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Simulacron 3

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  376 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
It is a jangling and disintegrating near-future, a world in which virtual reality has become the primary means of entertainment and the more significant part of life for most of the population. Here, Douglas Halls employer, Horace Siskin, the President of Reaction Inc., has created a synthetic world as a demonstration; a virtual l937 New Orleans in which Hall and his super ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published January 4th 1999 by J'ai lu (first published January 1st 1964)
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Feb 03, 2013 Franky rated it really liked it
I found out about this novel after watching The Thirteenth Floor, one of my favorite sci-fi films from the 90s, but a film little known or given much fanfare (probably because it was out around the time of The Matrix). Based on the film The Thirteenth Floor, Simulacron 3 is very Matrix-like, a book that deals with the possibilities of dual realities.

Galouye’s novel is a rare gem of a science fiction in many ways. Innovative, creative, and profound, it is a novel that clearly was before its time
Dec 17, 2013 Xach rated it it was amazing
This is a book that deserves--nay, needs--a resurgence in popular culture. Although it was the inspiration for the movie "The Thirteenth Floor," the two share about as much similarity as "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and "Blade Runner." Though for those of you who have seen the film, I offer the additional caveat that knowing the ending and getting there are two very different things. Read it anyway.

What astounded me to jaw dropping proportions about this book is that, published in 1964,
Jun 27, 2010 Robert rated it really liked it
Review material offline for more work.


1. Excellent book with an interesting premise of a world in which a simulation (like what now is called virtual reality) has been developed and the developers of the simulation discover in the process that their own world is a simulation run from a higher reality in the same way, thus they themselves are not any more real than the simulated people they invented. The 3 in Simulacron-3 might be regarded as a pun, in that in the main character world, it
I've always been fascinated with The Matrix films, because the philosophy or theory behind it is essentially strong and applicable, not in reality of course but in storytelling. The Cartesian possibility of an illusive existence is hardly original, but it gives rise to a fictional world that technology encourages, like Asimov's robot laws.

There was a second film that came out around the same time, called The Thirteenth Floor, with a similar concept. Recently, my friend Erik lent me the made-for
Sarah Sammis
Sep 09, 2009 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing
A Preamble:

Simulacron-3 is one of about a hundred books I've had for as long as I've been a serious reader. When I got bitten by the reading bug back in 1987 I started to collect books by two criteria: they had to be affordable and they had to be hard to come by. Rather than spend my babysitting money on the then popular books, I tended to go for old books and ones I had never heard of.

As I was collecting the books, often paying a dime or quarter for each, I was also reading books for school and
Apr 20, 2009 Nicolas rated it really liked it
Il est des romans qui, sans être proprement exceptionnels, vous parlent avec une force peu commune. Celui-ci en fait partie, par les thèmes abordés ainsi que la manière de les traiter. La thématique, tout d’abord, ne semble actuellement en rien innovante. Peut-être qu’à la sortie du roman, en 1964, alors que Dick n’avait pas, je crois, écrit ses romans les plus emblématiques (comme par exemple Le dieu venu du Centaure, Ubik ou d’autres), cette mise en abyme de la réalité était novatrice. Sans do ...more
Erik Graff
Feb 16, 2010 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Matrix fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
During the summers of childhood, while Mom and I were up at Grandmother's cottage in Michigan and Dad would come up for weekends and his annual all-American two-week vacation, we rarely got to town beyond trips to the IGA in Bridgman. A trip to the nearest metropolis, St. Joe/Benton Harbor, was a big deal, usually only happening when the car was having trouble. On those rare occasions Dad would always stop at Gillespie's Drugs which, in his opinion, had been serving the best chocolate milk shake ...more
Jeremy S.
Jun 07, 2012 Jeremy S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another stellar sci-fi work from the 1960's. This first got on my radar because it's the source material for Rainer Fassbinder's groundbreaking 1972 German tele-play "World on a Wire". Upon further investigation, it also inspired "The 13th Floor" and countless other well known works, including The Matrix.

