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Reality 36 (Richards & Klein #1)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  209 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Meet Richards and Klein – the Holmes and Watson of the 22nd century.

Except that Richards is a highly advanced artificial intelligence, and Klein his German ex-military cyborg partner. Their first case takes them into the renegade digital realm known as Reality 36 and through the Great Firewall of China, in search of a missing Artificial Intelligence Rights activist. What t
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Angry Robot (first published March 1st 2011)
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Ben Babcock
Reality 36 is a mystery novel wrapped inside a science-fiction story wrapped inside a fun, technologically-oriented thriller. Richards & Klein are PIs in 2129. Richards is a Class Five AI, while Otto Klein is an ex-military German cyborg. And their day gets complicated when they have to solve the murder of Zhang Qifang—he was murdered twice, you see.

The stakes are high. Qifang’s disappearance and murder have sent ripples throughout the Grid, and the people (and machines) who pay attention to
Jul 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Many, many moons ago, I think this is one of the books I got free from Angry Robot when I visited them as a contest winner. But I’d been meaning to read it before that; I love the idea of cyberpunk and virtual realities, love messing around with the idea of AIs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get on with this too well; first off, it felt unfocused because it took so long to figure out who the protagonists are. Okay, you get Richards in the two-page prologue, but then not again until fifty pages later. ...more
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012, sci-fi
Fascinating ideas, good action scenes, some brilliant situations but overall it has too much techno-talk and it's a bit wordy ... it simply over-explains everything which interferes with the story line.
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
My main complaint is the books ending. It felt like a chapter had been cut in half and the book reached a certain word count or page count and someone went "that's enough, put the rest in book 2".

I don't mind cliffhanger normally but this felt very abrupt and if the book would have continued another 30-50 pages it could still have setup the sequel and given the reader some sense of closure for the story.

I also felt like some of the characters were very under developed. It felt like Veronique's
Dror Bedrack
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book. Set in the near future (feels nearer than its 100 years timeline), its a murder mystery featuring two detectives. But not your usual old cynic and young idealist, but two old cynics. I liked that twist. I also liked the AI rights issue presented. Human rights for NPCs? Nice. Not revolutionary, but thought provoking in its minor way.

In the year 2069, the first true Artificial Intelligence is created. Thirty years later the Class Fives are born, becoming the first fully self-aware AIs. Along with their less advanced cousins, "Fives" become known as the Nuekind. One of them is Richards, a private detective considered to be the most human of his kind. Richards is approached by the EuPol (think European Union/Interpol) to investigate the disappearance of the world's foremost expert in Nue
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Explosive PI Meets Singularity Debut

I love new authors especially if they write science fiction. This is Guy Haley’s debut and the first Richard & Klein novel. The second part, Omega Point is scheduled for April next year. If you want to sample the book you may do so at You may also check out a free Richard & Klein novella at Guy Haley’s home page Haley’s Comment. I wonder if this is the first book out of Angry Robot’s open submission month earlier this year.

I totall
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reality 36 by Guy Haley is a really cool mash-up of a sort that doesn't happen often enough. It's a science fiction mystery. And not just any kind of mystery, but an old school detective kind of mystery, except that neither of the detectives are from any type of school that Sam Spade would have recognized.

The detective firm in Reality 36 has the name "Richards & Klein" on its doors, which exist in both real and virtual space. The year is 2129, and the world has definitely moved on from 2011.
Nov 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi, didn-t-finish
I really wanted to like this because the plot sounded awesome and I'm a robot/sci-fi nerd but the writing was all over the place. I kept wondering when the author was going to figure out who he wanted the protaganist to be. I gave up after about fifty pages.
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Original Review:

Guy Haley writes a killer novel as he debuts with Angry Robot and djinn24 and Commissar Ploss review the audio book from Angry Robot produced by Brilliance Audio.

The duo of Richards and Klein is here to stay for a long time, how excellent! - Larry, The Founding Fields.

Reality 36 bounces you between beautiful sweeping digital landscapes, and dirty, grim, grimy real-world cityscapes in a wild-goose-chase to save the world. It’s fun! -Commiss
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
While this book is well-written, it didn't catch my interest. I just didn't like the main characters. That along with a depressing story made for a tedious read.
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reality 36 put me in mind of an unstable dystopic version of Iain M Banks's Culture.

Perhaps the prequel to the Culture, before the AIs stabilized themselves and the world, and created post scarcity.

Haley manages to work with a bunch of clichés with such subtlety that you forget how old they are.
Apr 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I picked this up at Elliot Bay books, where it was faced on the shelf, because the cover blurb was interesting and because they have an awesome SF section and I figured if someone had bothered facing this, it was worth a look.

The characterization in this book is excellent, and of particular interest is the characterization of the artificial intelligences, which, while they often present themselves in human manners, are distinctly non-human. The setting is detailed and fascinating, and the events
Reality 36 is a thrilling mystery novel set in a world run by Artificial Intelligence. Richards, a self-aware AI and his partner Otto Klein, a German decommissioned cyborg are approached by EuPol Five to investigate a case most peculiar, the apparent deaths of one of the world’s most renowned AI scientist, Zhang Qifang. That’s right, the good professor has somehow managed to die twice. Things get stranger as the duo probes deeper into the mystery of the deaths and soon they unravel a massive cov ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
You can read the full review over at my blog:

Shadowhawk reviews the first Richards and Klein novel by Guy Haley, Reality 36, a deep and thoughtful novel that is rare in science-fiction, at least in my experience.

