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Mountain of Black Glass (Otherland, Volume 3) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Otherland, the quartet of which Mountain of Black Glass is the powerful third part, combines some terrifying speculation on the future of virtual reality with adventures no less terrifying because they are technologized dreaming. These are dreams the adventurers cannot awaken from and in which, if they die, they are really dead.

An epidemic of comatose children has led Renie and her San friend !Xabbu into the net and to a series of dream worlds created as palaces by the corrupt aspiring immortals, the Grail Brotherhood. Two of those children, Orlando and Fredericks, have become adventurers in their own right, while their parents' lawyer Ramsey follows real-world money and lesbian cop Calliope tracks a serial killer with serious ambitions to become an angry god. In this volume, adventures take place in a mythic ancient Egypt and a rambling Gormenghastlike house before all the virtual adventurers meet where they were always destined to, before the walls of Troy.

"All around, death. It was not a quiet presence during the long day--not a pale-faced maiden bringing surcease from pain, not a skillful reaper with a scalpel-sharp blade.... Death on the Trojan plain was a crazed beast that roared and clawed and smashed, which was everywhere at once, and which in its unending fury showed that even armored men were terribly frail things."

Tad Williams takes the gameworld and turns it on its head, passionately; how do we know that what bleeds does not feel pain? He writes a classic of cyberspace adventure that has a sorrowful heart. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Trapped in the exotic virtual simulation known as Otherland, Paul Jonas, Orlando Gardner, and Renie Sulaweyo continue their separate explorations into the heart of the reality that surrounds them. As they confront puzzles and obstacles in re-creations of ancient Egypt and Homeric Greece, they come closer to the black glass mountain that may offer them the key to the mysterious Grail Brotherhood that controls the passages to and from Otherland. Synopses of the previous volumes (City of Golden Shadow; River of Blue Fire) of Williams's ambitious epic provide enough information for newcomers to the series, but the entire story is best read in sequence. Filled with complex plot threads, a wide variety of virtual and "real" characters and vivid descriptions of numerous worlds, this series belongs in most sf collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Otherland (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0886779065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0886779061
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Former singer, shoe-seller, radio show host, and inventor of interactive sci-fi television, Tad Williams is now a full-time writer. His 'Memory, Sorrow and Thorn' series established him as an internationally bestselling fantasy author. The series that followed, 'Otherland', is now a multi-million-dollar MMO launching in 2012 from dtp/realU/Gamigo. Tad is also the author of the fantasy series, the 'Shadowmarch' books; the stand-alone Faerie epic, 'The War of the Flowers'; two collections of short stories ('Rite' and 'A Stark and Wormy Knight'), the Shakespearian fantasy 'Caliban's Hour' and, with his partner & collaborator Deborah Beale, the childrens'/all-ages fantasy series, the 'Ordinary Farm' novels. Coming in September 2012 are the Bobby Dollar novels, fantasy thrillers set again the backdrop of the monstrously ancient cold war between Heaven and Hell: the first is 'The Dirty Streets of Heaven.'

Tad is also the author of 'Tailchaser's Song': his first novel spawned the subgenre of cats and fantasy that we see widely today. 'Tailchaser's Song' is currently in preproduction as an animated film from Animetropolis/IDA.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
MoBG is the third volume in the Otherland saga, and I actually enjoyed it even more than the first two books in this series. Williams combines his usual terrific writing skills with some fabulous visual images of different worlds taken from ancient folklore, such as Egypt and ancient Greece. I especially liked the fact that, while there are many more secrets to be revealed in the final volume of Otherland, some information is finally disclosed to the reader and there is a climax of sorts at the end of the volume. I actually enjoyed the ending immensely, though I can understand if others were mystified by it. Of course, Williams has a Herculean task with the fourth novel, Sea of Silver Light. I counted at least twelve developing subplots without answers yet, and so I'm hoping that Williams doesn't fail to provide a great finish to this powerful and exciting series, as so many other fantasy writers have failed to do in the past. Of course, it goes without mention that you must read the first two volumes in this series to understand this book. Ignore the Kirkus review above, unless you really have a problem with reading books over 400 pages. However, if you like detail, well-developed characters, and powerful visual images, then you must read this book. It's the best fantasy novel I've read in the last two years. Here's hoping that Williams finishes Otherland on the same roll!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By M. Rich on January 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
City of Golden Shadow, the first book in the series, set the stage and introduced us to the Otherland world, set sometime in our near future. In the second installment, River of Blue Fire, our various heroes found themselves spread out across the virtual realm of the Otherland virtual network. Now, in the third book, Williams has managed to up the ante, and things actually happen. I felt the first book was excellent as an introduction, but the second fell off as nothing of any real import seemed to occur. Now, in Mountain of Black Glass, Williams has paid off on the promise he made in Golden Shadow. The first two books are must-reads to understand this masterpiece, but the payoff is worth it. Williams' ability to create another world is unmatched, and his capacity to weave an ever-increasing number of storylines into a compelling and coherent narrative is startling. Well worth the read, though this lengthy series is not for the faint of heart or short of attention span.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert Gamble on January 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Well, I have been greatly enjoying this series and I don't mind the character development that people have mentioned as being a problem. I feel that the stories of the people themselves are as interesting as the main plot (though some might very well see this as a problem). The prose is good and the plot complex. In many ways it reminds me of Donaldson's 'Gap' series in the interweaving of characters with groups of power and attempting not to be crushed by them. However... Just as in the second book, Williams managed to irritate me somewhat. In the second, I was not pleased with the jarring attempt to keep people from guessing the identity of Dread when he controlled one of their party. In this novel, it seemed _very_ obvious to me that he extended the series by changing the previous ending (there were originally only going to be three novels) in one key element, therefore being able to continue. I do admit that it's preferable to the Robert Jordan method of continuing a series by adding more and more words and descriptions in less and less 'book time', but it was still jarring and seemed to cheapen some of the sacrifices made by characters. Still, I look forward to the final book in the series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. C. H. Bergh on September 28, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mountain of Black Glass is the third volume in Williams's "Otherland" tetralogy. The fourth and final volume, Sea of Silver Light, is scheduled to be published in hardcover at the beginning of next year (March 2001, UK date).
I read "Mountain" immediately after finishing George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords, and must admit I had some difficulty becoming interested again in Williams's parade of virtual worlds after Martin's gritty and intelligent tour de force.
Still, after only a few hundred pages - hmm, wonder why that sounds sarcastic? - I found myself enjoying "Mountain" quite a bit more than its prequel, River of Blue Fire.
The problem with "River" was as simple as it was devastating: there is no plot development to speak of and the entire book is simply one long, ineffectual succession of different virtual settings. In terms of narrative, it is, bluntly put, bad. But although this flaw has, in part, spilled over into "Mountain", this third instalment has one important redeeming feature: as the book progresses, the themes introduced by the first (and quite excellent) volume are taken up again and things start to move forward once more. If you are able to more or less forget "River" and can still manage to be convinced by Williams's creation, "Mountain" is rewarding. Not awesome, not masterful, but rewarding. And that's in spite of the extraordinary but quite incomprehensible ending.
Bottom line: if Williams's and Martin's next volumes were to be published more or less at the same time (fat chance!) I'd change the order of reading them around. First Williams, then Martin. That way, you go from good to very much better.
Bottomer line: Martin is writing his masterpiece. Williams is drafting.
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