I recently read The Artificial Mirage by T. Warwick. The book takes you to a world that is different than the one we live in. The book begins with Charlie in Vietnam. His life has fallen apart, his company has dissolved, and Lauren, the woman he loves, has disappeared. And the worst thing is he is thrown in a Vietnamese jail. But in his world artificial reality is possible. So when he is released from the jail he spends the last of his money and leaves Vietnam for the Saudi Arabia. There he begins his search for the real Lauren. And the lack of money, along with his desire to find his love drive him into the underworld of Saudi Arabia.
This isn’t a book with a happy ending. But even though the book is about altered reality, it is all about reality. It’s about how individuals will go to any length to deny what is real in their life. Charlie is so set on recapturing the past he had with Lauren that he misses what is really going on in his life. Like so many individuals in life, he is so set on this artificial mirage that he stops caring that he is participating in some really risky behavior. The artificial world is a drug to him. And I’m sure it’s no mistake that the author decided that selling drugs and alcohol in Saudi Arabia would be the way that Charlie would make money. And deep down Charlie know this isn’t good for him.
I really enjoyed reading this book. So often with science fiction genre book, it seems as though the world they are set in is several hundred years away. But as you read the book, you realize this world could happen in the near future. We already live in a world where some individuals prefer to communicate through social media. Is it really that far of a jump where individuals would choose an artificial friend to spend time with in place of a relationship with a real person?
I also liked that the book was set in Saudi Arabia. The society in the book is very restrictive, and so it pushes individuals to retreating from reality. The prohibitions set by the government only encourage the characters in the book to pursue fantasy over the reality they live in.
Overall, this is a good book, and individuals who enjoying reading about what the future could be like will enjoy reading this book.