Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Four decades ago, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa family, fled to a wild and lonely mountainous corner of British Columbia to avoid the draft. Smuggling backpack loads of high-grade marijuana across the border into Northern Idaho, he quickly amassed an enormous and illegal fortune. With plenty of time and money to burn, he became addicted to an online fantasy game in which opposing factions battle for power and treasure in a vast cyber realm. Like many serious gamers, he began routinely purchasing virtual gold pieces and other desirables from Chinese gold farmers—young professional players in Asia who accumulated virtual weapons and armor to sell to busy American and European buyers.
For Richard, the game was the perfect opportunity to launder his aging hundred dollar bills and begin his own high-tech start up—a venture that has morphed into a Fortune 500 computer gaming group, Corporation 9592, with its own super successful online role-playing game, T’Rain. But the line between fantasy and reality becomes dangerously blurred when a young gold farmer accidently triggers a virtual war for dominance—and Richard is caught at the center.
In this edgy, 21st century tale, Neal Stephenson, one of the most ambitious and prophetic writers of our time, returns to the terrain of his cyberpunk masterpieces Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon, leading readers through the looking glass and into the dark heart of imagination.
big might be difficult. The chain on her ankle was a good twenty feet long. Less than half of it had been used to connect her ankle to the trailer hitch. The remainder just trailed on the ground. She began gathering it up, wrapping it around her left hand, turning it into a fat steel club. The weight of it threw her off balance, and she threw out her right hand to steady herself against the truck’s frame. She thought it would be all solid and strong, and for the most part it was; but something
coming off. In the meantime, Jones had been cutting two-by-fours into lengths. He tossed these in through the door, flying right over Zula’s head like spears, and directed Sharjeel to screw them down on their edges to the plywood underlayment. This he did miserably. The procedure, as Zula could have told him, was called toenailing, and it was tricky. Abdallah Jones slashed open the package of fiberglass and it began to expand uncontrollably, threatening to completely fill the interior of the
it open as Zula and Csongor exited the room. No one could look at Peter, who had become a nearly unbearable sight on grounds of posture alone: shoulders drawn together, body trembling, back of neck brilliant red. Sokolov was favorably impressed by the fact that he had not yet shit his pants. Men always made crude jokes about people pissing their pants with fear, but in Sokolov’s experience, shitting the pants was more common if it was a straightforward matter of extreme emotional stress. Pants
sides and the back, all the way to the shoulders. Like what an Arab would wear in a sandstorm. The head and face are almost totally hidden. More so if they wear big sunglasses.” “They sit out in the sun all day,” Ivanov said, getting it. “You can’t hold a parasol while you are fishing.” “Yes. The other thing about them is that they have these fancy cases to hold their rods.” Sokolov held his hands about a meter apart, indicating the length. “With a bulge at one end to make room for the reel.”
in with the mundanes, but here the arrival of a private jet was a big deal, and everyone in the place knew about it. Just inside the little pilots’ waiting room in the terminal, a plate of Rice Krispie Treats had been set out for them. Richard absentmindedly stuffed one into his mouth as they waited for their ride. Presently they were collected by a very polite young man named Dale, who drove them on a hilariously tortuous route around the airport to the car rental lot. Dale guessed out loud that