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The Nirvana Effect

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“Fans of stories centered on the conflict between the virtual and the real will find plenty to enjoy.” — Publishers Weekly No one goes out anymore. Society is sheltered indoors. The economy is in ruins. People spend their lives addicted to a breakthrough virtual reality technology, desperate for escapism in a troubled world. The Nirvana Effect has taken over. Aaron and C “Fans of stories centered on the conflict between the virtual and the real will find plenty to enjoy.” — Publishers Weekly No one goes out anymore. Society is sheltered indoors. The economy is in ruins. People spend their lives addicted to a breakthrough virtual reality technology, desperate for escapism in a troubled world. The Nirvana Effect has taken over. Aaron and Clarissa are members of a subculture of realists who resist the lure of a fake utopia. They watch in horror as the technology spreads across the country with willing participants who easily forgo their freedoms for false pleasures. When the young couple discovers a plot to enforce compliance for mind control, the battle for free will begins. What started as a playful diversion turns deadly. The future of the human race is at stake. FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.


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“Fans of stories centered on the conflict between the virtual and the real will find plenty to enjoy.” — Publishers Weekly No one goes out anymore. Society is sheltered indoors. The economy is in ruins. People spend their lives addicted to a breakthrough virtual reality technology, desperate for escapism in a troubled world. The Nirvana Effect has taken over. Aaron and C “Fans of stories centered on the conflict between the virtual and the real will find plenty to enjoy.” — Publishers Weekly No one goes out anymore. Society is sheltered indoors. The economy is in ruins. People spend their lives addicted to a breakthrough virtual reality technology, desperate for escapism in a troubled world. The Nirvana Effect has taken over. Aaron and Clarissa are members of a subculture of realists who resist the lure of a fake utopia. They watch in horror as the technology spreads across the country with willing participants who easily forgo their freedoms for false pleasures. When the young couple discovers a plot to enforce compliance for mind control, the battle for free will begins. What started as a playful diversion turns deadly. The future of the human race is at stake. FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

