A tepid thriller by Hogan (The Proteus Operation, 1985) that asks, is it live or virtual reality? At the turn of the 21st century, Joe Corrigan, proud Irishman and computer expert extraordinaire, awakes in a hospital with no memory of how he got there. Corrigan had been the head of the Oz Project, a virtual reality program so sophisticated it was nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. But when he asks what happened, the nurses only stare back blankly and answer that he suffered a complete breakdown following the project's collapse. Corrigan accepts this- -and the fact that he can no longer smell anything, and the equally disturbing realization that no one laughs anymore--without question. Nearly 12 years and 100 pages go by, with Corrigan refining his research, before he accidentally punches out a wall in his apartment and watches dumbfounded as it repairs itself, like a video game. Before he can take action, he awakens again to discover that the 12 years he just experienced haven't happened; has reality reset itself? Once Corrigan realizes it's time to wake up, he turns the tables, virtually, on his captors. Predictable, prolonged, and lacking punch, the only emeralds offered in this Oz are the gratuitous Irish jokes Hogan seems to cherish.