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City of Golden Shadow

(Otherland #1)

by
3.91  ·  Rating details ·  22,753 ratings  ·  787 reviews
Renie Sulaweyo, a teacher in the South Africa of tomorrow, realizes something is wrong on the network. Kids, including her brother Stephen, have logged into the net, and cannot escape. Clues point to a mysterious golden city called Otherland, but investigators all end up dead.
Mass Market Paperback, 780 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by DAW Books (first published December 5th 1996)
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Brynn There is some very graphic imagery at one point in the book depicting a violent fetish sort of thing. That's the worst you'll get, along with a…moreThere is some very graphic imagery at one point in the book depicting a violent fetish sort of thing. That's the worst you'll get, along with a spattering of other upsetting descriptions of things like dead bodies in the mud during the Paul chapters or whatever.
If I was considering whether to let a young kid read it I would say probably not, just because of the (pretty infrequent) graphic imagery. (less)

Community Reviews

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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,753 ratings  ·  787 reviews


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Chris
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me just start by saying this: the first time I finished this series, I immediately went back and started reading it again. I can't think of any other series that I've done that with.

This is one of Tad Williams' "economy-sized manuscripts," similar to his fantasy classic Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Similar in size and scope, anyway - four giant tomes chock full of all things awesome. It's a series of grand scope, amazing scale and great imagination, well worthy of your time. Seriously, top-shel
...more
Michael
Jun 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
Robert Jordan level wordulency,
plus SF internet idea outdated before its publication date,
minus appealing writing style,
divided by Michael Springer's mid-semester attention span,
times 90-bunjillion pages in four volumes,
equals "FUCK YOU, TAD WILLIAMS, YOU GO TO HELL! YOU GO TO HELL AND YOU DIE! YOU FUCKIN' DIE! WHAT THE FUCK!" *Throws book against the wall, then walks over and urinates on it*

(Okay, so I actually just took it back to Half Price Books. Whatever.)
seak
Oct 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Tad Williams has been one of those authors I'd never really gotten around to even though he's a pillar of fantasy literature. Technically, I did read his story contained in Songs of the Dying Earth (which was excellent), but never one of his mainstays such as Otherland and his epic, Memory, Sorry, and Thorn series.

Apparently that day has come and I've officially read Tad Williams. And what did I think? I hate to say this, but mostly meh.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy City of Golden Shadow, but
...more
Kaitlin
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
I'm giving this book a 3.5* rating which seems a little harsh to me becuase I genuinely really really enjoyed it. Honestly, the only reason it's not quite scooping the 4*s is becuase although I really enjoyed it, it's a 900 page book and it's only just starting the overall plot by the time you reach the end.

This is probably one of the most surprising books I have read in a while as it's a slightly older fantasy/sci-fi crossover (pre-2000s) and so I kind of assumed it would be a classic style. It
...more
Rob
Executive Summary: Slow in places, but this story really works for me. Interesting world building and decent characters has me looking forward to the continuing on this series.

Audio book: George Newbern does an excellent job with this book. Good inflections and emotion, as well as a variety of accents. He is definitely a narrator that adds extra enjoyment to the book.

Full Review
My only experiance with Tad Williams prior to this book was his urban fantasy book The Dirty Streets of Heaven. I was
...more
Nnedi
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this series. I read it years ago, picking it up only because of the cool cover. It's not the type of book I usually read. I'm not a fan of cyberpunk lit. But then again, Otherland is far from typical. Heck the main characters are black South Africans (unlike in District 9, Tad's rendering is realistic and free of prejudice).

*Smile*, little did I know that years later, my novel would be bought by the very editor who worked on this awesome series.

