Now throw in the fact that someone doesn't actually agree with this model for the future of man and so starts to kill off the students. Which brings us nicely back to Halloween's paranoia and his difficulty accepting authority throughout his formative years.

As you can see it is all a bit difficult to explain and I don't really do it justice. Suffice to say it is an excellent novel that nicely brings together different genres and ideas in to what is basically a well thought out 'whodunit'. I really enjoyed this book and it has taken its rightful place next to Greg Egan and Richard Morgan on my SF bookshelves (only metaphorically as S is quite a way from E and M:).
Nigel (13th January 2004)

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