Item description for Better than Real: Sensual Solutions for the Discerning Client by Lyan Thomas Huw...
Lee is an up-and-coming designer of seductive love dolls, until the day his sexiest creation yet goes murderously wrong. Sent to the crime scene to defuse a delicate situation, Lee finds that the rogue doll has been infiltrated by a mysterious, self-aware entity called Lilith who can't seem to make her mind up whether she's a silky-smooth seductress or a state-of-the-art assassination system. Within hours, Lee's encounter with Lilith has escalated into a life-or-death race with her creators, the shadowy and relentless Elect, and ultimately into a battle for the very stuff of his humanity - a battle in which his best hope of salvation turns out not to be human at all.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.8" Width: 5" Height: 0.7" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Jan 30, 2006
Publisher Velluminous Press
ISBN 1905605021 ISBN13 9781905605026
Reviews - What do customers think about Better than Real: Sensual Solutions for the Discerning Client?
Solid sci-fi thrill ride Sep 10, 2008
I'm a sucker for all books about sexy artificial intelligences, so I loved this one from beginning to end. Writing was just a tad rushed at times, but the characterizations are solid, and never gets boring.
Better Than The Sum Of Its Parts Apr 13, 2008
Lee is a "mindware" designer for the Zendyne Corporation. Mindware is what we would call AI. In particular, he designs the shallow personalities of love dolls; mindless androids who exist to please. That is, until one of them goes berserk and kills her owner. Lee is called to the scene to investigate. Instead of discovering a malfunctioning love doll, he makes an astonishing discovery: the doll is lucid, she's self-aware. And she's got a name: Lilith.
Not wanting Zendyne to get their hands on this advanced new AI, Lee downloads her into his "handeck", and convinces his employers that he's still trying to determine the cause of the malfunction. After managing to find a new doll body for the Lilith AI, Lee suddenly finds himself up against her rightful owners. In particular, a knife-wielding robot-eyed sociopath named Stranger (pronounced STRAIN GRRR). They flee, Lee and Lilith in a high-tech RV, and violence ensues.
I enjoyed this book. Even as I encountered passages that were silly, inane, ho-hum, wandering, and sometimes disgusting, after I finished reading Better Than Real, I immediately went online to find the sequel (there's not one).
The primary characters make the book enjoyable, despite its flaws. The author lets them spring to life on their own, instead of trying to contrive zany personalities for them. There are zany characters to be found, of course. If the book were a movie, Stranger would be played by Michael Ironside, who never has trouble going temporarily insane in front of the camera.
But the main three characters are what it's really all about. Lee, the techie who gets caught in the middle between a rogue military AI and a frightening corporation with high-tech Draconian policies literally turning its employees into drones. Lilith, who's too beautiful to be human, but too human to be an android. And Sooz, the sassy 20XX Ellie May, who dreams of escape and finds it.
I enjoyed spending time with them. So much so that I dragged out reading the last fifty pages for a week. Here's hoping for that sequel.
A fun read, but not without flaws Dec 23, 2007
Better Than Real by Huw Lyan Thomas presents a fast paced story in a coherent and believable near-future world with a great cast of characters, all of whom have at least one quality that makes them engaging or just plain cool. The story is a fast and fairly easy read. It's focused more on characters and plot than technical jargon and minute details. In other words, cyberpunk aficionados may find this book overly simplistic and may enjoy something like Looking Glass by James R. Strickland a lot more. But more casual cyberpunk readers may like this one.
The tale told is certainly not the most original tale, but a story does not need to be original to be enjoyable. I was reminded of some of my favorite anime, manga, comics, etc. as I was reading. The first chapter, for example, evoked thoughts of Elfen Lied in me and that's part of the reason I wanted to check this book out- because it evoked feelings of something else I liked.
The book is not without flaws, however. Sometimes the writing is a tad choppy. Sometimes events, albeit minor ones, just suddenly happen. This is one book that I felt could have benefited from smoother writing with more details. Of course, if you dislike copious details and just want to get to the good parts, check this book out. Even the first chapter starts off in the middle of the action and it was reading that first chapter on this site that made want to buy the book and find out what happens next.
Bottom line? If you are a more casual reader and don't mind sometimes choppy writing, this is a fun book to read over a holiday or weekend. If you want deeper, meatier, and more "tech-y" cyberpunk, there are better choices out there, such as James Strickland's Looking Glass. I enjoyed the book personally because I was looking for a more fun and relaxed read for the holidays.
But don't take my word for it. Go ahead and read the excerpt provided here at this site and decide for yourself if this is a book you'd like to read.
A wonderful read -- someone needs to make this a movie Jul 2, 2006
This is an absorbing work that I spent a day and a half reading cover to cover. It is written so smoothly and visually that when done you feel as though you have lived in this world (and don't want it to end, which was great because the way the ending is written, it is a complete work unto itself yet leaves the door open for a sequel.) Suspense-filled, with great and memorable characters. The author obviously knows a lot about current and future technology and renders this highly imagined world in a way that makes it scarily real for the reader, and the tone of the book is great throughout, you feel as though Lee is real and a friend and even the most brutal of characters are made human. (I am an attorney and when I have a "client" that means one thing to me but when Stranger, pronounced, Strang-er, has a "client" it means something shudderingly different.)
I greatly recommend this book. If there are any smart film makers out there, they ought to read it. I hope the author is working on a screenplay because this would seriously make a wonderful movie -- it has all the successful elements of box office hits like The Matrix-- it fill your senses, keeps you on the edge of your seat and transports you into another world while connecting you to the characters so that you truly enjoy the ride (and don't want it to end-- I hope the author will do that sequel.)
Nothing Like A Good Read Mar 25, 2006
I enjoyed this book very much. Thomas has a skill in bringing a world to life, then bringing the reader into that world. The technology is interesting and convincing and the story sets a fine pace. It is imaginative writing and good writing to boot. Highly recommended.