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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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The Sensory Deception Paperback – August 6, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Thoroughly gripping and quite smart, I found myself swept up in the story.” —Robert A. Burton, MD, author of A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind

“Writers get asked to provide cover quotes for a great many books. Most, sadly, are forgettable. Some, on the other hand, are quite good, and the rare few are exceptional. Rarer still are the ones that make your jaw drop. Ransom Stephen's The Sensory Deception is one of those very rare few. Smart but never pretentious or heady, exciting without being mere noise, The Sensory Deception provides an insider's look at the world of the mind, video games, and venture capital, all wrapped up in a seductive, breathtaking tale of all-too-human folly. Stephens’ characters are brilliant and real and fated to make sensational, dangerous errors, all on the path to realizing the larger truth of their real humanity. I wish I could back and read it all over again—right now.” —David Corbett, award-winning author of The Art of Character

“As with his debut, The God Patent, Ransom Stephens swings for the fences with The Sensory Deception—and he hits another home run, somehow managing to incorporate virtual reality, Somali pirates, the plight of sperm whales and the deforestation of the Amazon into a thrilling and unique story of romance and adventure.” —Robert Kroese, author of Mercury Rises

“Ransom Stephens amps up the tension with his realistic portrayal of virtual reality. A rollercoaster of a ride using the relationship between the senses and the mind, Stephens builds a story with unrelenting momentum.” —Robin Burcell, bestselling author of The Black List

The Sensory Deception has it all—page-turning action (in such far-flung locations as Somalia and the Amazon rainforest), the bleeding edges of immersive virtual-reality, the rarified world of Silicon Valley startups, eco-activists, Somali pirates, psychotropic substances, and more. Deception is impeccably researched, from the biology of whales, to the neurology of perception, to the socio-economics of modern-era pirates. The story starts at a galloping pace, and never lets up. Dr. Ransom Stephens, a physicist turned novelist, follows-up his previous The God Patent exploration of science and religion with a new science thriller that mines the depths of human consciousness, and the potentials of technology to lift our race to new evolutionary heights.” —Steven Meloan, author of The Shroud

"Ransom Stephens' imagination is limitless in his ability to lead the reader through scenarios across the globe...The Sensory Deception is a worthy read with fascinating concepts." —pressdemocrat.com

About the Author

Ransom Stephens is a former physics professor and fifth-generation Californian. After earning his PhD from the University of California–Santa Barbara, he conducted cutting-edge particle physics research and taught at the University of Texas at Arlington. He then moved into the high-tech arena, leaving academia to work for a wireless web start-up. Drawing on his scientific work, Stephens penned the techno-thriller The God Patent. He lives in Petaluma, California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 428 pages
  • Publisher: 47North (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611099196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611099195
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,915,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By OutlawPoet TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I had high hopes for The Sensory Deception. This type of mix of tech, science fiction, and action is usually irresistible to me.

Unfortunately, the idea was better than the execution.

The idea is fabulous - a technological advance that can almost literally put you in the mind and experiences of another species. Something that challenges your definition of humanity and what our role is on the planet. And the VR technology in the book is thrilling.

The problem is that the writing is less than thrilling. From wooden and unlikeable characters, to long sequences that seem to simply be excuses for the author to not-so-slyly offer his own opinions on business, finance and socio-political and environmental machinations, the book is full of mind-numbing exposition bracketed by oddly placed action sequences.

I found myself wishing that the author would pick a genre, any genre, and stick to it.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In the now changed product details, this novel was called an unabridged edition. It's in desperate need of abridging.

The description interested me--even though I prefer real reality to virtual reality, I thought the idea of putting people inside the life of another species had a lot of potential. I hoped the book would explore how that affected them individually and how society might be changed if humans became more aware and respectful of other life forms.

Unfortunately, that's not where the book goes. You get to sit through some of those business meetings you wished you could get out of in real life, there are long descriptions of processes, there's a detour into Somalian politics, and the kind of environmentalism which actually makes a difference is denounced.

I didn't like a single one of the characters in the book. Caricatures would be a better term.

As for the question the description claims the book is about -- What is a human life worth compared to that of an entire planet? -- it's not really explored intelligently, but apparently the book's ridiculous position is that a human life is worth more since the character who expresses the opposing view is turned into a psychotic killer (not a spoiler because he's shown that way in the book's first pages.)

The book is a natural disaster misleadingly promoted.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What happens when your sensory systems are overloaded, when your mind really doesn't have time to think, but rather feels and reacts?

In The Sensory Deception, you then see the world as non-human animals, like polar bears and sperm whales, without trying to analyze it. And you can "become", for a short time, the bear or whale.

And if you could become a bear or a whale, might you possibly revise your relationship to that animal, and to other environmental issues?

Add to this premise the world of venture capitalism, Somali pirates, ethnobotany, a father's love, and the "whale wars," and you will understand why this is a complex novel, with twists and turns abounding.

Unfortunately, the last few chapters require a continental leap and a perfect juxtaposition of events. I think the story should end with the clash of the scientists and the French waste disposal company, and the whalers and Moby Dick.

But... That's why I am a reviewer, not an editor!

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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The ideas behind this book are great, and I SO wanted to like it. Even the characters are interesting....but the actual execution is just plain confused.

The idea is that a trio has developed a new form of virtual reality that is highly convincing so much so that the users can actually believe that they are the animals around which the reality is constructed. The opening chapter starts with Gloria, the representative of a VC experiencing life as a polar bear.

Great! Love the story so far!

*warning, minor spoilers ahead, though I don't reveal the big "surprises"*

But then...it keeps trying to go off track. Two of the trio are Chopper and Farley and both are very eco-minded, convinced that animal experiences which teach people to care about the earth are the best use of the technology so they fight the idea of popular "Disney" or "superhero" aps for their tech. What they really want is to get a sperm whale. Their virtual reality is based on actual recorded data, so to do so they have to hook up sensors to a real whale and get the data, then create the virtual reality experience that way. Okay...so the book goes into elaborate detail about how they manage to make sonar accessible to humans in a way that doesn't sound convincing to me, but somehow makes it work. Besides that and the polar bear experience, they also have an eagle one, which if it worked, to me would be the most interesting (flight, anyone?) but that one isn't really discussed by the book at all.

And then, while getting the sperm whale one put together suddenly there is kidnapping by Somali pirates and a documentary about them. So the book goes off on that tangent. Then toxic waste dumping and evil corporations. Then, Chopper invents a mind altering drug.
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