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The Demi-Monde: Winter: A Novel (The…
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The Demi-Monde: Winter: A Novel (The Demi-Monde Saga) (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Rod Rees (Author)

Series: Demi-Monde (1)

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The Demi-Monde, a computer-simulated military training world, begins bleeding into the real world when the U.S. president's daughter becomes trapped inside and enlists the assistance of a reluctant teenager to escape.
Member:Albert_911
Title:The Demi-Monde: Winter: A Novel (The Demi-Monde Saga)
Authors:Rod Rees (Author)
Info:William Morrow (2011), Edition: Reprint, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees (2011)

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Thank goodness that's over.

The Demi-Monde is a computer simulation modelled on real life and history (Matrix-style, full immersion), used for training purposes. As a starting premise, it's a minefield. When you want to condense the world into microcosm and rejig it, the question isn't whether it will be problematic, it's how and to what degree. Now, as rendered in the book, I found it appalling Euro-centric. There are five sectors, and three of them are Euro (Anglo, Russian/Slav, and Romantic) which leaves the other two being "Asian and stuff" and "African and Muslim and stuff", and these also being the two with skewed gender dynamics. Given that the purported objective of the simulation is to train US forces in low-intensity conflict scenarios - which usually do not occur in Europe - this seems a ridiculous set-up. (On the other hand, would setting it up in any other way provide dangerous options of "only the whites are good"? He avoids that problem neatly by having Nazis. Nazis are always as evil as it gets! No wuckers!)

But there were so many things about the way the simulation was set up that made little to no sense. The selection of historical personalities was occasionally interesting, but mostly just baffling. (What on earth was Aleister Crowley doing there? He deserves, in my mind, neither such praise nor such censure; I may have, in ranting about this, referred to him as the Paris Hilton of Victorian esoteria.) There are many detail flaws in the construction of the world - the locals don't bleed, but they bruise; trees can't grow except when we need them for military purposes; the language involves ongoing ridiculous references to things that don't and have never existed in the simulation.

Let's take a moment to fully appreciate the compound irritation offered in those ridiculous reference by the auThor's flagRant misUse of his Shift keY. YOU ARE NOT CLEVER, SONNY.

But the big problem of the book is in the lack of grace in its telling. It starts terribly slowly, "establishing" the simulation nature of things before plunging in (at which point things pick up considerably). I use the quotemarks because very little of actual substance is established about the simulation itself. We learn bugger all of the technical details, which enables the author to handwave such things as the fact that they can jack a character in, but seem unable to jack her out again (even in the Matrix, you could exit through the entry door), not to mention why programming can't solve the problem. IT'S A COMPUTER UNDER YOUR CONTROL.

Pacing and "but why?" continue to plague the story. Major changes in character direction occur over the space of twelve hours, huge action sequences are given the one-paragraph summary ("and then they took the barricade") and big character emotional points are crammed into the last few lines before the end of a chapter, occasionally feeling like they needed to fit it in so they didn't have to go over the page and interrupt the typeset. The writing itself has all the elevation of a kid lying across the coffee table pretending to be Superman, and the main character kept forgetting her reason for being there at all. Not to mention the author's abhorrent tendency to solve everything with her deus ex striptease; in fact, her skin seems to exert such a hypnotic tendency on everyone in the Demi-Monde that I assume if she was naked, she'd crash the server.

Conceptually, I feel like there's a lot of interesting going on here, but the execution is so cack-handed I couldn't recommend it to anyone. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
The Demi-Monde: Winter: Book I of the Demi-Monde Oh The Demi Monde: Winter, what do I say about you first? It's pretty obvious straight away that this is a very lengthy read. I'm a fan of Science Fiction and therefore I'm used to reading books that border on tomes. Still, I'm certain that many people are going to be scared off immediately by the hefty weight of this book. At 522 pages, this is definitely not a light read.
 
