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New York Nights (Gollancz S.F.) [Hardcover]

Eric Brown
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 May 2000 Gollancz S.F.
Forty years from now America is struggling for survival following a series of terrorist attacks on its nuclear power stations. A massive exodus of refugees has left much of the country empty and turned New York into a third world city, swamped by shanty towns. As the economy downshifts and the infrastructure crumbles in the face of massive hikes in oil prices people are desperate for escape. Hal Hennessey and his partner Barney Kruger are doing fairly well out of the misfortune of others - retired from the NYPD they run a missing persons agency tracking down the debris from families that have broken apart under the pressures of a society that is disintegrating. When they are approached by one of the leading figures in the new radical-lesbian chic underground, desperate to find her missing girlfriend Hal is forced to confront his own past and the whereabouts of a sister he hasn't seen in more than fifteen years. And behind it all, the big software companies are rushing to perfect a new generation of virtual reality (VIRTUA) environments to give people the heavens they have lost. Anyone asking awkward questions around them better have good life insurance. Especially when the VIREX underground campaign against VR is hotting up. Eric Brown is unique amongst the new generation of British SF writers in the sensitivity and depth of his characterisation. His novels are infused with a strong empathy for ordinary people and display a willingness to examine family, happiness and mortality, using the rules of SF to ask fundamental questions about our lives and beliefs.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; First Edition edition (18 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575068728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575068728
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,641,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Early on in New York Nights, Hal Halliday, private investigator in the crumbling New York of 2040, turns to his partner Barney who is sitting in their seedy office "with his outstretched legs lodged on the desk, a mug of coffee balanced on his belly, the smouldering butt of a fat cigar pegged into the side of his mouth." Hal tells him he should give up the cigars for his health, but Barney replies: "part of the clichéd image, Hal. What kind of private Dick would I be without my cheap stogie?" In a nutshell, there you have Eric Brown's new novel. It inhabits the clichés of the SF-noir futuristic-gumshoe novel with an unusual thoroughness: gritty urban milieu, worn-down hero, mysterious deaths, shady corporations, a Secret that somebody is prepared to kill for, chases, fights, automatic pistols and all the rest. But in the process it reminds you why these things became clichés in the first place. They work. The plot bucks you about like a rodeo bronco and you are as loathe to let go; Brown orchestrates his surprises and revelations with a spare economy; his characters are basic but workable, his prose gets the job done.

Hal and Barney are investigating the disappearance of a beautiful Virtual Reality designer, and the plot shifts from reality to computer simulation. British authors today seem endlessly fascinated with this premise (as in Chris Priest's The Extremes or Roger Levy's Reckless Sleep), presumably because it allows them to explore the process of imaginative escape that is the point of SF in the first place. Brown has his own twist on the premise, and he ties up all his loose ends neatly--surprisingly so, in fact, given that this is just the first part in a trilogy. --Adam Roberts author of Salt

Book Description

The first of a new trilogy from 'the name to watch in SF' (Peter F. Hamilton)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-moving, thought-provoking SF thriller. 18 Oct 2001
Format:Hardcover
I had not read any of Eric Brown's previous works, prior to being invited to review this book. It is truly a delight being able to review novels by Authors, whom I would otherwise not have had the opportunity to read or even would be aware of their individual work.
I found his new novel truly enjoyable. "New York Nights" is a fast-moving yet thought-provoking SF thriller. It is a novel that examines the real human costs of isolation and escapism in a future that offers wild possibilities.
In the year 2040, New York City is crowded with the lost. Refugees from the radioactive eastern seaboard, the splintered remains of a society in freefall, the lonely souls looking for salvation from reality, crowd the streets between buildings that hide their drabness behind gaudy hologram facades.
It's a good time to be working in Missing Persons and for Hal Halliday and Barney Kluger business for their agency has never been better. It's certainly busy enough for them to be able to forget their pasts and hide from the uncomfortable reality of their present lives, for most of the time. But when Hal is asked to find a missing computer tech called Sissi Nigeria he is pulled into a bizarre world of counter-cultures intertwined with exotic virtual reality domains. It is a world haunted by ghosts of the past and, more terrifyingly, of the future. Soon Hal must face up to the memory of his two sisters; one whom he hasn't seen for five years; and the other died in a childhood accident. Are we all better off leaving the real world behind and seeking a perfect virtual world where we are in control?
Eric Brown is one of the very best of a new generation of British SF writers. This work is the first of the virex trilogy. I truly look forward to the upcoming release of his second novel in this series "New York Blues"...
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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Can you say 'urgh'? 18 Mar 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I couldn't finish this book because it was incredibly dull, poorly written and the plot's continuous use of cliches are only thinly disguised by a sad attempt at irony when it's quite obvious that the author honestly just didn't have any of his own ideas. It is written with a very arrogant tone - especially the way he writes his women and about women, as though he totally "understands" feminisim and lesbianism, just falls flat and reads like the idle babblings of someone who's allowed themselves to suck up to much politcally correct jargon. Pretty woeful stuff.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but not overly recommended. 12 Jun 2013
By Ian Reide - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story: Dystopian New York of 2040, an AI goes hostile, escapes onto the net, takes over several humans, but is then captured (dramatically), and finally investigated, by the same people who were dumb enough to create it in the first place and let it escape. ummm. It is not a bad read, but a tad wordy, and the writing seemed uninspired. I don't plan on re-reading or reading the other two in the trilogy.
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