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Omnitopia Dawn: Omnitopia #1 by Diane Duane
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Omnitopia Dawn: Omnitopia #1 (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Diane Duane (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
187963,175 (3.84)15
mene's review
Review originally posted at my weblog here: http://moonplanet.dreamwidth.org/78878.html

(I took care to give no obvious spoilers about the story)

Title: Omnitopia Dawn (on Librarything)
Author: Diane Duane
Language: English
Series: Omnitopia #1
Format: paperback
Pages: 381 (392 when you count the preview chapter from book 2 as well)
Publisher: DAW books
Year published: original 2010, my edition 2011
ISBN number: 9780756406783
Topic of the book: Science fiction, online multiplayer game (MMORPG)
Reason for reading: I saw the book on the author's weblog and it sounded quite interesting - I don't play online multiplayer games, but the concept of the book sounded interesting. Also, I really like Diane Duane's "Young Wizards" series and I was interested in reading a non-YW book by her sometime too (so I bought it as it wasn't very expensive - yay for English paperbacks XD).

Back cover text:
In the virtual twenty-first century multiplayer on-line games have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment. And the most popular gaming universe of all is Omnitopia, created by genius programmer Dev Logan.
For millions of people around the world, Omnitopia is an obsession, a passionate pastime, almost a way of life. Omnitopia is a virtual place where dreams come true - players can create their own universes within the game's structure and participate in the profits if their piece of the universe is a hit. Ten million players routinely play in Omnitopia, and at any given time, nearly a million of them are on-line, living in a world more real to them than their own.
Now Dev and his people are preparing to roll out a major new expansion to the Omnitopia system. And even as players, staff, the media, and the heavy hitters on the world financial scene wait eagerly for this fast-approaching and momentous event, there are others preparing to play a very different game - one that is meant to strike at the heart of Omnitopia and bring the entire system crashing down...

Comments on the back cover text:
Normally I don't really read back cover texts before I start reading the book, but this time I did (online, though, as I ordered the book from a website). I think it explains the main point of the plot quite well (though why is there a hyphen inbetween "on-line"?). There are also some comments from Booklist and Publishers Weekly on the back cover, but I never copy those into my reviews (as some people might have noticed XD) - Booklist mentions "World of Warcraft", which is of course one of the online games I thought of as well, but I must say Omnitopia sounds more interesting to play (I've seen people at university play WoW and at one of my courses in the Computer Science bachelor there was a guest speaker who came to talk about online multiplayer games where he also showed a lot of gameplay-WoW-movies - he was very enthousiastic about those games, but I didn't get the urge to play them).

First paragraph of the prologue:
Rik Maliani stepped out of nothingness into the narrow cobbled confines of Troker's Lane, overhung on each side by ancient half-timbered houses... and as his second step went squish, he realized he'd just put his left foot down right in the middle of a turd.

Comments on the first paragraph:
The people of Omnitopia have created a RealFeel interface where you also get the smells of things in the game (and touch and taste and such). Of course the first thing you'd then think is that you'd also smell all the poop and stinky things XD I thought it was very funny that the prologue started with that! Rik is one of the players of Omnitopia and there are chapters from his viewpoint, but also from the viewpoint of Dev (owner of Omnitopia) and other characters, so you get to see many sides of the story.

Review:
Story:
Most of the story was about the events before the roll-out of the game's expansion, the people who want to destroy Omnitopia and things about the game itself. The plot doesn't seem to advance very quickly when you're reading, but actually quite a lot of things are happening. I kept expecting in-game cross-overs with the Young Wizards universe at the beginning, though :P Because at the beginning, there's a lot of talk about all those existing worlds within Omnitopia... Or just hints for readers who had also read the YW books. But maybe it's good not to have cross-overs to your other series when you're already quite known for that?
What I also thought was interesting, was the visualization of the programming language used to build Omnitopia, which enabled people who didn't really know a programming language to build their own world anyway.
A funny thing was that last Tuesday morning I had an exam about AI (about this book) and one of the questions was if machines could be(come) conscious and could think, and then after the exam I read the part in this Omnitopia book that gave a really nice answer XD
I also seem to remember reading somewhere in the book that it took place in 2015... but then Queen Catherina-Amalia (of the Netherlands) appears in the book as a young woman and in 2015 her grandmother or her father would be queen/king, not she herself... So maybe I misremembered the date (>.>) But still, Dutch things in American books amuse me XD (though, well, why not just write the really Dutch 'stroopwafel' instead of 'stroopwaffel'?)
It is the first book in a series, though it can be read as a stand-alone book without reading the next book. The preview chapter made me curious about the next book, though :P

