|Point of Honor, A|
Dorothy J. Heydt
Date: 01 April, 1998 — Book
Fiction, Science Fiction
This was a surprise gem in a bunch of random books I was given at one point. "Sir Mary de Courcy" is the handle of a woman named Mary who makes a living competing on a virtual reality jousting circuit. After one bout, a defeated opponent gives up the title to a virtual manor in lieu of ransom (which equates to real dollars) and Mary's problems begin. There are three attempts on her life in two days and she is immediately interested in finding out why a collection of bits and bytes is worth killing someone over. She manages to hook up with one of the Lords of the Lists, the programmers who created Chivalry, the VR program in which she makes her living, and they attempt to find who owns the manor, and why.
VR is a great method of having a fantasy world and the real world combine without feeling clichéd, and the central issues of the VR problem deal with both intellectual property issues and real-world danger in terms of what systems are affected by the hack. One note for good or ill: every event in the book is connected, which means that pieces of the puzzle can be put together by an enterprising reader, but which also means that the characters have little depth beyond that in the events directly explained. It's a matter of taste whether you consider that a good or a bad thing.