44 review for The Nirvana Effect

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jannelies

    This book is worth a big audience; it is also very well suited to be made into a major movie. Let’s begin with two definitions. This story is set in the (near) future and involves new technology. So, it would fit within the definition of Science Fiction: “Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology.” Because, yes, there are some considerable changes in science and technology involved. The second de This book is worth a big audience; it is also very well suited to be made into a major movie. Let’s begin with two definitions. This story is set in the (near) future and involves new technology. So, it would fit within the definition of Science Fiction: “Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology.” Because, yes, there are some considerable changes in science and technology involved. The second definition that comes to mind is Dystopian: “Literature that explore social and political structures.” [See Wikipedia]. Spot on! The story is about a transition in just about all social and political structures. So what is it? It’s both. And that’s a frightening idea, frankly. It all starts with Aaron, who owns a small landscaping business. Once he was a happily married man but he lost his wife to ‘the chip’. After years of research, a company named Dynamica brought a chip on the market that you can have implanted in your body. To be precise: in your neck, with direct access to your brain. Presto! No need anymore to play games with a device in your hand. Put on special goggles, tap on the menu on your specially adapted device and play. You’ll feel the gun in your hand, you hear the screaming and you smell the blood – as those horrible shooting games are making up the bulk of ‘games’. But you can also download a happy mood – no need for anti-depressants any more. Or a suitable partner. Not for real of course but it will feel, smell and look real. Aaron’s wife is among one of the millions of people who are irrevocably addicted. So far, she put herself in an eternal loop of happiness and is now residing in a glass coffin in a special hospital. Aaron hates the chip and with good reason. He has now only one important client left for his landscape business, a very old and very rich man. They’ve become friends over the years, because they both hate what society has become: nothing. Most people are not working anymore. They sit or lie around, lost in their own world, and live on state welfare and special energy bars. Shops are closed, nobody is taking holidays any more and nothing gets done. Then we have Marc. Marc is a high-ranking employee at Dynamica. For the past ten years, his job was to write texts and other forms of a advertising to praise the Dynamica products. One day, he is called to a meeting where the CEO informs the somewhat startled staff that they are going to work together with the government. Having a chip implanted will be mandatory. Yes, all for the good of the people! And yes, it’s just such a coincidence that with the whole population chipped, they can not only follow everybody, but they can also control people. ‘By sending a ‘stop’ signal to a criminal’, is one of the examples. America will be one big happy and important family again. Marc doesn’t trust this plan and he talks about it with a friend and colleague. This man supplies him with a very important device: a jammer. He stole the thing and gives it to Marc because he is not happy with the developments too, but he has a wife and children so he feels he cannot do anything. It isn’t for long that Aaron and Marc meet. In the meantime Aaron met Clarissa, who is also not chipped, and they decide to go and try and find a better life. In fact, with the help of Aaron’s last client, they decide to join the resistance. What’s so creepy about this book is the fact that Dystopian and Science Fiction are so very close. Not much readers will have difficulties imagining the society that Pinkerton is describing here. Let alone the political implications. It’s a frightening story because it is very, very close. It’s also – as a good story should be – a story of resilience and hope. During their adventures Aaron, Clarissa and Marc have to adapt to the circumstances, and they meet a lot of people. Good people and bad people of course. The book is very well written, with excellent characterization and dialogs. There is some humour and romance too which makes the story feel even more real. This is not the first, nor the only book I read with the idea of people getting addicted to ‘fun and games’ piped directly into their brain, but it is an excellent elaboration of it. I’m happy the author posted the announcement of the publication of this book here on Goodreads and I’m even more happy I was approved by Netgalley for a review copy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I didn't hate this book, but I didn't love it either. The author can write a decent sentence, and his characters come across as somewhat plausible, but despite spending pages and pages on Aaron's personal habits and views, I still didn't feel him as a "person'. Clarissa, Marc, Madison Reddick . and all of Aaron's roommates - were caricatures as opposed to relatable humans whose world I coul My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I didn't hate this book, but I didn't love it either. The author can write a decent sentence, and his characters come across as somewhat plausible, but despite spending pages and pages on Aaron's personal habits and views, I still didn't feel him as a "person'. Clarissa, Marc, Madison Reddick . and all of Aaron's roommates - were caricatures as opposed to relatable humans whose world I could happily lose myself in. The world building could use some work as well. There was too much telling and not enough showing - there were too many interior monologues and not enough dialogue. The battle scene in the last third of the novel woke me up from my lethargic reading, but then things went back to telling and not showing, and I started to disconnect from the action and the characters again. I heard the book's message loud and clear. Disconnect from technology and LIVE LIFE. Aaron and Clarissa went off the grid, which is just another extreme reaction to technology. I am not overly fond of my cell phone, but it comes in handy when I have to call CAA. Moderation is the word we are looking for here, people. I read this ARC on an ereader. I own at least two tablets because unfortunately the battery doesn't last forever and I am a serial reader! And hey: ereaders help save trees, and I am all for that!. I'm rating this one a 3.5 out of 5: it was well written and I give points for that, but this book didn't convince me to go off the grid like Aaron and Clarissa!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    What if virtual reality was the ONLY reality allowed by the government? This is the question that Pinkerton poses about life in the near future where everyone is forced to have a chip implanted in their brains so they can upload millions of amazing apps that allow you to exist in hedonistic pleasure. Fortunately, Aaron and Marc--two men who realize the dangers of this mind-control embark on a journey to combat this epidemic of terrorism. What follows is an odyssey Huck Finn could never have envi What if virtual reality was the ONLY reality allowed by the government? This is the question that Pinkerton poses about life in the near future where everyone is forced to have a chip implanted in their brains so they can upload millions of amazing apps that allow you to exist in hedonistic pleasure. Fortunately, Aaron and Marc--two men who realize the dangers of this mind-control embark on a journey to combat this epidemic of terrorism. What follows is an odyssey Huck Finn could never have envisioned. Are we destined to let technology control us and allow government to make all of our decisions? Read this and recognize Pinkerton as an author who has an amazing insight into the future. This is one of the most prescient novels I have read since teaching Brave New World to AP seniors! Thanks to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for this ARC!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sherron

