on 2 September 2012
I read this over four days of intensive sessions and I was highly impressed. The author describes a very possible future in loving detail. He doesn't make the mistake of trying to delineate every detail from the start but lovingly (and with great literary style) builds your knowledge of this new world bit by bit throughout. I was highly impressed with the sheer creativity of the author in many respects, the new concepts he came up with, the wonderful language he uses to describe them and always and ever the reality with which you can almost touch this created world.
The first 80% or so of this book I simply loved. When it came to the later part, the chronicles following each identity I began to feel there was perhaps a little too much detail. These will however be a mine of information for those who wish to delve ever deeper into the characters in greater depth.
When it finally came time for the ending I was not disappointed. The author did a wonderful job of drawing all the diverse stories together and provided an epic and believable ending with plenty of twists and turns.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves good sci-fi. Mr Mather has clearly spent a huge amount of time getting his storyline and ideas in place and it shows. And, at the price it's a "why not?" buy... You will feel completely immersed in a new world. And it is unlikely you will ever forget the experience.
on 2 April 2014
I was very impressed by this book, it took me to new places. It was not so much some of the tech involved, metaverses, nanotechnology, VR and AR but what these will bring in changes to how people live and even what it means to be human. The story, plot and characters are all engrossing though there is probably room for the author to draw the characters in more depth. I am looking forward to the sequel
on 21 August 2013
Book Review: The Atopia Chronicles by Matthew Mather
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd
Writing Style - 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
Just like the prequel, this work is compiled as a first person narrative, however, in this case the narrative is split between a whole group of main characters.
I have to be honest and say that - although the effect was good - I found the whole read came across far more complicated than it needed to be. Equally, at times I found very little difference in the responses and thought processes of the characters, and to prove this to myself, I tried skipping to different pages (once I had finished the book) to see if I could discern (within reason) which character's point of view I was reading. I got 3 correct out of 8 or 9 attempts.
The dialogue is strong and well thought through, but all-in-all, this writing style doesn't quite match the quality of its predecessor.
Character Development - 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
With so many main characters and their digital companions running about the plotlines, I had hoped the development would work, and it does. Perhaps not with the accomplished brilliance of the first book, but then there are more players in the game this time.
Although there were instances where you had to second guess why things were the way they were (especially in the early stages), things did seem to gel rather well, and characters grew around you as you followed each of them.
Descriptive - 3.5/5.0 (Good)
I have to admit, there were elements within this where the descriptive still left me confused. Partly because explanations for things were splintered across several character viewpoints, and partly because a lot of assumptions were made on the part of the author.
Beyond the `virtual environments, the descriptive was excellent - although it turned out that a lot of the assumed `real' environments were also virtual in different ways.
This was just another thing which added complication to the read and served to slow my understanding a little as things developed.
Language & Grammar - 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
I did feel that a few words here and there were incorrect, and that there were a handful of unnecessary commas and the like, but the general structure and word usage was excellent.
With such a technologically advanced society well into the throes of their own `normal', this highlighted what needed highlighting and accepted what didn't without question.
Plot - 4.5/5.0 (Excellent) - NO SPOILERS
I thought the plot and the sub-plots that led to the ending were superb. I also really enjoyed the processes that took the reader to the conclusion, and the promise of what was to come.
Yes, this would have been a much nicer (and somewhat easier) read, had it been written in third person. But the structure makes the plot work better than I expected it to.
General - 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
Cards on the table. The reader does get a little swamped with the high tech sci-fi elements from the start, and then I did feel things became very complicated very quickly.
Having said that, the very nature of the work makes it a necessity.
This is a very good story, but the reader needs to be in it for the long haul, because when things happen, they happen quickly... but remember, the Devil's in the detail.
Personally, I enjoyed the book very much, though I also thought it was very hard work. The continually shifting viewpoints were sometimes irritating, and although I understood the reasoning, The occasional repetition and the fact that some people aren't real whilst others are, can be off-putting.
There are suggestions made of androids, but I never really got to grips with their uses... unless of course, I misunderstood.
The good old "trotting into the distance and on to the next part of the mission" makes an excellent ending, though some of the revelations at the end are just a little out of left field.
