Monday, 22 October 2012

To Hie From Far Cilenia by Karl Schroeder

What a neat story!  Part thriller, INTERPOL is looking for some missing plutonium, part Matrix, the chase is mostly conducted online.

What was fun was how the author just expanded on current technology.  Today, virtual reality is pretty much a bust but augmented reality is starting to make in-roads into the gaming world and everyday apps. 

Wikipedia describes Augmented Reality like this:

Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer.

Mapping superimposed
onto the real world.
In the story this is accomplished with special glasses and ear buds.  To track down the plutonium a virtual game called Rivet Couture, which is a steam punk world.  Once the glasses are on modern buildings are removed and Victorian buildings take their place, traffic noises are replaced by the sound of horses and wagons.  This is all superimposed on the real world so when a person walks across a real street that street is also "real" in the virtual world only a delivery truck is replaced by a team of horses.

It was all very cool and the characters could, and often did, take off their glasses just to look around and see where they were in the real world.  The beauty of the world was the blending of the real with the virtual and just how authentic each one really was.

It all comes to a thrilling conclusion on the high seas!

Lots of fun.
Karl Schroeder

Schroeder's website is HERE.

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