    In a USA similar to today’s, virtual reality enables users to escape into nirvana,. As people become addicted, they also neglect the physical world (jobs, pets, bathing, thinking). The government—seeing the benefits of a docile citizenry (reminiscent to those in Heinlein’s Puppet Masters)—makes it mandatory. You don’t want to comply? Well, opting out is tricky: evaders get shot on sight or imprisoned; and removing the hardware is likely to kill you. The main characters, a couple of Los Angelenos, In a USA similar to today’s, virtual reality enables users to escape into nirvana,. As people become addicted, they also neglect the physical world (jobs, pets, bathing, thinking). The government—seeing the benefits of a docile citizenry (reminiscent to those in Heinlein’s Puppet Masters)—makes it mandatory. You don’t want to comply? Well, opting out is tricky: evaders get shot on sight or imprisoned; and removing the hardware is likely to kill you. The main characters, a couple of Los Angelenos, are a lawn boy with a Ford F350 pickup and a shop girl with an orange Dodge Charger; we do meet additional characters, but don’t get too attached—the government hunting them is fast, ruthless, and inescapable. I liked both characters, but I especially loved the shop girl. Aaron is no larger-than-life hero. He’s not trying to change the world through xeriscaping, by conserving water, or worrying about fertilizer runoff. He’s just an average responsible dude who takes care of his clients’ landscaping needs. He is tired of seeing all of those closest to him going down the VR drain. He is just trying to keep going despite of it all. He meets Clarissa. She is tough, pragmatic, and strong willed. She is Bad Ass. Together they make a good team. The plot unfolds as you’d expect, and the ultimate solution is logical and fitting. I’m new to this author, but I can see from his clear prose that he’s a solid genre writer, and I’ll stay tuned for more books by him. Thank you NetGalley!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

    THE NIRVANA EFFECT brings a clear eye to timely issues that society, culture, government, and individuals will need to grapple with intelligently in the near future. With the current conspiracy theories proclaiming vaccines and "chipping," this novel's presentation of issues is especially pertinent. As Society as a whole succumbs to addiction to an implanted chip which brings any sensation so vividly that real life pales by comparison (this is internal, and so beyond virtual reality), much of th THE NIRVANA EFFECT brings a clear eye to timely issues that society, culture, government, and individuals will need to grapple with intelligently in the near future. With the current conspiracy theories proclaiming vaccines and "chipping," this novel's presentation of issues is especially pertinent. As Society as a whole succumbs to addiction to an implanted chip which brings any sensation so vividly that real life pales by comparison (this is internal, and so beyond virtual reality), much of the global populace never surfaces from their fugue states. Then the U.S. Government issues an implacable decree: no longer will acquiring the chip be a matter of individual preference. Soon it will be a requirement of citizenship....Or Else.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Grace (Fully Booked)

    Set in the "near future" this story focuses on where our society seems to be heading. Everyone is constantly staring into their cell phone screens and people have lost the ability to interact with each other on a daily basis, there seem to be few that know how to unplug and enjoy their surroundings. In The Nirvana Effect, this is taken a step further. The majority of people have opted to be 'chipped.' This is a virtual reality technology that allows people to live their every fantasy and desire Set in the "near future" this story focuses on where our society seems to be heading. Everyone is constantly staring into their cell phone screens and people have lost the ability to interact with each other on a daily basis, there seem to be few that know how to unplug and enjoy their surroundings. In The Nirvana Effect, this is taken a step further. The majority of people have opted to be 'chipped.' This is a virtual reality technology that allows people to live their every fantasy and desire out, within their own head and in complete isolation from others. Then the government steps in taking it even further. The chip is mandatory and they will regulate certain downloads, for the "Good of the people." Any one who continues to opt-out of the chip is now considered non compliant and a criminal. This story is told mainly from two POV's. The main character's stories are well developed and I especially enjoyed Marc's narrative. Marc, formerly the chief marketing officer at Dynamica, the developing company of the chip technology, abruptly leaves the company and becomes public enemy number one, after the announcement of the government's intention to become involved. Thank you to Flame Tree Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this exciting e-ARC.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rowena Andrews

