Aleah's Reviews > City of Golden Shadow

City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams
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's review
Feb 27, 11

bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in February, 2011, read count: 1

In the first installment of Tad Williams "Otherworld" series the reader is introduced to a future where the net and virtual reality are readily available to anyone with enough credits. A virtual reality professor at a South African University, Renie Sulaweyo, becomes good friends with her student, !Xabbu, one of the last remaining African Bushmen. Renie and !Xabbu become entangled in a conspiracy involving the most powerful and dangerous men in the world. The scope of what needs to be done is more than Renie can really comprehend, but she can't give up while her young brother, Stephen, is somehow entangled in these powerful men's dark machinations.

I continue to be surprised by how prophetic Science Fiction can seem. "City of Golden Shadow" was published in 1996, but in it Williams imagines people watching "netflicks" instead of movies. His young characters spend hours battling monsters with their online friends, a nod to the popularity and evolution of massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs). (After some cursory checking* it seems the company Netflix didn't begin operations until a year later, in 1997, the same year that the acronym MMORPG came into use.)

Suffice it to say that this novel gave me everything that I love about Tad Williams -- an intricate plot, detailed world building and enough details to choke a horse. Williams weaves the sci-fi elements of networked computing and virtual reality with traditional South African folklore, to beautiful effect. A strong female lead character was just icing on this yummy sci-fi cake.

* I looked it up Wikipedia. Don't judge.
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