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on 2 November 2014
This is the first part of a four volume epic. The concept is mind blowing and Mr Williams guides us through the complex plot with skill. The character development is particularly good and your interest in them means that you read this way too fast, just to find out what happens to them.

I have two complaints and they relate more to Mr Williams' editors than to the man himself: The whole series is way too long. Many of the lands we visit along the way are frankly boring and we spend too long in them. Interestingly it is the virtual reality worlds that have this problem more than the real-life ones. Paul Jonas' experiences in a World War I simulation go on forever, for instance. My second complaint relates to the use of "who" and "whom". Surely there is someone in Orbit Books can search through the text and correct these.

But, aside from these quibbles, I highly recommend this - but make sure you buy all four, because you will not want to stop before the end!
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on 12 December 2017
Bought on Kindle to replace a long-lost hard copy. Forgotten how good this series is.
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on 20 December 2000
Although I am a big fantasy books fan, I usually avoid science fiction books, since a large percentage of them are just cyberpunk nonsense and very badly written and it is hard to get hold of a real masterpiece once you read the classic ones. Having read (and loved) the Williams fantasy books, I decided to give Otherland a try and never regretted it: the book stands among the (say 10) best I ever read (classic literature included).
Williams is really talented and the book is exceptionally well-written. The author takes great care to set up the characters and the background,while there are some great ideas in the book. Being a computer scientist, I am happy to say that this is one of the few books where even most of the wildest technology-related ideas manage not to sound silly and have an actual basis. Williams is perhaps a bit influenced by other SF books, but the result is a very original and gripping story that stands out from the usual SF stuff. Just one advice: be prepared that all four Otherland books should be considered as one book in four volumes, after finishing each one of them the story does not come to any kind of end, you must be ready to get the next one.
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on 19 March 2016
I was so pleased to be able to get this book I read it years ago and love how all the different threads of the story are interwoven. I have subsequently purchased the rest of the set.
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on 18 November 2007
I started reading this book after it being recommended by my Dad; he's not one for reading, but couldn't put this book down.

I found the book hard to get into initially, but when the Mister Jingle's funhouse was introduced, it really began to pick up. The plot is very well thought out and superbly written; there are several different storylines running at the same time with numerous characters, and not once did I get confused or forget what was happening to any of the characters; although I would have liked to have read more about Paul initially, however there is plenty more of him in the later chapters.

Tad Williams is a very talented storyteller and was consistently so throughout the Otherland series. It is a four-part story however, so the books do end with no wrap-up, which only made me all the more eager to begin the next volume. You don't necessarily need to be a lover of science-fiction/fantasy, as none of the volumes are absolutely saturated with either.

If you're stuck for a present to buy a book-lover (or yourself), then buy this one.
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on 21 August 1998
You will try to take your bleary eyes away from this book more than once, hoping for sleep to give you the rest you need to continue. This book cannot be read in one day...the huge tome takes several. As you become immersed in the characters who, in turn, explore virtual reality of which we can only dream, your own world will seem a pale shadow and you will hunger to read more. This step into science fiction takes the science fact of artificial life and examines the implications of awesome computing power and terrabyte bandwidth. Follow a young South African woman and her Bushman student as they try to find the cabal that has pushed her brother into a coma. For conspiracy lovers, sci-fi freaks, and techno-geeks, this book wraps drama and character development in rich technology. As a precaution, I suggest you turn to pages 300 and 600 upon purchase of the book and put notes to yourself to eat, drink, and, please, shower. Forget sleep.
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on 28 April 2015
Exactly as advertised and arrived promptly.
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on 13 July 2017
The book takes far to long to become interesting. Could probably have made it a good book in half the word count. Don't think I'll bother with the rest of the series.
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on 23 July 2001
I bought Otherland for around £2 second-hand (and knowing aboslutely nothing about Tad Williams) and I have to say it's much better than I'd expected.
I've been systematically avoiding Tad Williams for fear of disappointment (not being a huge fan of the newer Fantasy / Sci-Fi novels) but this one blew me away - it's superbly written with plausible plots and characters (a rare combination) in addition to some truly horrific and breathtaking moments. I swam through the book in three days and loved every last word of it.
I can understand the technological criticisms some have levelled at it but, as a programmer, I cannot personally see much which is not conceivably achievable (besides, sci-fi ought to be, at least in part, fantastic :) It *is* cleverly done though - not once in the book did it seem, in any way, to be a detached experience.
Is it flawed? Absolutely... almost all books are. However, the flaws it does have in no way detract from the experience of reading it. Give it a try - personally I hate the idea that I might have never read this one.
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on 2 November 2008
Modern Fantasy, and I do classify this as Fantasy more than Science Fiction, is mostly, with some notable exceptions, truly appalling: derivative, badly plotted, dreadfully under-realised and under-developed characters. The list of such writers who should never have been allowed near a pen/typewriter/computer is huge and I will not elaborate here. However every so often Constant readers such as myself come across genuine gems among the dross. These modern Fantasy writers (let's not worry about Tolkein who invented the modern genre and is possibly more stolen from than any author in history by the afore-mentioned hacks) include George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, Lois MacMaster Bujold, Neil Gaiman and our current focus, Tad Williams.
Tad Williams' first major outing (Memory, Sorrow and Thorn) was well written and had some good ideas but was a bit sub-Tolkein for my taste. But this story (as the four books are a single story not a tetrology), constitutes one of the most original, ambitious and extraordinary pieces of storytelling it has been my pleasure to delight in over the past few years. I shall not try to summarize the plot or characters but I guarantee that there are characters here that you will not have met before and plot structures abound that will have you reeling and wondering how it was done. Astoundingly for a story this long, and for me this only applies to Lord of the Rings, The Gormenghast Books and The Song of Ice and Fire (so far) from the Fantasy genre, this cycle is also eminently re-readable and rewards repeated forays into its multiplicity of worlds.

If you enjoy quality Fantasy writing, this is definitely one to try - oh, and the little news clips at the start of each chapter had me laughing out loud.
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