Writing style:
The author can really describe visual things well, which I like.
It's written from a third-person viewpoint, but also interspersed with the thoughts of the viewpoint-person at that moment. The viewpoint character switches to different characters throughout the book, but it's always clear who is the viewpoint character.
I thought it was easy to read, but if you've read any YW books, it's very comparable :)

Spelling errors/typos:
Page 55, 6th line: Rik said (missing dot after 'said')
Page 58 10th line: It sounds, complicated (comma after 'sounds' can be removed)
Page 89: "Ooh, corporatespeak, Dev said. (missing " after 'corporatespeak,')

Conclusion:
I thought the topic was very interesting and I liked the story around it as well :) I would recommend it to people who are at least a bit interesting in online games (even when you don't play them) or people who like Diane Duane's books XD

Rereadability:
Yes, this is a book I'd re-read!

Related links:
-Diane Duane's official site
-Her weblog on Dreamwidth: http://dduane.dreamwidth.org/
-The AI book I mentioned: Artificial Intelligence - A philosophical introduction by Jack Copeland (review)
  mene | May 9, 2012 |
All member reviews
Showing 9 of 9
Although the concept was interesting I could not get into this book and gave up on it after 70 pages.
  DarylReads1 | Apr 7, 2014 |
Ok, so the crew of the Enterprise, as Duane writes them, instead run a MMORPG the day after tomorrow. I mean, not exactly the crew of the Enterprise, but you will recognize the types if you love Duane’s Star Trek books as I very much do. Hard work, competence, and compassion are her highest values and they are rewarded (along with a little bit of cheating only those who have been confirmed as trying to cheat you). It’s a cozy book, in its way. ( )
  rivkat | May 6, 2013 |
Picture

I started this book with some trepidation. It isnt really sci-fi to a major extent (Im not even sure if it is classified as sci-fi, though sci-fi and fantasy are the only books I get from publishers), yes it takes place in the near future and yes it deals with advanced technology but it isn’t a far stretch from World of Warcraft and games of that ilk.

The story revolves around Omnitopia a massive only gaming universe that packs almost every imanginable world into on massive bundle. Its creator (Dev) is busy working with his company to unroll the newest expansion pack and Phil , his chief competitor (and former partner) is working on his own release while colluding with the a hacker group to weaken Omnitopia so Phil can slip in and gain controlling interest. The other main story arc consists of Rik, who is a player and was given a rare chance to create his own Microcosm inside of Omnitopias own universe.

This was a well written and very enjoyable book. It wasn’t too tech heavy and for the most part the advanced technology it dealt with wasn’t anything that a simi-literate computer user wouldn’t recognize (yes, that’s my classification). It’s a solid story with interesting characters and a fairly good plot. ( )
  joshmkii | Oct 14, 2012 |
Review originally posted at my weblog here: http://moonplanet.dreamwidth.org/78878.html

(I took care to give no obvious spoilers about the story)

Title: Omnitopia Dawn (on Librarything)
Author: Diane Duane
Language: English
Series: Omnitopia #1
Format: paperback
Pages: 381 (392 when you count the preview chapter from book 2 as well)
Publisher: DAW books
Year published: original 2010, my edition 2011
ISBN number: 9780756406783
Topic of the book: Science fiction, online multiplayer game (MMORPG)
Reason for reading: I saw the book on the author's weblog and it sounded quite interesting - I don't play online multiplayer games, but the concept of the book sounded interesting. Also, I really like Diane Duane's "Young Wizards" series and I was interested in reading a non-YW book by her sometime too (so I bought it as it wasn't very expensive - yay for English paperbacks XD).