That being said, the book actually starts out very well. From the first page the reader is thrown into a skewed world that mirrors our own, but is infinitely more terrifying. Imagine a place where the worst villains the most reviled of historical figures, make their home. A land where racism and sexism run rampant. All created by the government to fit into a training simulation for soldiers. The most advanced simulation ever seen, with the power to think for itself. Sound scary? Ella Thomas thinks so too, and yet she's headed in.
 
Now the real problem I found with this book was that Rod Rees was too ambitious. I know this sounds odd, but he packs so many different tropes into this story that after a while it becomes difficult to follow. I loved Ella. I loved everything about her intelligent schemes and daring escapes. Honestly, if the book had just followed her I would have been just fine. However there are social classes to remember, slang terms for different races, city names, wars, dates, and endless amounts of other information. If I was wondering why this book was so long, I found my answer.
 
The fact is, there are a lot of great things in this book. Wonderful characters, twists and turns. It just all happened to be buried under a lot of information that felt like it didn't need to be there. I skimmed a lot of this story if I'm being honest. Fact is, the parts I read still made up a whole story that was amazing. So now you see why my rating is where it is. Kudos to Rod Rees for taking on such an ambitious project, but perhaps the next book should have a little less in the info-dump department so the page count goes down. ( )
  roses7184 | Feb 5, 2019 |
Super fucking fantastic. Cannot wait for the next one to come out. Damn living in America where I have to wait like 2 years for it. ( )
  faerychikk | Jan 5, 2016 |
Diese und weitere Rezensionen findet ihr auf meinem Blog Anima Libri - Buchseele

Ach je, das war ja mal so gar nicht mein Buch…

Die Demi-Monde sind eine Art Computersimulation, die zum militärischen Training entworfen wurde. Dass dabei irgendetwas schief gehen würde, war ja irgendwie klar und natürlich geschieht das dann auch prompt: Die Tochter des Präsidenten landet in Demi-Monde. Und da das ganze Projekt natürlich gehörig aus dem Ruder gelaufen ist, gibt es nur eine Person, die man in das Programm einschleusen kann: Eine Jazz-Sängerin.

Wieso, weshalb, warum? Tja, keine Ahnung… Leider hat sich bei mir alles quer gestellt, als es um die Leute in den Demi-Monden ging. Dass die nicht ganz dicht sein können, sind sie doch Teil einer Computersimulation und waren einst die größten Tyrannen der Erde, aber die Art wie Rees sie darstellt…

Das ganze wäre äußerst lächerlich gewesen, besonders mit den pseudo-wissenschaftlichen Zitaten zu Beginn jedes Kapitels, allerdings war der fahle Beigeschmack von Rassismus und Sexismus dann doch zu stark, sodass das ganze einfach nur nervig war.

Besonders wenn man die klischeehaften Charakterisierungen der restlichen Charaktere rund um Ella, die in meinen Augen ein unglaublich idiotischer Charakter ist, und die Handlung, die in mehrere Stränge unterteilt ist, von denen ich die meisten herzlich wenig sinnvoll fand.

Alles in allem ist das Buch in meinen Augen mehr oder wenig sinnlos, auch wenn die Idee mit der Simulation sehr interessant ist – wenn auch nicht neu -, ist die Umsetzung doch irgendwie ziemlich misslungen… Wie dem auch sei, dafür gibt es eindeutig keine Empfehlung. ( )
  FiliaLibri | Nov 10, 2015 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

"One more acronym and murder will be done."

To train soldiers for different high-stress combat scenarios, the U.S. military has developed a virtual reality game called The Demi-Monde. The game world is divided into different sections with boundaries like spokes on a wheel. These adjacent sections are overpopulated and made up of different mixtures of races and cultures that should clash and create wars. In addition, scientists have used the DNA of real historical people to create “Dupes” (duplicates) of actual historical tyrants and other bad guys to populate the Demi-Monde with the kinds of people who are likely to initiate conflicts. These dupes think they are real people and that the people who come in from the real world are “Daemons.” To make it as realistic as possible, when U.S. soldiers are in training in the Demi-Monde, their brains are completely immersed — they are not aware that they’re only playing a game. However, this leaves their consciousness separated from their bodies so that if they are killed in the game, they slip into a vegetative state in real life.