    The Nirvana Effect is an interesting read and at parts chills-inducing. It’s always interesting to read sci-fi that’s set in the near rather than the distant future because this is something much closer to our experience and yet beyond. In this book, it is especially chilling, because it is easy to see elements of the world around us today being carried forward and pushed to the extreme. Perhaps, it is because of the last year, where technology has been a major source of entertainment and commu The Nirvana Effect is an interesting read and at parts chills-inducing. It’s always interesting to read sci-fi that’s set in the near rather than the distant future because this is something much closer to our experience and yet beyond. In this book, it is especially chilling, because it is easy to see elements of the world around us today being carried forward and pushed to the extreme. Perhaps, it is because of the last year, where technology has been a major source of entertainment and communication, while we have been less able to experience the ‘real world’ as we’re used to that this hits harder than it might have pre-2020. However, it is taken further here, and it is an interesting pairing of dystopian literature and sci-fi, that does raise many relevant if troubling. The worldbuilding was interesting, grounded in the familiar as there was still elements of the world we know alongside the developing technology and the impact that it has had on individuals and society as a whole, and I think that familiarity not only heightens the sheer possibility of the events that unfold but it also allows us as the reader to turn our attention to the sci-fi elements. The idea of a chip being implanted into the human mind isn’t new, and it’s always interesting to see the different limits, uses and systems around that technology. There were two things I particularly liked about Pinkerton’s approach to this technology. First, was the idea of people becoming addicted to the technology and the alternate reality it provided, even to the point of choosing to completely abandon the real world – essentially dying to exist in that virtual world. And then, the driving point of the book – about how this technology could be used by those in power. Here the chips are made compulsory, and that leads to questions of free will, mind control and many other questions. The idea that someone could just ‘stop’ you from doing something, is terrifying, and even the idea that it could be used for good such as to stop criminals doesn’t stop that feeling. After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It did feel as though there was a leaning towards a message of ‘avoid technology’, with the idea of going off the grid and joining the resistance, but it didn’t overwhelm the story being told, and The Nirvana Effect is certainly thought-provoking. The writing was smooth, and it was well-paced, and in amongst the sci-fi and dystopian elements, the author took moments to focus on the human element, with humour and romance and communication. I do have to say though that I struggled a little with the characters. Not with their voices, as Pinkerton does an excellent job of giving the main characters distinct voices and experiences, and Aaron and Clarissa make a good team, but I didn’t find myself quite as invested in them as I wanted to be. Marc, I found a little easier to connect with, perhaps because it felt as though he had more at stake? I will say though, that I found the characters very believable, the dialogue was well-written, and it did feel realistic as we followed their journey and their development and adaptation to the circumstances. Throughout the book, we encounter many people on both sides of the divide, and it was interesting to see the variety of people living in this world and finding ways to deal with the situation. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and it has certainly left me with many thoughts.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    I do love a good dystopian story that has a certain amount of believability to it, or one that you can understand how things get to the point they do. The Nirvana Effect is a book that has that certain amount of believability to it and it is one that had me hooked. This is based on the idea that people can chill out and experience a calm and tranquil state. They can experience new adventures and take part in activities or travel the world without ever leaving their sofa. Sounds ok, I mean we alr I do love a good dystopian story that has a certain amount of believability to it, or one that you can understand how things get to the point they do. The Nirvana Effect is a book that has that certain amount of believability to it and it is one that had me hooked. This is based on the idea that people can chill out and experience a calm and tranquil state. They can experience new adventures and take part in activities or travel the world without ever leaving their sofa. Sounds ok, I mean we already have VR devices, we use mobile devices and computers to escape from everyday life. Video games are played around the world, movies are watched, books are read and often on a small screen. So is it such a far fetched idea that at some point there could be a chip implanted so that these feeds are automatically sent into a chip inserted into your body! I like how the author has taken the basis of having various different subscription feeds sent directly to your brain. He has then rather cleverly expanded on this theme so that he draws the reader into a state where everyday life is harder to deal with and the escape is into a virtual reality that can become more real than real life. He then goes further as he introduces theories from those who are against the chip, as well as from the corporation, management and business. Government and politics are also brought in and these various angles give two clear sides showing a for and against balance. The characters in the story are from a range of backgrounds and this gives another set of viewpoints to consider. Technology is everywhere in our modern society and this is the next step up to the "Big Brother" style regime. The key characters have their part to play in how and why they are avoiding the chip implants, or why they see dangers ahead in how the chips could be used. I really adored this story, it has been well thought out and not over the top with tech terminology making it very accessible for a lot of readers. It is a story that I found gripping and it has a certain amount of suspense and tension in it. A good amount of conspiracy always goes down well in this sort of story. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this and would definitely recommend it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anj✨

