OTHERLAND saga, by Tad Williams, is an involving linear
series which is actually one single book divided into
four due to physical publication needs. The genre is
science fiction which takes place on our own world,
not far in our own future.
The series itself is amazingly realistic
and detailed in scope. You won't find any of your sterotypical
heroes or bad guys- but you grow to like the characters
anyway because they are, quite simply, REAL people.
Williams has the gift of giving characters life in the
friendly way that many authors in this genre lack. In
addition, "Otherland" doesn't feature a single
element of unbelievability. Oh, there are plenty of
monsters, supernatural beings, and god-like evil universal
controllers... but they all exist within a virtual universe
which was created by humans... some of them from our
own generations. The "Otherland" saga actually
contains two universes. One is a frightening yet extremely
insightful- and possibly prophetic- vision of the future
of humanity. The other is a virtual world of computer
code (not "The Matrix," but it's a similar
concept) which is even more terrifying, absurd, and
dangerous than that future reality.
This is the sort of saga that you
get immersed in. Williams makes references to J.R.R.
Tolkien, and like that trend-setting author, Williams
revels in detail, complexity, and lingering realism.
I cannot recommend this book to anyone who put aside
the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy based on its
descriptive length, or Stephen King's longer works for
the same reasons. For anyone who craves all that escapist
detail- as I do- then this series is a must-read. You
won't be disappointed!
This review is specifically focused
on Volume 4, the last of the series. If you've read
the first one, two, or three and then put them aside
with the idea that Williams can't possibly conclude
his epic story in a satisfactory manner, then let me
reiterate: You won't be disappointed. He manages to
do it in such a way that you are left wide-eyed and
trembling in awe (okay, maybe that's an exaggeration,
but not by much). Not only do all of those million of
little subplots and mysteries get solved; they are solved
in some astonishing, unpredictable- yet completely logical-
ways. Prepare to be soundly impressed! This one is high
on my list of books I would like to see made into high-budget
To those who have not read "Otherland"
yet: This series is a refreshingly well-written blend
of fantasy and realistic scifi. Cheers to an author
who puts female characters on equal footing with the
males. The main characters include every racial group,
sexual orientation, and major religion. Williams did
this bravely, at the risk of losing biased readers,
or being critized, perhaps, as "too politically