“If ever I get tired of reading about cyborgs and androids in SF, then it will be Guy Haley’s first Richards and Klein novel that I turn to get a refreshing perspective on things.” ~The Founding Fields

Since being exposed to Angry Robot Books in Dec
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
He's a laconic German ex-military cyborg! He (other he)'s a hyperintelligent supercomputer with a penchant for trenchcoats! They fight crime! Also, virtual reality games are outlawed and the government controls artificial intelligence.

This is unabashed cyberpunk, with the two main characters covering both the "psychedelic matrix-hacking" and the "brutal enhanced-human fight" ends of the scene spectrum. Unfortunately I found the book rather too sloppily constructed. I didn't realize that those tw
Michael Hawkes
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
A cyberpunk crime novel that's part Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age", part William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy, and part Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes mystery.

The Sherlock Holmes of this book is Richards, an Artificial Intelligence who likes to wear a fedora and trenchcoat in the style of many silver screen detectives. The Dr. Watson in this book is Otto von Klein, a cyborg and former soldier, who provides the brawn to Richards' brain. The pair are private investigators with offices around
* Really interesting world-building. I especially liked the conjecture as to how online gaming would develop in the future.
* I really liked some of the characters, especially the Class 5 AIs. They were the most developed in the book.
* The main mystery was interesting and kept my interest.

Liked Less:
* Not all of the characters were as well-developed as Richards & Hughie. I really would have loved to learn more about Otto (supposedly the other main character) and to have a better sense
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A different take on AI (artificial intelligence) and its place in the future. This world is a mix of "in the real" and computer generated realities based on old interactive online computer games where "people" don avatars and reek havoc in other realms or realities, thus the title.

This is not a child's scifi book, nor even young adult. It has mature scenarios (no, not related to sex, just mature in nature) and spontaneous, strong language much as one would expect to hear in similar situations. H
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Basically the 1st part of the story which continues (finishes?) in Omega Point. Started intriguing and continued with lot of action but it left me wondering about the credibility of the AI characters. Why would super intelligences, running umpteen times faster thought processes than humans, sit about in robot bodies (or imaginary ones) in fancy dress sipping tea or whisky and chat? They could accomplish the interactions practically instantaneously and get on with something that AI might enjoy. I ...more
Gavin Gates
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
The interesting thing about Reality 36 is that, at heart, this an old fashioned detective mystery novel, the sort you would expect from Arthur Conan Doyle and others of that style, but, it is set out as a pure sci fi backdrop. Haley mixes the two genres seamlessly and has managed to bring something very refreshing to the table. The visual descriptions and plot equally impressed me from beginning to end and it just oozes cool without any effort at all. Reality 36 is a late entry into my favourite ...more
Tyrannosaurus regina
Although it did get much better towards the end, my main problem with this novel was that I LOVE Richards, and spent the portions of the book that Richards wasn't in waiting for Richards to come back. So I missed some key bits of information here and there and the book felt a little more disjointed than it probably actually was, or would seem to be if I reread it now. Still, engaging enough that I'm definitely interested in reading the sequel, and not just because this one ended on such a cliffh ...more
Jan 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I was really enjoying reading this book. Cyberpunk seems to have fallen out of fashion and this was an interesting mix of that and the hardboiled thriller, both of which I like. But then it just stopped!
This is really volume one of a two volume novel.

On the plus side, book 2 is out in April so I don't have long to wait but I'm still peeved.
Annie Donovan-Aitken
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a really good thriller. BUT it did take me a long time to work out what the feck was going on with all the Sci-Fi stuff. It make me feel a bit dim for about half the book which somewhat marred my enjoyment! I think there is a follow up and I would definitely read that though - esp now I've put in the effort of understanding the world Guy Haley created.
David Marshall
Jan 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked this. It's a good fun read and, so long as you overlook some elements of superficiality, it builds to a good cliffhanger to bridge into the already announced sequel.
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Very entertaining and a well paced read that only slows down to allow the reader to get their head around the science. It reminded me of the Harry Harrison 'Stainless Steel Rat' series in tone and as such it is highly recommended.
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable - some really interesting concepts and situations and characters and I've not the time to review it properly with the respect it deserves; suffice to say doubleplusgood and can't wait for the next one. I would LOVE to see this adapted for film...
Jul 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, scifi
Three and a half stars really. The technobabble limits the audience, but scifi geeks will find it pretty well done. But it felt a bit arbitrary, oddly. I am intrigued enough that I'll try to get to the sequel.
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great ride through a post apocalyptic future with our AI and cyborg detectives. Finishes abruptly, perhaps setting it up for another book/sequel.
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Eh. Unsatisfactory ending.
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Guy Haley is the author of Crash, Champion of Mars, the Richards and Klein series, The Dreaming Cities and others. He is a prolific contributor to Games Workshop's Black Library imprint having written books including the bestselling Dark Imperium, Dante, Pharos and The Devastation of Baal.
More about Guy Haley

Other books in the series

Richards & Klein (4 books)
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