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A Point of Honor
Dorothy J. Heydt
DAW Books, 320 pages

A review by Wayne MacLaurin

Virtual Reality has long been a favourite dream of fantasy and science-fiction fans. Anybody who watches cheezy SF flicks (TRON anybody?) or who is a computer game nut, can attest to the advances that have been made in computer graphics. Movies like Jurassic Park, Godzilla and even Forest Gump have been proving that reality and imagination are starting to become pretty tough to differentiate. Advances in computer games (take a look at the latest Voodoo II-based games) are starting to bring this sort of visual quality to the average person. In the not-too-distant future, computer games will be pretty tough to distinguish from real life (at least visually).

That's the starting premise for A Point of Honor. It is some time in the near future and VR games have become a mainstream entertainment medium. Mary Craven makes her living as Sir Mary de Courcy in a game called Chivalry. One day Mary defeats a mysterious opponent, the Grey Knight, and, as part of his ransom, wins a virtual manor. The fun starts as Mary discovers that the manor of St. Chad's-on-Wye is more than it seems.

A Point of Honor is a fast-paced mystery novel set against the backdrop of a VR world, but, unfortunately, Dorothy J. Heydt spends more time wandering through the various VR worlds that make up her version of cyberspace than she does on the mystery itself.

A Point of Honor is a pretty good novel and it did keep me reading. Heydt's style is particularly easy to read and she avoids unnecessary techo-babble. It might have been a great novel if more time had been spent developing the mystery and less time spent on VR adventures -- after all, it's hard to get overly worried about a VR character getting killed when the VR player simply wakes up and walks off.

Copyright © 1998 by Wayne MacLaurin

Wayne MacLaurin is a regular SF Site reviewer. More of his opinions are available on our Book Reviews pages.

A Point of Honor
Dorothy J. Heydt
Dorothy J. Heydt's previous novel was The Interior Life, written under the name "Katherine Blake". It was published by Baen.

Dorothy J. Heydt Website
ISFDB Bibliography

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