James P. Hogan
Realtime Interrupt (1995)
Reviewed: 1995-08-17

No doubt about it, virtual reality is a trendy topic. Hogan has explored it before in his Giants novels. Now this return to the subject of VR with Realtime Interrupt confirms my suspicion of the last years that Hogan's sparkle of ideas is sizzling out. This book isn't so much the hard SF Hogan is noted for but rather a techno-thriller in the vein of Michael Crichton.

There is little to tell about this book without giving away all of it. It is very conventional, the plotting straightforward, the major plot twist a wiggle at best. A company developing the technology to create an uncanny simulation of the real world, corporate politics and intrigues, and people stumbling through a maze of reality and virtuality. I once had a dream where I wondered whether I was dreaming, pinched myself, felt the pain, and decided I was not dreaming after all - then I woke up. Unfortunately, in this book the reader is never left in doubt for more than a few pages as to which is which. As a former engineer, Hogan is just too sober to play nasty mind games.

Overall, Realtime Interrupt is a wholly unremarkable book, rehashing well explored ideas in solid writing.

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