When Norma Williams, the U.S. President’s daughter, is kidnapped and held hostage in the Demi-Monde, the government must figure out how to rescue her. They hire Ella Thomas, a black jazz singer, to go into the game and bring Norma out.

The Demi-Monde: Winter has an entertaining premise and I’ve been looking forward to reading it since I heard about it more than a year ago. Unfortunately, I could not finish it. I worked on it for 6 weeks and I had to keep starting over. It was the only print book I was reading at the time and I dreaded picking it up — I just couldn’t get into it. One problem is that the writing is not engaging; it is merely utilitarian and, though it often attempts to be witty, it usually doesn’t succeed. The second problem is that there is a lot of information about the world dumped on the reader at the beginning, so the plot takes a long time to wind up.

The biggest problem, though, the one I couldn’t get past, was the outrageous beliefs of the Demi-Mondians and the way these are presented. All of their ideas (mostly radical racism and sexism) are ideas we’ve heard before, which makes sense because the people who tend to rise to the top in the Demi-Monde are the Earth’s former tyrants, but their beliefs are conveyed in such a ham-fisted manner that, lacking any subtlety, they become cartoonish. What makes them even more laughable (except that I wasn’t laughing, I was wincing) is the way they’re explained in scholarly quotes at the beginning of each chapter:

"HerEticalism is a Covenite religion based on female supremacy and the subjugation of men. Rabidly misandric in nature, the HerEtical belief is that Demi-Monde-wide peace and prosperity — an unfeasibly idyllic outcome given the tag “MostBien” — will only be realized when men (”nonfemmes” in Coven-speak) accept a subordinate position within society. HerEticalism has a more aggressive sister religion known as Suffer-O-Gettism (a contraction of Make-Men-Suffer-O-Gettism) which espouses violence as the only means of bringing change in the Demi-Monde. Suffer-O-Gettes are of the opinion that the removal of the male of the species from the breeding cycle is a vital concomitant to the securing of MostBien. Such are the unnatural and obscene sexual activities of HerEticals that they are lampooned throughout the Demi-Monde as “LessBiens.”"

These kinds of awful puns (and equally ridiculous acronyms) gallop unbridled through the entire novel. MALEvolent, HimPerialism, nanoBites, pawnography, PsyChick (a cute female who assists a psychic during his presentations), Terror Incognita, ThawsDay, UnFunDaMentalism, woeMen, neoFights... If you’re into masochism, you can read the official dictionary of Demi-Monde slang.

This nearly drove me insane. Despite its dull writing style, I was interested in the plot of The Demi-Monde: Winter, but it’s kind of hard to get through it when you’re rolling your eyes during every line of text and then have to keep finding your place again. I finally quit halfway through. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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The Demi-Monde, a computer-simulated military training world, begins bleeding into the real world when the U.S. president's daughter becomes trapped inside and enlists the assistance of a reluctant teenager to escape.

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The Demi-Monde is the most advanced computer simulation ever devised. Created to prepare soldiers for the nightmarish reality of urban warfare, it is a virtual world locked in eternal civil war. Its thirty million digital inhabitants are ruled by duplicates of some of history's cruellest tyrants: Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Holocaust; Beria, Stalin's arch executioner; Torquemada, the pitiless Inquisitor General; Robespierre, the face of the Reign of Terror. But something has gone badly wrong inside the Demi-Monde, and the US President's daughter has become trapped in this terrible world. It falls to eighteen-year-old Ella Thomas to rescue her, yet once Ella has entered the Demi-Monde she finds that everything is not as it seems, that its cyber-walls are struggling to contain the evil within and that the Real World is in more danger than anyone realises.
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