After reading it, I can definitely see why it's so pioneering. It's a superb example of paranoia and characters lost in different worlds. We never know what or who is real and the mystery takes
Sep 11, 2016 John rated it it was amazing
Wonderful science fiction. I kept wanting to go back to it, eager to see what was going to happen next. Reads quickly.
the gift
like Philip K Dick, if you retain some ideas about malleability, simulation, uncertainty etc. with given reality, if you write it pulp, if you take out loopy comic plot or characters, if you focus on ideas, if you have never read better PKD books. have read about 22 of his books, some number of short stories. there is a reason you might have heard of PKD, but not this book...
Jan 08, 2013 C M rated it it was amazing
This book is everything that was great about 50s/60s science fiction rolled into one solid, engaging story. A must read.
Review to follow
Andrizy Bento
Jan 07, 2017 Andrizy Bento rated it liked it
Daniel F. Galouye não figura na lista de autores aclamados do gênero ficção científica como Arthur C. Clarke ou Isaac Asimov. Nem mesmo teve sua obra reconhecida postumamente como Philip K. Dick. E, infelizmente, nem parece correr o risco de vir a ser redescoberto por uma nova safra de leitores aficionados por sci-fi. Talvez seja pelo fato de não possuir a mesma energia narrativa transformadora, o texto denso e complexo dos demais citados. Mas, ainda assim, vale a pena dar uma oportunidade e des ...more
Jan 14, 2017 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Galouye is the kind of writer who has interesting concepts, but just doesn't have the chops to pull it off. Simulacron-3, notable for being the earliest presentation of a virtual world and the people who live in it thinking it is real, is his most well-known book, for those who actually remember him. However, if you are like me and slog through all five his published novels, you will quickly see there is a common theme in all his books: a man (always a man) realizes his world is not what ...more
Really enjoyable cyberpunk novel written over 50 years ago, pondering the question "Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?" Just this year scientific american brought physicists and philosophers together to debate it. I can't believe it took me so long to get around to reading it.
Sean O'Hara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2013 Ghoule rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liebes Buch
Oct 19, 2014 Liebes Buch rated it it was amazing
Zur deutschen Ausgabe von Scipio:
"Simulacron-3" ist das Original-Buch zu "The 13th Floor", "Matrix" und "Welt am Draht". Daniel Galouye veröffentlichte diese Geschichte schon 1964, und sie hat bis heute einen grossen Einfluss.
Douglas Hall entwickelt mit seinem Kollegen Fuller eine virtuelle Welt, mit der man Entwicklungen und Meinungen erforschen will. Die Informationen können für Politik und Konzerne von grossem Nutzen sein. Darum macht sich der Wissenschaftler auch Sorgen über möglichen Missbr
Patrick Scheele
Aug 05, 2016 Patrick Scheele rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: box-1
This one was just a chore to read. I started reading because I liked the big idea behind it: a guy involved with creating a computer-simulation of reality discovers that his world is also a simulation. (Our hero doesn't discover this until halfway through, but the back cover gives it away).

There are a lot of things to dislike about this book. The two big ones for me were that the protagonist never showed much care for the self-aware beings in his own simulator, so I felt he didn't deserve (view
Mark Schomburg
The productive use of computers as the simulators of complex strategic scenarios was part of what fueled their technological development to begin with. Here, simulations are catered to evaluating public opinion in a fantastic future world not too distant from Asimov's conceptions of near future society (within several centuries). Very capable electronics bestow extra-reality to the simulations, and this is the world of the novel. The technology ranks near Farmer's Riverworld in a garage, but aid ...more
Nov 06, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a good read. I recommend it. I own the Criterion release of the Rainer Fassbinder movie World on a Wire and It's quite close to he book and a groovy movie with chair spinning folks and all. The shared virtual skiing adventure is replaced by a visit to wild, sexy, decadent bar club. The idea is analogous. The sexy secretary is supposed to spy on our hero which means she must show him a good time but not necessarily sleep with him. So the story unfolds like a mystery. Unlike The Matrix, there ...more
Sep 08, 2016 Marianne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gone, sci-fi
I have to give credit for the age of this book, and when it discussed virtual reality conundrums. The book has aged well.