I'm on page 268 and I'm enjoying it in the s
...more
Matt Standley
Mar 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I think Renie's quote from the middle of the book sums up my feelings entirely:

"...We still don't have any answers or any way to bring my brother back, and the search just seems to get more complicated and more vague. If this were a detective story, you'd have a body and some bloodstains and footprints in the garden - it's definitely a murder, and you've definitely got clues. But all we have here are things that seem a little strange, bits of information that might mean something. The more I thi
...more
Karen
Jan 24, 2009 rated it liked it
I don't know what to think of this book. I liked it, but I was confused, so I looked up some reviews on Amazon, and then decided that I didn't like it based on what people said, but then I kept reading, and then I liked it a lot and made my peace with it being just the first part of a four-book series, and then I was totally into it, and then they spent too much time on the villains and their complicated pseudo-Egyptian mythology simulation, and I am sick of completely evil antagonists who are c ...more
Freya
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I picked up this book I initially thought it was fantasy... and for some reason to do with faerie - it really isn't. Well, not very much!

Otherland is a story about a virtual world where people can shop, meet up, have businesses, play games, or anything you really want to do! Think if you will of the evolution of the internet. It actually sort of reminds me of OZ in the anime Summer Wars.

Something has gone wrong and children are falling into comas and having seizures, and some people are dis
...more
Chris
Jul 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Let me just start by saying this: the first time I finished this series, I immediately went back and started reading it again. I can't think of any other series that I've done that with.

This is one of Tad Williams' "economy-sized manuscripts," similar to his fantasy classic Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Similar in size and scope, anyway - four giant tomes chock full of all things awesome. It's a series of grand scope, amazing scale and great imagination, well worthy of your time. It's a complex, int
...more
Jeffery Moulton
I picked this book up on a whim, not realizing that it was just the beginning of four very long books with a myriad of characters and challenges. Fortunately, the book and the series are both amazing.

The Otherland series takes place in the near future where the Internet has become fully interactive with rich people literally able to plug themselves into the net and others using less effective virtual reality equipment. In this world, a varied group of people stumble upon a secret plot put in mot
...more
An Odd1
Jan 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
I got to p76. "Otherland" by Tad Williams starts with assorted quilt squares I didn't have the patience to wait for assembly. WW1 mud-soaked Paul explodes, climbs a cloud high tree-stem to a trapped bird-woman, chased by a Giant to awaken back in the trenches. South African college tutor Renie guides bushman !Xabbu through basic virtual reality scenarios, rescues her 11-year old brother from a dangerous sim club, then loses him to a coma, three weeks after her drunk father kicks the boy out to l ...more
Luke Burrage
Cyberpunk but with the emphasis on non-punk elements.

Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #281. Really.
terpkristin
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Audiobook from Penguin Audio
Narrated by George Newbern
Length: 28.75 hours

I hate to admit this, but I judged this book by the cover at first. I knew nothing about the book when I started listening, I hadn't even read the blurb in the description. I saw a fantastical-looking image on the cover and, knowing that Tad Williams typically writes fantasy novels/series, I just assumed it was a fantasy novel. I was wrong. This is actually a cyberpunk book, a quite good one at that. There was only one down
...more
Olivia
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I bought this one about a decade ago, tried reading it, enjoyed it, but then stopped somewhere halfway through, and when I got back to it, I knew I had to start from the beginning, because it had been too long, and then I just never did.

I'm so happy I finally sat down with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Yes, it's slow, there's a lot of set-up and Tad Williams could probably cut a few hundred pages from (all?) his books and not lose much plot, but I loved every page.

This came more than a
...more
Linette
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this, lots of different worlds and good characters. No resolution at the end though, will just have to get the second book in the series to find out what happens next.
KostasAt
8.5/10

This is the second series that I’m reading from Tad Williams and I have to say that I’m really impressed of how different it is compared to his most famous series, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, although personally I quite liked it even if it’s not outstanding.
In this series Tad Williams changes his style and goes to Science Fiction but he also raises his skill level as he has mixed Cyberpunk, lots of mystery and a touch of Fantasy that, I believe, makes all the difference!

The story is set most
...more
Alexandra
Alle begeisterten Rezensionen stimmen: Dieses SF-Epos, und so kann man es wirklich nennen mit seinen 1000 Seiten a 4 Bände ist atemberaubend und eine Achterbahnfahrt der Fantasie.