For this, just about four stars, and hoping the following sequel is as good as it promises to be.
on 25 July 2013
The Atopia Chronicles is a series of books that are told from various vantage points. Not many books can pull off this style and either lean too much on character development or storyline. Here we have a clever balance of both.
The story is set on the island of Atopia, just off the coast of America. Everyone in Atopia has PSSI, a kind of virtual reality that allows you to be in many places at once, anywhere you want, at any time. The technology is described throughout but doesn't over complicate matters and as such gives the reader enough to understand to progress through the book but leave plenty of room to let imagination take over.
The characters in the book are developed well, although I was left wanting to know more about a couple of them. Readers of CyberStorm will recognise Patricia and Vince. There may also be a couple of other names you recognise. However you dont need to have read CyberStorm to read the Atopia Chronicles, but I would recommend it.
Overall its an enjoyable read. It starts off a bit slowly and understanding how PSSI works isn't intantly obvious but plough on and things become much clearer and the pace increases until the final book ties everything together very well. You almost find yourself wishing the PSSI technology was real.
However there is a cliffhanger to the story which will be continued in the sequel "Dystopia". Looking forward to it!
on 15 May 2016
Please bear in mind this review is based on the fact I'm only about 70% through reading this book.
More than 50% through and I'm getting confused with the multitude of introduced characters. One time a chapter starts and suddenly, having believed this to be a continuation of a previous male characters musings, I find the gender of the character has changed (female).
I could argue this is well written, and to be fair the way technology is described for a future world is concise and does make you believe all of these advances are possible, e.g. "rehabilitate " neourological diseases such as Parkinsons, but if well written why do I constantly have to keep reminding myself, often backtracking, as to which character I'm currently reading about?
There is humour in these writings, often very subtle. One of my favourites is when internationals get together, at what is best described as a sales conference for the new product release of pssi, and are met by an advertisement starting with the words "Have you ever wished you were free from the constant bombardment of advertising? ". I'm sold! Get me some pssionics now!
One thing about this bok that annoys me is the references to the act of smoking. A particular beef of mine. We all know that smoking kills and I'd like to think that in a future world with phsychological stimulations this unnecessary act of smoking would be banished. It's too easy, as well used in 50s movies, to use smoking as a way to portray cool and relaxed BUT this is a future reality and the author lets himself down by not being able to write in a better way, invent a new concept, to give this trait to his characters.
I'm struggling with this book, now 80% through, but I'll persist as this whole seriesappears to recieve high praise with excellent reviews.
With all these characters musings there is a background theme of a storm system approaching, threatening to destroy this Utopian ( sorry Atopian) island.
Maybe the storm brewing could put a little more life into the 'lack of action' I find in this book - the only exception, so far, was the well described sea-wave surfing incident early in this book.
I look forward to finishing this book, read into that what you wish,. Maybe all ends well and I read the next book in the series, already purchased for an Amazon Kindle, OR I'm grateful to start another book by another author.
on 31 October 2014
Another post apocalypse tale? No, not quite. More like apocalypse in the making.
A brilliant idea to save the planet aims to reduce hedonistic waste by creating the tools to allow virtual hedonism in your mind while enabling you to splinter your attention to tens or even thousands of simultaneous events, promising all the fun you can cope with and no negative side effects.
But human nature being what it is the first use made by the brightest (and best?) of our fellow beings is to speculate on the future, controll others, and just generally to take care of number one. And one by one the side effects become apparent.
So the world seems set to go to hell in a hand basket anyway, in spite of - or because of - the technology.
The sensation of being able to sit in on other peoples' subjective awareness is conveyed through multi-narrator versions of the same events. Confusing at first but surprisingly easy to get the hang of.
There are sequels. But best start at the beginning!
And fasten your seat belts, it’s a hectic ride!
on 21 August 2013
I bought this book - which I had not realized was a collection. I bought it because it was relatively cheap as I had never heard of the author and sometimes the sample is not enought to divine if it will be a good book. I loved this. It was a page turner with some interesting themes, some fantastic ideas and great narrative with a real good twist at the end.
on 2 July 2014
I was recommended this book/series by Amazon,since I love science fiction. It sounded interesting, so I downloaded this on audio book. I must admit it was an intriguing story!