    Nirvana Effect was better than I thought it would be. Set in a dystopian world where people are obsessed with technology and virtual reality, the government uses this to its full advantage and a small group of people is fighting for their lives and humanity. This novel has an original and cool concept. It deals with timely issues where technology reigns in the near future. The events in the books felt realistic and unsettling as this was set a few years from now and how people are so fixated with Nirvana Effect was better than I thought it would be. Set in a dystopian world where people are obsessed with technology and virtual reality, the government uses this to its full advantage and a small group of people is fighting for their lives and humanity. This novel has an original and cool concept. It deals with timely issues where technology reigns in the near future. The events in the books felt realistic and unsettling as this was set a few years from now and how people are so fixated with technology. Nirvana Effect is well-written, action-packed, full of plot twists, and a hint of romance. I actually almost DNF this book but decided to linger for a few more pages. Some dialogues and pacing were a bit choppy. Some parts were a bit redundant and I can’t connect with some characters. Overall, Brian Pinkerton is a promising author of this genre. Would watch out for more of his works. This was a good and chilling read. I would recommend this to those who like dystopian or sci-fi. Thank you, Brian Pinkerton, Flame Tree Press, and Netgalley for the e-ARC of Nirvana Effect. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Tucker

    Pinkertons version of the world has the majority of the world addicted to VR experiences through a chip implanted in their heads. They spend their days as wastoids who are only interested in the next virtual high and totally ignoring the real world. Only a few holdouts are still engaged with reality and determined to not lose sight of whats real. It gets so bad that Starbucks goes out of business. Then the government gets involved and things go from bad to worse. This was a great romp, exploring w Pinkertons version of the world has the majority of the world addicted to VR experiences through a chip implanted in their heads. They spend their days as wastoids who are only interested in the next virtual high and totally ignoring the real world. Only a few holdouts are still engaged with reality and determined to not lose sight of whats real. It gets so bad that Starbucks goes out of business. Then the government gets involved and things go from bad to worse. This was a great romp, exploring what things would be like if tech addiction ran rampant. Pinkertons smooth writing and signature humor made for a fun escape - and made me appreciate interacting with the real world that much more.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bookgrrl

    4.5 stars A breakthrough in virtual reality technology leaves the economy and society in shambles. Many people are virtually prisoners in their own minds, staying indoors all day every day in order to plug in and escape. When the government gets involved and decides that use of this technology is no longer an option, but a requirement, Aaron and Clarissa become members of the resistance movement along with a handful of other people. How long can they evade capture, and how long can the human race 4.5 stars A breakthrough in virtual reality technology leaves the economy and society in shambles. Many people are virtually prisoners in their own minds, staying indoors all day every day in order to plug in and escape. When the government gets involved and decides that use of this technology is no longer an option, but a requirement, Aaron and Clarissa become members of the resistance movement along with a handful of other people. How long can they evade capture, and how long can the human race survive? So I love dystopian novels, but I prefer when they take place hundreds of years in the future. The events in this book take place just a few years in the future, and that makes it way too realistic and terrifying. This book scared the absolute crap out of me. We are already almost addicted to our technology. How many of us are on our phones and tablets all day long? How many of us play video games for hours on end? How many of us order everything you could want online and have it delivered straight to your home? Especially this year, who wouldn’t want to escape reality? But the possibility of addiction is so real, and so great. If you want to give yourself the heebie-jeebies and read about a world way too similar to our own, read this book! Thank you to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for this advanced reader copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Konet

