Virtually Eliminated is the first book in Jefferson Scott's series of stories about virtual reality expert Ethan Hamilton. In the near in which Hamilton lives, virtual reality is a part of every day life, permeating education, communication, research, and entertainment. One clever killer even makes use of the technology to do the dirty work of murder. And he calls himself the "Patriot."
Hamilton is not at all happy with the Patriot's work, and he goes after him tirelessly. The novel is one big fast-paced chase through a world that might one day be — or at least a world that is something like the one that might one day be. As a possible future, it is fairly plausible, and pretty scary.
Scott's novel simultaneously demonstrates the positive possibilities and the inherent dangers of the technologies that are always developing in contemporary society. Written in 1996, the book seems to have been a bit ahead of its time, with some of the technologies still out there somewhere as possibilities for a future yet to come — though the "future" of the book has already passed us by (set in 2005). Some of the fears about technology overloads have proven to have been quite unfounded, such as the concern that phone lines would become so overloaded as to be hardly useful anymore. But others still lurk out there as shadows of things yet to come, and the pros and cons of these utried technologies remain as unknowns today.
Scott is a talented writer, and when he writes about the hi-tech world, he is obviously in his element. The plotting of his tale is pretty good, keeping the pages turning at a good pace. For any reader of sci-fi or thrillers, Scott is one author worth becoming acquainted with.
Reviewed by Shelly Bryant © 2010