However, it was just too obvious for me where the whole book was going quite early on in the plot, and that rather spoiled a lot of it for me.
Matt Evans
Aug 20, 2014 Matt Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came to this book because it was recommend for "fans of The Matrix," of which I am one. I listened to the audiobook twice in quick succession, so enthralled was I with the world Galouye created. (I docked one star from what you may think should have been a five-star thrall for the reason that Galouye's characters are slightly cardboard-y and straight from central casting.) Basically, Galouye's story can be summed up thusly: If you create a simulated world peopled with simulated people who thin ...more
This is a book chock full of some wonderful, mindbending ideas. Unfortunately it is also marred by fairly clunky writing, wooden characters and poor pacing. But it is well worth a read.

I come to this book after recently watching the '70's German miniseries based on it, "World on a Wire", by cult auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The film makes up for some of the book's shortcomings with interesting set design and camera work. But it also leaves out a few details that would have helped explain thi
A good book from 1964 that gets much of the future right, except for the flying cars. The story is much like The Matrix, minus (view spoiler). The language is a bit stiff at times, but overall this is an entertaining book -- though modern readers may be able to anticipate some of the plot developments.

* The protagonist uses a (view spoiler) as a point to enter/exit a simulated reality
* There's a character named C. No / Zeno (intead of Neo).
Christian Heilmann
Jun 13, 2013 Christian Heilmann rated it it was amazing
This is an absolute gem of a book. Science fiction without the "pew pew pew lasers!" but instead some interesting social criticism and philosophical pondering of what a computer simulated world would mean to people behaving in it and people in the "real world" interacting with it. Think "Brave new world" meets Neuromancer, written in a very fast pace that is easy to understand and feel empathy with the angst of the main character. A man in power who sees a lot of his world changing and collapsin ...more
This book is the basis for the 1999 film The Thirteenth Floor. It deals with the nature of reality, technology, and virtual reality. Written in 1964, this book was ahead of the cyberpunk movement that started (or is thought to have started) with Gibson's Neuromancer.

While it is not a long novel (169 pages), it takes a while to read. The world of the novel is different from our own physically and ideologically, so I found myself reading very slowly so that I wouldn't miss anything. The ideologic
Aug 17, 2016 Ademption rated it really liked it
The source text for World of Wires, a West German 2-part TV series by R.W. Fassbinder, and the US film The Thirteenth Floor. From what I can gather, the book is pretty much the original The Matrix with philosophy and word games substituted for pleather covered ass-kicking.

Simulacron 3 is an e-book featured on the Kindle, and physical copies are quite expensive because the English translation is long out of print. I'd love to read a copy if I get the chance. This book is the sole reason I think
Apr 20, 2015 Hey rated it really liked it
I read this book after watching Fassbinder’s wonderful film “World on a Wire.” While the book lacks the weird and weighted tone of the film, it carries a charm of it’s own in it’s workman-like writing style(with a sprinkle of pulp!), fast pace and interesting concepts(even today!) Sure, it has its flaws, such as over-explaining everything or illogical events for the sake of plot, but it’s a fun read. Sometimes, you just need a fun read.

One last note - don’t bother to watch the movie The Thirtee
Nov 13, 2013 Tim rated it really liked it
I wish I had read this book LONG ago. It doesn't come off as dated and it was way ahead of its time, but now so many things in it have been copied by other authors that I knew just about everything that was going to happen long before it did. In fact the big reveal late in the book and the final ending are both very predictable now because this story ripped off both piecemeal and in bulk too many times to count. I find that kind of irritating. Still, this book is not the one at fault and the aut ...more
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Daniel Francis Galouye (11 February 1920, New Orleans, Louisiana – 7 September 1976, New Orleans, Louisiana) was an American science fiction writer. During the 1950s and 1960s, he contributed novelettes and short stories to various digest size science fiction magazines, sometimes writing under the pseudonym Louis G. Daniels.

After Galoyue (pronounced Gah-lou-ey) graduated from Louisiana State Unive
More about Daniel F. Galouye...

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“Doomsday, when it came, wouldn't be a physical phenomenon; it would be an
all-inclusive erasure of simulectronic circuits.”
“How do we know that even the realest of realities
wouldn't be subjective, in the final analysis? Nobody can prove his existence, can he?”
More quotes…