This review is by Giulio Prisco of the skefi’a science fiction website. You can read it below or go to the skefi’a website for the original.
3D Futures: The disembodied, the departed and the dispossessed, by Rob Walters, is
a fresh, entertaining and thought-
The novel is set in the 23th of 24th century, or so I guess from hints in the book: a World Constitution (something that may happen in a few decades) was adopted in 139 Before Separation (BS), and the events in the book seem to take place at least a few decades after the Separation. Read on to find out what the Separation was.
Most of humanity, the Dispossessed, have returned to savagery, with some communities trying to slowly rebuild civilization after the Separation.
En route to the stars to settle a new planet, the spaceship Shi Shen is populated by a few thousands of people, the Departed, mostly of Chinese origins. It was launched by the Chinese Economic Entity, one of the world powers before the Separation.
The Separation: after the development of mind uploading technology, most among the rich and powerful have chosen to upload and become the Disembodied, living as pure software in Cworld, a virtual world running on supercomputers on Earth and in space.
“Research into consciousness had lead to a startling, though perhaps obvious, conclusion: consciousness was simply the total sum of the brain’s activity—its memories and processing capability… It was then a small step to envisage the movement of a conscious persona into a bodiless digital network… [T]he complete physical transfer of a persona into a digital store, and the provision of a sufficiently powerful computer system to support an artificial world in which personas could reside. This world was Cworld, and it promised immortality: an existence without physical danger, disease or ageing.”
Rob Walters is an experienced writer, author of many books of varied genres, but this is his first science fiction novel. In the Introduction, he says:
“In my youth, I read science fiction books avidly, sometimes as much as a book a
day. My masters were: Asimov, Clarke, Sheckley, Aldiss, Moorcock, and many others…
Later, when I started to fancy myself as an author, I began to realise that the sci-
For a first science fiction novel, this is a great one. I encourage you to buy the
book for 0.99 US$ (yes, 0.99 US$) at Smashwords. You will not regret buying the book:
perhaps this is not a Hugo or Nebula winner, but it’s solid, well-
There are four interleaved stories. One sketches the history of the world from our days to the World Constitution, the launch of the spaceship Shi Shen, the development of mind uploading technology, the Separation, and the development of the Disembodied society in Cworld. The other three stories are narrated by Remus, the leader of a small band of Dispossessed, Tali, a young Departed on Shi Shen, and Zimbaud, a Disembodied in Cworld.
I found especially interesting Zimbaud’s story in Cworld. In this thriller, Zimbaud
and friends must find and defeat the source of a mysterious influence, a software
“corruption” that threatens all Disembodied with madness and eventually dispersal,
the disintegration of personal software identity. In the story, which strongly reminds
me of Greg Egan’s Diaspora, we see many features of Cworld history, technology, and
society, shown in-
Remus’ adventures, a classical post-
Tali’s thread is the coming-
The three story threads, initially unrelated, come loosely together at the end. But there are still many questions to answer and much to be seen in Walters’ 3D Futures universe, and I definitely look forward to reading the promised sequels.