    This was much better than I thought it was going to be and far too realistic because it takes place only a few years into the future. This is a dystopian novel at its finest. The world has become from obsessed with technology and virtual reality in particular because there is no more economy. The government that is left uses this obsession to their advantage. There is a small group of people with the main characters being Clarissa and Aaron fighting for their lives and for humanity. People obsess This was much better than I thought it was going to be and far too realistic because it takes place only a few years into the future. This is a dystopian novel at its finest. The world has become from obsessed with technology and virtual reality in particular because there is no more economy. The government that is left uses this obsession to their advantage. There is a small group of people with the main characters being Clarissa and Aaron fighting for their lives and for humanity. People obsessed with technology and games to the point it takes over their lives? Scary AF concept and something that could happen, hopefully not in my lifetime; but much to ponder. The concept of this book scared the bejesus out of me! Recommended to anyone who is glued to technology and enjoys a dystopian thriller. Thanks to Netgalley, Brian Pinkerton and Flame Trees Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Available: 4/20/21

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dave Milbrandt

    I received a copy of this book for an honest review of its merits. The notion of a world where everybody is plugged in and not socializing with others feels very relevant in today's socially distant world. I liked the parallel storyline and the tension played out well throughout the story. I received a copy of this book for an honest review of its merits. The notion of a world where everybody is plugged in and not socializing with others feels very relevant in today's socially distant world. I liked the parallel storyline and the tension played out well throughout the story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ollie Bowdoin

