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Virtually True [Kindle Edition]

Adam L. Penenberg
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $10.99
Kindle Price: $5.97
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Book Description

Silver medal award winner, 2014 Independent Publisher Awards

"A literary thrill ride operated by complex and memorable characters . . . a plot worthy of Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, and Martin Cruz Smith."

The murder of a dear friend.

Conspiracy on a global scale.

A near-future, dystopic world run by corporations, where nothing is as it seems and everything is part of something else. Technology and everyday life are inseparable, and information is a weapon that can save your life--or kill you.

Exiled to a damp Southeast Asian "Republic," journalist True Ailey relentlessly searches the war-ravaged peninsula for the killers and the truth.

Virtually True, by award-winning journalist Adam Penenberg, is a non-stop 128 mph roller-coaster ride for the mind.

Now boarding.

Editorial Reviews


"Penenberg uses his encyclopedic knowledge of the weirdest frontiers of technology and marries it to his gifts for compulsive storytelling and high-energy prose to bring us one of the best novels of recent years. It will make you think long and hard about the mess we've made of our planet. Read it now, before the movie version comes to a theater near you." --Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist

From the Inside Flap

"In Virtually True Adam Penenberg brings his considerable experience as a tech reporter to create a near future world that is both utterly disturbing and entirely believable. This is a fantastic novel, completely absorbing and full of memorable characters and fascinating ideas."--David Liss, author of The Twelfth Enchantment and A Conspiracy of Paper

"Its hero may ply his craft many decades in the future, with a bomb-proof self-cleaning suit taking the place of a grubby trench coat, but his readiness to risk life, love and sanity to uncover the truth traces a clear path back to Woodward and Bernstein. Equal parts journalistic masterpiece and sci-fi masterclass, Virtually True refuses to let go until long after its earth-shattering finale."--Paul Carr, author of The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of Life Without Reservations

"In Virtually True, the imagination fires, the dialogue crackles. Adam Penenberg's deeply imaginative novel is a wild ride of techno-subterfuge rooted in the eternally human quest for identity, and justice."--Paige Williams, narrative writing instructor at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard

Product Details

  • File Size: 642 KB
  • Print Length: 334 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Wayzgoose Press (November 30, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,185 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matrix and thensome July 13, 2012
By Reader
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you like The Matrix, you'll love this. Adam Penenberg is a real life journalist writing about a fictional journalist- True Ailey, who is caught up in a strange world where you can't tell what's real and what isn't. Reality isn't pretty- poverty, disaster, murder, broken dreams. The virtual world is dangerous too, there are people that don't want True there and they don't care who they take down to get rid of him. In between, there's a lost love, the battle against addictions, and most of all- the unwavering search for the truth, no matter what the cost.

A roller-coaster ride that will keep you turning pages. The writing skillfully keeps you a little off-balance and that's exactly what brings you into True's off-balance world.

A great read!
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww October 21, 2012
By Daarn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I tried as hard as I could to get into this book but it took too long to get to the plot.... I am still not there and have put the book down and started another one. I dont expect the author to give away the whole story in the first few pages but give me something to maintain my interest.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gritty dystopian tale December 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Some writers rush you along to their tale's destination, and others create a lush tapestry of language that transcends mere storytelling. Virtually True is a novel by one such author. While my typical reading isn't in this genre, I think I would probably be more interested in broadening my horizons if I could be assured that most dystopian novels were similarly well-crafted. Rich, evocative descriptions coupled with multi-dimensional characters make the story at once atmospheric and well-paced. I had no expectations going in, but Virtually True was surprisingly satisfying. One thing I will say is that I never saw where the story was going, which is worth a lot to someone who tells stories for a living - I naturally second-guess what's going to happen next, and if an author can surprise me, he's earned my respect. Penenberg was able to pull that off, and that, combined with the always-interesting writing style, puts the book at four stars. Worth a look for fans of the genre.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good futuristic sci-fi October 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the story of True Ailie. He is recovering from a Virtual Reality addiction and in danger of losing his job as an ace reporter. Then a friend of his along with an eleven year old shanty orphan are killed with a futuristic bomb that tracks DNA to assure success. Now he must put together the pieces and find out why they were killed and how it ties in with an earthquake in Japan. Hampered by a corrupt police chief, it's not going to be as simple as it looks.

