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Virtually True

2.82  ·  Rating Details ·  84 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
True Ailey is a journalist in a strange land, exiled by his network to a damp Southeast Asian republic gouged out a war-ravaged peninsula weeping monsoon tears. When his friend is murdered, True sets out to find the killers, and in the process untangles a vast conspiracy that threatens to upend the global balance of power. Set in the near future, Virtually True takes reade ...more
Paperback, 334 pages
Published July 2012 by Wayzgoose Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 04, 2013 Ric rated it really liked it

Penenberg tries very hard to hip this up, with ingenious play of language, exotic environs, high-tech gadgets, and almost, dare say, virtually, succeeds. Unquestionably, the trip to the author's endpiece is entertaining, inventive, unpredictable, and makes one wish to stay in that idyll for just a while longer, but alas, eventually, it is time to wrap things up, and there finds ...

Penenberg's writing reminds me of the science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany in the way he makes up words and phra

Kim (Wistfulskimmies Book Reviews)
This is the story of True Ailie. He is recovering from a Virtual Reality addiction and in danger of losing his job as an ace reporter. Then a friend of his along with an eleven year old shanty orphan are killed with a futuristic bomb that tracks DNA to assure success. Now he must put together the pieces and find out why they were killed and how it ties in with an earthquake in Japan. Hampered by a corrupt police chief, it's not going to be as simple as it looks.

This was an interesting idea. Set
Carly Kirk
Not for me

I'm all for exploring a dysfunctional dystopian future, but this one didn't capture me like others have. I finished it, but kinda wish I hadn't wasted my time. I wasn't a fan of the main character - even when in the middle of a war he felt cut off from everything, like he was viewing life from behind a panel of glass
Jun 27, 2016 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hated it....

I could not get past 12%. I could not put together a visual that made sense.
Even science fiction can create a good visual to keep going. True,
was to weird for me.
Dec 30, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
The book's plot reminded me of Total Recall, which is why I read it to the end. I hoped that it would all suddenly make sense when everything was explained and resolved. However, the author's writing style was very hard to follow with lengthy (mostly unnecessary) descriptions and sentences bordering on "run-on." The twists and turns of the plot kept me reading, but never really came together coherently. I love tech drama and fantasy thrillers, but this book was just too technical and too extreme ...more
Dec 20, 2012 Kathy rated it liked it
True Ailey is a journalist in a not too future world of high tech and world fragmentation. There are a lot of new countries around and their corruption level is high. As True tries to solve the murder of his friend, and stay alive while doing so, he gets deeper into vast corporate conspiracies.

There's a lot of technology thrown about and a good puzzle. I wouldn't want to live in True's world but I enjoyed visiting the dystopian future.
Carla JFCL
Dec 13, 2012 Carla JFCL marked it as just-couldnt-finish-it  ·  review of another edition
This is not in any way a bad book; it just failed to capture my attention. I decided after reading just over half of it that it just wasn't my cup of tea. (No stars given, because I think it's not quite fair to rate books I didn't finish ... )
Sep 01, 2012 Ben rated it liked it
A fun cyber-thriller with a groan-inducing name. The characters are sometimes less-than-believable and the attempts to describe a compelling virtual reality world fall a bit short but at the end of the day it's a very entertaining thriller.
Ankur Banerjee
I don't know why I liked this book, but I did. I think it has to do with the descriptions of the seedy places where many scenes take place and the pidgin English - quite authentic.
Oct 27, 2012 Gary rated it really liked it
A fun cyber thriller with a wild plot depicts a not unbelievable dystopian future. I can foresee today's tawdry journalism continuing to devolve into this virtual mess.
Greg Otto
Mar 21, 2013 Greg Otto rated it did not like it
Pacing is slow, story failed to grab me, characters have bizarre names, writing is groan-worthy. Pass on this.
Apr 06, 2013 Robin rated it did not like it
This book is too sci-fi for my taste. I couldn't get into it and quit after chapter 3.
Aug 27, 2012 Kris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wild ride with a journalist in virtual reality. Interesting concept, well told.
Jean-marie Heard
Apr 16, 2013 Jean-marie Heard rated it it was ok
Maybe it's just my genre but I couldn't finish it.
Jan 13, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it
Fun read.
Susan Schutz
Susan Schutz marked it as to-read
Sep 10, 2016
June Rigney Moran
June Rigney Moran marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2016
MaryKay Brady
MaryKay Brady rated it it was amazing
Jul 20, 2016
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Autumn Spencer rated it liked it
Jul 14, 2016
Claire Simms
Claire Simms rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2016
Karen marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2016
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Jun 14, 2016
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Judith Johnson rated it liked it
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Cath White marked it as to-read
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Paul rated it it was ok
Jul 11, 2016
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Adam L. Penenberg is a journalism professor at New York University who has written for Fast Company, Forbes, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired, Slate, Playboy, and the Economist. A former senior editor at Forbes and a reporter for, Penenberg garnered national attention in 1998 for unmasking serial fabricator Stephen Glass of the New Republic. Penenberg’s story was a watersh ...more
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