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Otherland, Volume 4: Sea of Silver Light - Tad Williams

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Here, at last, is Book IV in Tad Williams' acclaimed Otherland series-the book his fans have been eagerly awaiting. A brilliant blend of science fiction, fantasy, and technothriller, it is a rich, multilayered epic of future possibilities-in which virtual realities offer new pathways to immortality...for a dangerous price.


Otherland, Volume 4: Sea of Silver Light
Tad Williams

The 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 Hollywood flicks.

  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 correct."

   Five stars!

Book review by Abby Goldsmith the big site