Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Listen While I Drive: Omnitopia Dawn

I brought the audio version of Diane Duane's Omnitopia Dawn: Omnitopia #1 along on my last driving trip (about 800 miles each way).  It was hard to get started on the story, and only my oldest child had any interest in it, so not much traction happened on the way out, but by the trip home I got interested. Then I had to scramble time together to finish it during errands after we arrived.

My main beef was that Duane didn't write the book I wanted -- the back copy promised me a computer intelligence growing from a giant online game, but that was only the small bit at the end; we spent a lot of time learning about the game system, sometimes through the eyes of a player starting up his own small custom-designed section.  This was fun, both in comparison to the games I play online (hint, not nearly as immersive -- for example, I don't associate myself at all with the avatars I play) and just watching the enthusiasm of Rik and his wife design their world.  Then there was the corporate worries of Dev, owner of the company, and all his friends and family.  That was mostly interesting, especially the descriptions of the graphic version of the code files, which appeared as forests and lava pools.  The virtual depictions of the hacker attacks and the stalwart defenses made for a great chapter even if I had to hold down my disbelief with both hands.

Finally there was the evil plans of the bad guys planning the takeover of the company.  Yawn.  I started using the skip button every time more details of their stock twisting and financial wheeler-dealering came up.  Even my son, normally a stickler for not skipping around, rarely complained.  When the computer intelligence finally appeared, I felt a sense of relief, although I suspect most of its development comes in the sequel, which does not appear to exist, despite Amazon's best hopes.

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