There are several characters in this book, and because it would take too long to do a character breakdown for every single one, I have decided to just jump right in to my review.
There are several narrators that bring each of the six chronicles to life. They are: Luke Daniels, Angela Dawe, Tanya Eby, Amy McFadden, Mikael Naramore and Nick Podehl. I am not sure who narrated the first chronicle, but I nearly stopped listening to the story within the first 15 minutes. The lady had a thick New York or Brooklyn accent that, I am sorry to say, really put me off; no offence meant to New Yorkers or Brooklynites. The nasal tone of the narrator made me cringe, as her voice sounded whiny and it gave me a headache. However, I persevered and I am glad I did; the rest of the narrators were a pleasure to listen to.
The story was a wonderful mix of science fiction, fantasy and reality. The first chronicle was set in New York, but the rest of the series was set on the island of Atopia, a large man-made floating island in the Pacific. Dr. Patricia Killiam is launching a new virtual reality platform. However, everything is not as it seems.
This story takes the reader on a fast paced roller coaster ride! Every character involved in this story is affected by certain events that culminate in an amazing showdown with a desperate and slightly crazy individual.
The story did feel a bit disjointed at times, but I suppose it's because it was originally written in sections. I really liked Bob (Robert Baxter), who was a bit of a drunkard and drug addict, but he has reason to be. I don't believe that drink and drugs are a solution to a problem or situation, but in his defense, it was understandable. This book actually terrified me, in a way. With the way we are advancing with our computers, and the virtual reality in movies getting better and better, this technology could, in the not too distant future, become more readily available. The line between what is real and what is virtual is growing thinner and blurrier all the time. This could, in the wrong hands, be used as a kind of mind control one day, and this absolutely terrifies me. If the life we now live is an illusion, what would be the point in living it? Are we actually already living in a virtual world? This kind of story makes a person think very deep and philosophical thoughts. That being said, I really enjoyed the story. The ending finished on a slight cliffhanger, and now I am looking forward to continuing the Chronicles by reading/listening to The Dystopia Chronicles, which will be released in August this year.
Matthew Mather has written a intriguing science fiction series. His characters were very lifelike. I loved his fast paced writing style and, even though the flow was a bit disjointed in places, I would definitely read more of his books in the future.
Due to the mention of alcohol and drug abuse, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. I do, however, recommend this book to lovers of science fiction or dystopian fiction genres. - Lynn Worton
on 25 November 2012
Atopia is an island off the coast of America and everyone here has their own PSSI (Poly-synthentic sensory interface)a new invention which is expected to take the world by storm. This allows individuals to experience a virtual reality world where they can experience almost anything, the smell, the touch is as real if not better than real-life. You can also multi-task ("splintering") so whilst appearing in a boring meeting, one part of you can also be out partying with your friends and another watching TV.
It is a collection of 5 short stories and then book 6 ties all the stories together, however essentially it is just the one book. The idea is very clever and by the end the book you can clearly see the impact of such a device would have on the world at large.
I've only given it 4 stars because the ending was left with a cliff hanger obviously with the view to expand the story further, however really the book would have been much better to finish there and concluding with the ulimate effect PSSI had on the entire world.
Overall, it's full of original ideas and definately worth a read but won't be buying the next instalment because it's not a story than can be reasonably expanded any further.
on 24 August 2012
I bought this yesterday, and devoured it over one long night. I didn't mind losing out on sleep because I couldn't not finish it. I can name one or two books that I've read straight off like this.
If intelligent, well thought out science fiction that expands your mind is your thing, then Atopia Chronciles is definitely worth a read. My only complaint is that the final book could have been edited better, but I'd guess the author has addressed this by now after all the attention this book is getting!
The "book" is actually six stories, starting with a nice, punchy short that introduces us into the world and progressing to the final two which are full novel length.
The author has a way of detailing the world that makes it incredibly vivid, really making you feel like you're there.
It is an amazingly fun ride into the future, incredibly imaginative, and something I am going to recommend to all my friends!