Virtually True (Wayzgoose Press, 2012)

Adam Penenberg ’86

Reviewed by Stephanie Gustafson ’12
Adam Penenberg

Award-winning journalist and technology writer Adam Penenberg turns his considerable imagination to the challenge of creating a fictional world, a violently dystopian Southeast Asian nation in the indeterminate future. Virtually True is the chaotic story of True Ailey, a talented journalist and recovering virtual reality addict searching for clues to a double murder. Hunted by everything from DNA-coded missiles to motorcycle gangs, True navigates the dangers of the virtual world, a brutal urban survival race, and even a Japanese karaoke bar in a storyline as artfully fragmented as the world it takes place in. As the plot twists and turns, the reader is confronted with an atmosphere of corporate control and corruption, where anything is possible but nothing is necessarily real, and no one seems likely to live very long. At once a page-turner and a mind-bender, this novel is a thrilling and disturbing exploration of the possibilities of technology and what it might mean for the human experience, personal identity, and our grasp of what is true.