Imagine a computer able to read all your memories,
your entire life, into a data file. Afterward, you go on with your
life -- but now there is a second "you" living in a virtual world
inside the computer. This cyber-Paradise can be exactly what you want
it to be, and you can live there forever.
Until something starts draining resources from the computer. Until
someone sets out to discredit and close the company who owns the
computer. And only for as long as the computer is running.
Silicon Karma has a mildly interesting plot, but is less
skillful in its execution. The most irritating flaw is the author's
contrivance to explain many times why the virtual world is real to
its virtual inhabitants, and how the virtual economy works; Easton is
entirely too pleased with his own clever ideas here. Also unpleasant
are the peculiarly jerky conversations, as though characters have
unexpectedly switched topics but left the reader behind; this happens
throughout and, even if deliberate, reflects poorly on the writing.
Other objections include a gratuitous ending where two characters
"have their cake and eat it too"; the faulty metaphor of decay and
pollution representing the drain on the computer (it could have been
a good image, but does not work even superficially); and the scantly
developed behind-the-scenes villain.
In short, Silicon Karma is not worth the trip.
Thomas A. Easton's web site
This review copyright 1998 by Wendy Morris.