This was an interesting idea. Set within a dystopian future, the world has changed from how we know it. Some countries have gone and others have been created. True is interesting as the damaged hero, still lingering after his ex wife, recovering from a Virtual Reality addiction and trying to crack open a worldwide news scoop. This is a lesson on becoming too reliant and therefore ending up hooked on VR. In places it was confusing and the different strands were hard to keep up, but don't let that put you off as it all comes together rather nicely at the end and you will go 'Ohhh yeah!'. It is a little bit like 'Inception' in its approach and I rather liked that, it made it seem a little different to the books I normally read. This was a good techno thriller and I will be happy to read more of this genre and more from the author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-moving technothriller November 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
It took me a little bit to get into the style, but by the third chapter I was hooked. It's a complex plot, mixing virtual reality, globalization, technology, journalism, and even love and revenge, but it all ties together somehow. Lots of plot twists. Fantastic characters. I think I liked the bad guys best.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
How do we maintain our essential human connections in an age of hyper-connectedness? How do we keep ourselves grounded in reality when there are so many realities to choose from; one layered thinly on top of another in a perplexing veneer of "maybes?" What defines sanity in a world where avatar and self have become hopelessly interchangeable? How do we hold on to those genuine but intangible lifelines to our humanity; emotion, intimacy, community? And, having "evolved" this far, what is the inevitable next-step in hyper-connectedness? Cybernetic implants? Bionic mobile devices artfully merged into non-dominant hands on an outpatient basis by robotic plastic surgeons? Plug 'n' Play high-speed-ready optic prosthetics with built-in heads-up display? Synthetic interchangeable washboard abs? Computer-generated pheromones?

Adam Penenberg's "Virtually True" is a frenetic headlong rush through a colorful multi-verse of intrigue and illusion, hard-boiled noir and high-tech magical realism; squalid dystopian nightmare and lush cyber seduction; a cosmic data-storm of brilliant ideas and unforgettable imagery. The author portrays a future not so very far off; unnervingly close to present reality for much of the world; less prophetic vision than logical projection--and with what sweeping effortlessness he describes it;

". . .the wars that led to the establishment of Luzonia as an independent nation were a result of Mother Nature's wrath. She was tired of being battered by business, her resources robbed, her land raped, her bounty carted off as booty by the earth's only creature outfitted with a thumb.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A fun read! An adventure with interesting characters and lots of twists.
Published 8 months ago by Julie Tench
5.0 out of 5 stars Literally superb
This is a fascinating saga, filled with violence, intrigue, mind-rips, betrayal, longing, warfare, financial shenanigans, political games, corporate greed, software fantasies, jazz... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ruffnek
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it
I was not sure I would like this novel when I first started it. But I kept reading and got interested in the plot. Read more
Published 9 months ago by D. Zentgraf
2.0 out of 5 stars Blah!
Far too hard to tell what's virtual and what's not. Story jumps all over the place. Might work with visuals, but didn't work in print.
Published 14 months ago by Glenda Patterson
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my type
This writing style is not for me. There was a lot of description that
I didn't understand how to connect it to the story. Read more
Published 24 months ago by starlyt
4.0 out of 5 stars sci-fi adventure with interesting twists
I like sci-fi novels, and found this one interesting. However, I didn't LOVE it. The concept of virtual reality troubles me and the plot became somewhat difficult to follow... Read more
Published on May 23, 2013 by Mary J. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Success in a Third Genre
I first heard about Adam Penenberg as a journalist who shined the light of truth into dark areas (remember Stephen Glass). Read more
Published on March 18, 2013 by Adam Najberg
2.0 out of 5 stars Cliche and pretty boring
I tried to like this book, but it is pretty lame. the story is boring and drags along. there are so many cliches its hard to not laugh. Read more
Published on January 30, 2013 by ken nash
1.0 out of 5 stars Not to my taste
I found this book confusing and rushed. Very dark and not at all to my taste. Then again, others may find it great.
Published on January 29, 2013 by pwm
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my vote for outstanding fiction.
I found it difficult to stray with it. I didn't find that I could not wait to pick up the book and continue reading. I had to push myself to finish it.
Published on January 27, 2013 by Aquaman
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Adam L. Penenberg is a journalism professor at New York University who has written for Fast Company, Forbes, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Wired, Slate, Playboy, and the Economist. A former senior editor at Forbes and a reporter for, Penenberg garnered national attention in 1998 for unmasking serial fabricator Stephen Glass of the New Republic. Penenberg's story was a watershed for online investigative journalism and portrayed in the film Shattered Glass (Steve Zahn plays Penenberg).

Penenberg has published several books that have been optioned for film and serialized in the New York Times Magazine, Wired UK, and the Financial Times, and won a Deadline Club Award for feature reporting for his Fast Company story "Revenge of the Nerds," which looked at the future of movie-making. He has appeared on NBC's The Today Show as well as on CNN and all the major news networks, and has been quoted about media and technology in the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Wired News, Ad Age, Marketwatch, Politico, and many others.

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