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VIRTUAL WORLD by Chris Westwood

VIRTUAL WORLD

By Chris Westwood

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-670-87546-5
Publisher: Viking

 From Westwood (Brother of Mine, 1994, etc.), a silly, slippery cyberspace tale. In the near future, Jack and Kyle live in a violent world where venturing outside of the towering apartment buildings is an ordeal, and where cable home shopping and online movies are favorite pastimes. When Jack learns of a new virtual reality game, Silicon Sphere, he can't wait to play, but is unprepared when he becomes trapped in the virtual world along with other young hackers. Eventually, hotshot Eddie Matrix (``At night, in bed, a cursor blinked behind his closed eyes'') helps the teens escape their computerized cage and returns them to the real world, where Jack eagerly turns to some books for wholesome entertainment. Westwood's condemnation of computers is lacking in originality or subtlety--characters who indulge in VR games complain of withdrawal-like symptoms--while his grasp of technology is shaky at best, with Jack so fascinated by his simple color monitor that he can't glance at a bedside clock to see how much time has elapsed. Few readers--up on the latest technobabble or not--will want to download this diatribe. (Fiction. 12-14)