The Virtual Reality of War, a novelette written by Terry Johnson and published by Frisky Squirrel eBooks, examines the future of war and battle with advanced technology. This fictional story follows the Third Virtual Reality Infantry Division as they fight a war half way across the globe while out of harm’s way.
This book has several issues with it. Names are often thrown into passages without meaning. These characters are named for a short scene, and then never seen or heard of again. There is very little or no character development at all, and many characters have very little purpose.
There are many grammatical errors and typos riddled throughout the novelette. This piece of writing is desperately in need of an editor. For example, here is a sentence from the text: “ ’Let’s us get out of here too!’ Gray said. ” Let’s us? Seeing as how let’s is a contraction of let and us, there is no need for the us after it. There are spots where a comma is need, yet absent, and in various cases, dialogue is not punctuated correctly.
While spelling and grammar issues can be overlooked, it’s harder to do so with the logical errors in this story. For instance, the United States has an incredible, top-of-the-line battle system and Iran has built 50 threatening nuclear bombs, so it can be assumed that this takes place in a time in the future where major developments have been made. However, Iran’s foot soldiers still have the weak AK-47s. If they have the resources and power to create nuclear weapons, can’t they at least upgrade the guns of the soldiers?
Another issue is when the over watch can detect an incoming convoy from two hours away, yet they cannot see another one until they are estimated to arrive in 15 minutes.
The United States military has developed a new war system that can change war forever, where soldiers are out of harm’s way while they control a heavily armored and highly destructive robot. When these android soldiers arrive in Iran, enemy warriors appear to be very surprised to see them, as if they had never heard of such things. If this is such a change to war, it is unlikely that it was able to remain a secret until they went to Iran.
The author uses too many information dumps on the reader. Although it is important to understand how new system works, it goes into far too much detail. Fewer details would have sufficed to give the reader knowledge of the battle system, but the story is stopped for several (long) paragraphs to explain. If it was explained through story dialogue, it would have felt much more natural than how it currently is.
Word choice and punctuation also had a part in bringing this novelette down. There are far too many unnecessary exclamation marks. Even if this is an action story, the author should have relied upon the content to excite the reader rather than artificial punctuation. This work could have also been improved by using the word said more. The author attempts to avoid using this word and replaces it with synonyms; however, readers are used to seeing and almost expecting the word said, so it just feels awkward and uncomfortable.
My biggest complaint about this book is about the perspective from which it is told. It is written from everyone’s perspective. As a result, it’s hard to determine who are the main characters and easy to confuse the different people. It should have been told from the perspective of a single person.
Although this piece has several issues, some of which are major, the book has not been ruined. There are a lot of action scenes which did excite the reader. Unlike many books in the same league as The Virtual Reality of War, the hero overcomes not only a physical challenge, but also an emotional and mental problem. Roger Todd has been having nightmares about a hostage situation in which he finds himself unable to act. When a real hostage event occurs, he is able to overcome this and save the hostage.
The Virtual Reality of War by Terry Johnson is a respectable piece of work with a great story. However, it should have been read by a professional editor before its publication.