Book Identification: Cyberpunk VR Read/Write?
December 6, 2010 9:45 AM   Subscribe

SF book filter: cyberpunk novel in which a virtual-reality programmer discovers a way to make nerve-induction interfaces write thoughts and feelings to the brain, in addition to merely manipulating sensory perceptions. Powers that be do not like, hilarity ensues...

Some years ago (possibly as many as twelve but probably more like nine), I read a novel whose name I cannot recall. It was a fairly good cyberpunk tale, but it is not one commonly referenced and I don't think it was written by any of the usual suspects in that genre.

The story was set in a nearish future where nerve-induction technology (in the shape of tanning-booth like devices rather than strap-on 'trodes) facilitates a Second Life-like cyberspace, among other things. The main character is a designer of virtual-reality entertainments, like games or interactive movies, and is something of a floundering star in this field.

In a moment of inspiration, this designer realizes that he can use the interface to directly write thoughts and feelings onto a users mind in addition to merely manipulating sensory perceptions, as had been assumed to be limitations of the device. This makes him wildly successful but also puts him in terrible perril from profiteers and government regulators out to steal/supress his secret.

Eventually he ends up sheltering in a nerdy backwoods commune of technological revolutionaries, all of whom wear VR helmets to experience a constant hyper-reality. They also said "grok" a lot, in a tech/media-theorist kind of way, which was my first introduction to the word.

And I don't remember how it ends...
posted by lordcorvid to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This might be a long shot, but it sounds like Synners by Pat Cadigan.
posted by HoldFast at 12:24 PM on December 6, 2010

Sounds possibly like a somewhat mangled remembering of Snow Crash.
posted by 256 at 12:34 PM on December 6, 2010

Response by poster: Definitely not remotely like Snow Crash. Close to Synners, but less fully-fledge dystopian Cyberpunk.
posted by lordcorvid at 9:55 AM on July 2, 2011

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