Sunday, February 9, 2020

Book Review: 'CLOUD 9: A Novel' by N. Matthias Moore

CLOUD 9 by N. Matthias Moore

Gamesmanship – or life in the future

California author N. Matthias Moore makes an impressive debut with this science fiction cum contemporary commentary – a book that is not only exceptionally entertaining, but also a ‘stop and think’ opportunity for us all as we anticipate the future of high tech advances such as Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, global surveillance intruding on privacy, diminished one on one communication replaced by the ether of iCloud, etc.

The author’s ability to seduce the reader into his created world in many ways assures the success of his adventure’s launching, and from the opening of the first chapter it is evident that not only is the writing excellent, but the establishment of credible characters is one of the author’s fortes. “Michael’s room isn’t well kept, and for a man of his age, it should go without saying that appearances matter. Living with his parents certainly isn’t ideal but in how own words scribbled on a makeshift poster plastered to his wall; “S**t happens, at least twice a day. If it doesn’t, something’s wrong.” An attitude like that has probably been his greatest impediment…unlike others in the era of mass-marketed media where stars can make millions, he finds himself in a race to win bragging rights at simulated virtual reality gaming tournaments in San Francisco…The year is 2109…’

It is not often that an author can establish the prĂ©cis of a book so early on. Matthias supplies a fine outline of the journey ahead – ‘Michael is one of San Francisco’s most notorious VR gamers in a world of uninhibited debauchery. Now at the turn of the 22nd century, the effects of cultural collapse compel the gaming aficionado to leave his sedated existence and venture on a quest for virtual utopia. But first, he must traverse nine levels inside a computer-brain interface or pay the ultimate price. The promise of living the rest of one’s days in a computer simulated paradise may be too enticing to resist, but for Michael Tillman and his girlfriend Valerie reality is hardly what it seems. Meet Real Games Enterprise – RGE – the underground cartel pandering the Cloud software that requires players to complete nine levels within the game or suffer elimination. With only three lives to win, failure results in death when their data is terminated. Outside threats from those determined to undermine the Cloud software finally puts RGE in jeopardy when they’re attacked by infiltrators who don’t like secrets.’

Well paced, with fascinating character development, and a story that has many thought stimulators, CLOUD 9 is a fine novel by an author of substance. Highly recommended not only for sci-fi fans, but also for all who speculate where technology will take us.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.