Back cover text:
In the virtual twenty-first century multiplayer on-line games have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment. And the most popular gaming universe of all is Omnitopia, created by genius programmer Dev Logan.
For millions of people around the world, Omnitopia is an obsession, a passionate pastime, almost a way of life. Omnitopia is a virtual place where dreams come true - players can create their own universes within the game's structure and participate in the profits if their piece of the universe is a hit. Ten million players routinely play in Omnitopia, and at any given time, nearly a million of them are on-line, living in a world more real to them than their own.
Now Dev and his people are preparing to roll out a major new expansion to the Omnitopia system. And even as players, staff, the media, and the heavy hitters on the world financial scene wait eagerly for this fast-approaching and momentous event, there are others preparing to play a very different game - one that is meant to strike at the heart of Omnitopia and bring the entire system crashing down...

Comments on the back cover text:
Normally I don't really read back cover texts before I start reading the book, but this time I did (online, though, as I ordered the book from a website). I think it explains the main point of the plot quite well (though why is there a hyphen inbetween "on-line"?). There are also some comments from Booklist and Publishers Weekly on the back cover, but I never copy those into my reviews (as some people might have noticed XD) - Booklist mentions "World of Warcraft", which is of course one of the online games I thought of as well, but I must say Omnitopia sounds more interesting to play (I've seen people at university play WoW and at one of my courses in the Computer Science bachelor there was a guest speaker who came to talk about online multiplayer games where he also showed a lot of gameplay-WoW-movies - he was very enthousiastic about those games, but I didn't get the urge to play them).

First paragraph of the prologue:
Rik Maliani stepped out of nothingness into the narrow cobbled confines of Troker's Lane, overhung on each side by ancient half-timbered houses... and as his second step went squish, he realized he'd just put his left foot down right in the middle of a turd.

Comments on the first paragraph:
The people of Omnitopia have created a RealFeel interface where you also get the smells of things in the game (and touch and taste and such). Of course the first thing you'd then think is that you'd also smell all the poop and stinky things XD I thought it was very funny that the prologue started with that! Rik is one of the players of Omnitopia and there are chapters from his viewpoint, but also from the viewpoint of Dev (owner of Omnitopia) and other characters, so you get to see many sides of the story.

Review:
Story:
Most of the story was about the events before the roll-out of the game's expansion, the people who want to destroy Omnitopia and things about the game itself. The plot doesn't seem to advance very quickly when you're reading, but actually quite a lot of things are happening. I kept expecting in-game cross-overs with the Young Wizards universe at the beginning, though :P Because at the beginning, there's a lot of talk about all those existing worlds within Omnitopia... Or just hints for readers who had also read the YW books. But maybe it's good not to have cross-overs to your other series when you're already quite known for that?
What I also thought was interesting, was the visualization of the programming language used to build Omnitopia, which enabled people who didn't really know a programming language to build their own world anyway.
A funny thing was that last Tuesday morning I had an exam about AI (about this book) and one of the questions was if machines could be(come) conscious and could think, and then after the exam I read the part in this Omnitopia book that gave a really nice answer XD
I also seem to remember reading somewhere in the book that it took place in 2015... but then Queen Catherina-Amalia (of the Netherlands) appears in the book as a young woman and in 2015 her grandmother or her father would be queen/king, not she herself... So maybe I misremembered the date (>.>) But still, Dutch things in American books amuse me XD (though, well, why not just write the really Dutch 'stroopwafel' instead of 'stroopwaffel'?)
It is the first book in a series, though it can be read as a stand-alone book without reading the next book. The preview chapter made me curious about the next book, though :P

Writing style:
The author can really describe visual things well, which I like.
It's written from a third-person viewpoint, but also interspersed with the thoughts of the viewpoint-person at that moment. The viewpoint character switches to different characters throughout the book, but it's always clear who is the viewpoint character.
I thought it was easy to read, but if you've read any YW books, it's very comparable :)

Spelling errors/typos:
Page 55, 6th line: Rik said (missing dot after 'said')
Page 58 10th line: It sounds, complicated (comma after 'sounds' can be removed)
Page 89: "Ooh, corporatespeak, Dev said. (missing " after 'corporatespeak,')

Conclusion:
I thought the topic was very interesting and I liked the story around it as well :) I would recommend it to people who are at least a bit interesting in online games (even when you don't play them) or people who like Diane Duane's books XD

Rereadability:
Yes, this is a book I'd re-read!

