Ebook review: Ghosts of ARCADIA by Ramsey Isler

Publication date 14th October 2013
About the author: “Ramsey Isler is an author, software developer, and designer who lives in Los Angeles. He currently writes feature articles and media reviews at IGN.com, an entertainment site that focuses on TV, movies, and video games. Ramsey loves books, anything with circuits and wires, and cats.

For fiction, Ramsey usually writes urban fantasy that blends elements of science fiction and suspense. His stories feature young protagonists that are often unsure of themselves, but they find the strength to persevere when faced with extreme circumstances. Ramsey does not write traditional “evil” villains or black-and-white morality tales; he instead opts for antagonists and anti-heroes who have viewpoints and ideals that pose difficult moral challenges for the protagonists, and the worlds they inhabit.”
From the dust cover:” The greatest video game system the world has ever seen has been hacked.

ARCADIA was the first platform to offer a complete simulated reality experience using direct brain scans to trick the gamer’s senses and, more importantly, to read their minds to know what they wanted to do next. It was hailed as a breakthrough; the most innovative invention since the television. It sold out in record time. Then the hackers started stealing.

It started simply enough; just a few users of the ARCADIA game system had their bank accounts infiltrated, and a little bit of cash went missing. But the problem grew, and hundreds of thousands of people lost money. The FBI got involved, and ARCADIA headsets were taken off store shelves.

Miguel Naciamento, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and hedonist, has taken on the story of ARCADIA. Determined to find the hackers, Miguel becomes entrenched in a mystery that involves an androgynous hacker, a veteran government specialist on cyber-warfare, and even the creator of ARCADIA. As Miguel’s investigation leads him to the true source of the hacks that brought ARCADIA to the brink of destruction, he makes a discovery that proves that ARCADIA has become more advanced than anyone could have imagined, but he’ll have to fight hard and face his own fears to ensure that ARCADIA survives to fulfill its true potential.”
My Ebook review: the premise of Ghosts of ARCADIA is a fascinating one that we inhabitants of the computational world can readily engage with. Essentially as the world becomes more interactive there will always be someone out there trying to push their own agenda. What is fun about this work is that it is entirely plausible somehow and one can almost glimpse the future reality just around the courner.
Our hero Miguel has followed his nose and the opportunities that his life has given him to investigate a seemingly dead story. The more he digs, the more he is dragged into the world of hacking and the world of ARCADIA.
It struck me that he has a very easy time getting people to help him out. Clearly his Pulitzer has a substantial amount of clout in getting some pretty nervous people to open up. That was to me the one criticism. Otherwise this is a very intriguing story that is very nicely paced. The outcome became clear as the book progressed but was still surprising and interesting.
Essentially this is an essay on the nature of life and reality and what will happen when virtual reality becomes even more enticing than it already is for some. What happens when we choose to live without actually being there?
Did I enjoy it: definitely, this is a keeper not just because it is nicely written but because it is thought provoking and the theme of the book actually has the potential to be a version of our reality one day.


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