Perfekt ist eine zukünftige eigentlich nicht mehr ferne Welt konzipiert, in der sich die Menschen sowohl im Realen Leben RL als auch in virtuellen Realitäten VR bewegen. Mit einer Schnittstelle am Kopf als User Interface, kann man in den künstlichen Welten auch fühlen, riechen schmecken und manche finden auch nicht mehr
...more
Lanica
Jul 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
I read the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series and loved it. I read it twice and have autographed copies to save. I enjoy epics. I enjoy detail. I enjoy science fiction, computers, virtual reality, anthropology, history, sociology, political intrigue and all the other individual elements of this series. Unfortunetly, I really disliked this book.

I liked the little girl who got messages through her computer, and I liked the sick boy who created a virtual reality that was easier to live in. Other than
...more
Aleah
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
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 mo ...more
Ashley
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: never-finished
This novel, to me, is 780 pages of nothing. With five main characters, there is a lot of running around, random descriptions that seem to me are pretty uneccessary, and a LOT of confusion. When a new chapter starts, there is a tendency of character switching, so you are left with a few pages just trying to figure out which character you are focusing on. If Williams only focused on Renie and !Xabbu, I would have been content with this novel, considering that's where most of the focus is on, anywa ...more
Anthony Ryan
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Williams' near-future sci-fi epic is a compelling exploration of the social/psychological costs and benefits posed by the advent of true virtual reality. A disparate cast of heroes find themselves trapped in an array of artificially constructed realities where death is an all too real possibility. Williams' pedigree as an epic fantasy author is evident in the scope of the narrative and the presence of a dark lord of sorts lurking at the heart of this web of invented worlds. Reading the whole ser ...more
Diane
I started out reading the hardcover, which had been gifted me and really did want to finish reading it, but was having difficult because I couldn’t carry it around with me. After 2.5 years I was about ready to give up, when the audiobook was finally released. It still took me 6 months to listen to it.

The novel is made up of 4 or 5, maybe more, individual stories, which seem to have nothing to do with one another. It isn’t until about half way through this brick when ever so tenuously bits of st
...more
Karin
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Impressive worldbuilding and interesting characters.
Christopher
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul
Sep 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
(Whole story - All four volumes)This is, without a doubt, the best series novel I have ever read. Multiple plot lines in a fantastic world that slowly twist and turn until they eventually merge. A simple beginning, children falling into comas for no apparent reason, leads to an epic quest typical of fantasy but applied to science fiction, the historical novel, Victorian children's literature, detective fiction, myth and much, much more. A large cast of unforgettable characters, written beautiful ...more
Joey
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
The Matrix has them and they can't escape. If you die in the Matrix do you die in real life? They don't know yet and they don't want to find out. I haven't read The Neuromancer, but I assume this book was greatly influenced by it. I was hooked right from the beginning though some of the middle was quite repetitive at times with the "what could be happening....who could be behind this" questions but still a page turner. You're left hanging at the end so it's another "a bit to thick and heavy to r ...more
Mazzy
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Grossartiges Hörspiel, das ich alle paar Jahre gerne wieder höre!
Jana
Nov 21, 2015 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
DNF at roughly 40 %. I just really wasn't digging this, it was dragging a lot for me and I couldn't really get into the story.
Abby Goldsmith
I just finished re-reading Tad Williams' four book Otherland saga. This series is everything The Matrix films should have been, and better. It's just a stunningly awesome tale. It's deep on many levels. It's about the nature of reality, the nature of religion, the way humans perceive things, the nuances of the human psyche, all wrapped in a shell of epic science fiction with romance, adventure, and overtones of fantasy. It blows my mind that so few people have enjoyed this series, or even know w ...more
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4,416 followers
Tad Williams is a California-based fantasy superstar. His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions worldwide, in twenty-five languages. His considerable output of epic fantasy and science fiction book-series, stories of all kinds, urban fantasy novels, comics, scripts, etc., have strongly influenced a generation of writers: the ‘Otherland’ epic relaunches June 2018 as an ...more

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  • Mountain of Black Glass (Otherland, #3)
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