Related links:
-Diane Duane's official site
-Her weblog on Dreamwidth: http://dduane.dreamwidth.org/
-The AI book I mentioned: Artificial Intelligence - A philosophical introduction by Jack Copeland (review)
  mene | May 9, 2012 |
Bad guys who are actually just misguided (or guided from alternative principles), shiny imagery from imaginative new worlds, big battles involving mythical creatures, the fundamental importance of small units of meaning, new beings coming into full consciousness, science taken just a step beyond what it can actually support, timely (eventually dated) references, a battle for the world as we know it -- this book does not fall far from the typical Diane Duane fare. With virtual-reality-based Omnitopia Dawn, however, Duane stages her terrific worldbuilding in a virtual reality game in our own near future, exploring these themes in a way that somehow feels more real than ever before.

Me, well, I liked it. She's got some cool ideas in here -- like the idea of developing code using a three-dimensional interface more like Tinker Toys than text -- and though the book was recent-news derivative and sometimes seemed to be trying too hard to prove its bona fides in internet culture, it was definitely worth the time I invested in reading it. The book has some great worldbuilding and some very alive characters. I just wish Duane had done something with the plot other than yet another trite big epic fantasy battle and new-race-coming-into-existence. That theme is a bit overdone for my tastes, both in the literature generally and by Duane in particular. I'd love to see a story set in this universe that is as fresh and potentially real as the 'verse itself. ( )
  pammab | Nov 25, 2011 |
Oh, _fun_. I love it. The usual Duane themes of protecting life and making universes, in a very different context. VR taken to some very interesting extremes, and fascinating characters at all levels - Rik and Dev all the way down to the in-game characters who only have a couple lines. I believe there's a sequel out soonish - I'll be looking for it!
Reread in prep for the sequel - still love it, this time through I caught a lot of stuff I'd missed the first time. I suspect it will reward a third and a many-th reading as well. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Aug 30, 2011 |
Excellent new science fiction novel by one of my favorite authors. I didn't even know she had a new book out until I happened to see it in the store! I can't speak to how realistic the MMPORPG or hacking is, but the characters are fantastic and the story is intriguing. Although it reads as a stand-alone, it is the first in a trilogy and I eagerly await the upcoming books. ( )
  bluesalamanders | Nov 28, 2010 |
Omnitopia, a huge online role-playing game, is about to roll out a major expansion. But trouble is lurking in the wings. And there is an epic surprise lurking in the code. Told from the point of view of the founder, a player, a journalist, and a corporate rival, the story makes the appeal of MMPORGs come alive, even for this non-gamer. ( )
  readinggeek451 | Sep 21, 2010 |
Picture

I started this book with some trepidation. It isnt really sci-fi to a major extent (Im not even sure if it is classified as sci-fi, though sci-fi and fantasy are the only books I get from publishers), yes it takes place in the near future and yes it deals with advanced technology but it isn’t a far stretch from World of Warcraft and games of that ilk.

The story revolves around Omnitopia a massive only gaming universe that packs almost every imanginable world into on massive bundle. Its creator (Dev) is busy working with his company to unroll the newest expansion pack and Phil , his chief competitor (and former partner) is working on his own release while colluding with the a hacker group to weaken Omnitopia so Phil can slip in and gain controlling interest. The other main story arc consists of Rik, who is a player and was given a rare chance to create his own Microcosm inside of Omnitopias own universe.

This was a well written and very enjoyable book. It wasn’t too tech heavy and for the most part the advanced technology it dealt with wasn’t anything that a simi-literate computer user wouldn’t recognize (yes, that’s my classification). It’s a solid story with interesting characters and a fairly good plot.

8.5/10 ( )
1 vote WDBooks | Aug 8, 2010 |
Showing 9 of 9

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