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Subjectivity   By: (1940-)

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Subjectivity by Norman Spinrad is a mind-bending exploration of technology, identity, and the blurred lines between reality and virtuality. In this thought-provoking novel, Spinrad drags readers into a future where virtual reality is a sophisticated and pervasive part of everyday life.

The story follows a diverse cast of characters, each grappling with their own personal demons while navigating an ever-changing digital landscape. At the center of the narrative is Martin, an artist who stumbles upon an experimental software called Subjectivity. As he immerses himself in the digital universe created by this groundbreaking technology, Martin's sense of self begins to unravel.

Spinrad shines a searing light on the effects of technology on the human psyche, questioning the boundaries of consciousness and the nature of existence itself. He explores themes of identity, ego, and the search for meaning in an increasingly interconnected world. The author's sharp writing style and intricate world-building create an immersive experience for readers, making them question their own perceptions of reality.

One of the strengths of Subjectivity lies in its complex characters. Spinrad crafts flawed and relatable personalities, depicting their struggles with addiction, trauma, and the aftermath of personal tragedies. Through these characters, he invites readers to reflect on their own vulnerabilities and the extent to which technology can either exacerbate or alleviate them.

As the narrative progresses, Spinrad raises thought-provoking questions about the moral and ethical implications of technology, particularly in relation to the blurring boundaries between the virtual and the real. He delves into topics like privacy, consent, and the commodification of personal experiences, which are increasingly relevant in our digital age.

While Subjectivity is undeniably a profound and intellectually stimulating novel, it is not without its flaws. At times, Spinrad's narrative becomes overstuffed with philosophical musings, making it dense and challenging to follow. Additionally, some readers might find the constant shifting between various characters and narrative threads somewhat disorienting.

Nevertheless, Subjectivity stands as a unique and ambitious work that pushes the boundaries of speculative fiction. Spinrad's ability to meld cutting-edge concepts with deeply human concerns makes this novel an engrossing exploration of the human psyche in the face of technological advancement.

In conclusion, Subjectivity is a thought-provoking and complex novel that delves into the implications of virtual reality on identity and consciousness. Norman Spinrad's masterful storytelling and philosophical depth make this book a must-read for fans of speculative fiction and anyone interested in the future of technology's impact on society.

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Analog Science Fact & Fiction January 1964. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.


Boredom on a long, interstellar trip can be quite a problem ... but the entertainment technique the government dreamed up for this one was a leeetle too good...!


Illustrated by Leo Summers

Interplanetary flight having been perfected, the planets and moons of the Sol system having been colonized, Man turned his attention to the stars.

And ran into a stone wall.

After three decades of trying, scientists reluctantly concluded that a faster than light drive was an impossibility, at least within the realm of any known theory of the Universe. They gave up.

But a government does not give up so easily, especially a unified government which already controls the entire habitat of the human race. Most especially a psychologically and sociologically enlightened government which sees the handwriting on the wall, and has already noticed the first signs of racial claustrophobia an objectless sense of frustrated rage, increases in senseless crimes, proliferation of perversions and vices of every kind... Continue reading book >>

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