    I fell into this book quick, and was absorbed right away. You should get a copy……I almost left my review there.. But I’ll be generous, and add more details. This book deserves my insights and reactions. I hope to offer some of my thoughts with a minimum of my own natural annoying tendency to be funny along the way. My wife would say your all lucky to not be exposed to my horrible jokes. Quick sidenote, The synopsis does a great job painting the overall storyline, so I’ll focus on some of my react I fell into this book quick, and was absorbed right away. You should get a copy……I almost left my review there.. But I’ll be generous, and add more details. This book deserves my insights and reactions. I hope to offer some of my thoughts with a minimum of my own natural annoying tendency to be funny along the way. My wife would say your all lucky to not be exposed to my horrible jokes. Quick sidenote, The synopsis does a great job painting the overall storyline, so I’ll focus on some of my reactions and thought as to how it equalled a great read and kept my imagination in its happy place. The decision to join a book tour is always tough for me. I hate to not meet someone else’s expectations, or worse, fall short of any agreed on obligations. I have to have a strong feeling that the book will be something I will not just enjoying, but get something out of. More so when the book is a little outside my “go to” genre of space opera and the weirder/darker side of fantasy. Which leads me to say, I took a chance and gambled with The Nirvana Effect. But in the end, I was fully rewarded. The central concept the story is based around, deals with that often joked about but never really put into a “now” perspective – that our next technological step would be the mass acceptance of a physical connection to information systems and entertainment platforms. More easily put: We’re jacked in directly to our computers.. The reason this book is so successful at making an emotional connection is at the very least twofold. The setting feels like it could be now, and then we have main characters that I felt emotionally connected with although coming from wholly different backgrounds. The terrifying step that creates a ton of tension and an enthralling series of events (once I was comfortable with a crumbling society resulting from the majority of Americans being plugged in and avoiding all of today’s responsibilities) is when the technology becomes forced by law. Even worse, most people see it as a good thing. I should do a part 2 just to discuss the amazing job Brian does of incorporating addiction and the ugly side of its effects on a person. I’ll pin that for today though. I loved the main characters genuine appreciation for the real world and what they have to go through to keep that experience. What really gave me chills was that the majority have accepted this artificial reality as the real world and as one character stated while momentarily not “jacked in” that he was only visiting the physical world. How that could be a possible future that I, as a reader, could believe possible is a testament to the skilled writing. The first 75 pages absolutely flew by and by then, my rear view mirrors, if I had them, would’ve been useless, as the events were a Rollercoaster of emotions. Filled with believable but far enough on the horizon, that It wasn’t completely destroying my hope for the near future of America, and the world. It has a lot to offer readers who deal closely with tech for work or entertainment and hope you’re able to give it a read in the near future. 4 solid stars.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    Wow, this had me gripped from the start. It had such an interesting precis, I was immediately hooked to see just where the story would go. Advances in technology have good and bad sides. We all disappear into our devices and are often removed from reality more than we perhaps should be. What The Nirvana Effect examines is the just how far we might go with it. Of course we all have moments where we wish we could escape and get away from it all, and in this future created by Brian, we don’t even h Wow, this had me gripped from the start. It had such an interesting precis, I was immediately hooked to see just where the story would go. Advances in technology have good and bad sides. We all disappear into our devices and are often removed from reality more than we perhaps should be. What The Nirvana Effect examines is the just how far we might go with it. Of course we all have moments where we wish we could escape and get away from it all, and in this future created by Brian, we don’t even have to leave the comfort of homes. We simply download what we’re after and our brain is whisked away. People no longer care for reality, choosing instead to disappear into their minds. Life is lived through the chip inserted in the base of their skull. There are those who resist the chip, wanting instead to experience real life, good and bad. Holding on to real experiences. Embracing reality – what’s left of it. Now imagine living in a world where it was compulsory to have that chip installed? The government bring in a legislation that every adult and child would be fitted with a chip. Imagine your new born child, instead of the heel prick check, well they’d be fitted with a chip. Constantly traceable from birth. The benefits would make it worth while, or so they tell you. You would automatically receive free chipfeeds to make you feel happy, calm etc. and the potential to subscribe to many more virtual reality experiences to live your very best life – virtually. You can literally be anyone you want and experience anything you want. When the chip was first released people where cautious, now many can’t have it fitted quickly enough. Habit soon turns to addiction. Yet at the heart of this small electronic device lies the ability to control your mind – and that is an incredible power to hold. I found this story fascinating. Over a very short period of time humankind has explored the massive potential of technology. It continues to evolve at a staggering rate. The last 18 months have been especially telling as many of us manage to live and work without even having to leave our homes. Equally, the idea of brainwave control and manipulation is not new – The Matrix springs to mind – but this is the first time I have come across a story that doesn’t seem fantastical. When you look at human nature today, you can see this reality waiting there in the shadows. Big Brother is watching and in The Nirvana Effect he wants even more, he wants to own our minds too. Science Fiction or an all too realistic vision of the future. You decide.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kath

    Well... the government forcing people to do things... whoda thunk it... although it's not so diverse from the truth of the reality of today with all the legislation swiftly passed to control the people/pandemic... but really, don't get me started on that one - what I think I am trying to say is that I love a book where science fiction could really become science fact in the not so distant future - makes it a tad more edgy and close to home and, if I may, a smidge on the scary side of things. Any Well... the government forcing people to do things... whoda thunk it... although it's not so diverse from the truth of the reality of today with all the legislation swiftly passed to control the people/pandemic... but really, don't get me started on that one - what I think I am trying to say is that I love a book where science fiction could really become science fact in the not so distant future - makes it a tad more edgy and close to home and, if I may, a smidge on the scary side of things. Anyhoo... The forcing thing is a chip implant so that the government can upload apps and stuff directly into your brain to control/entertain/pleasure/educate etc etc... Imagine uploading a book instead of actually reading it - the stuff of nightmares - for me anyway! Imagine also being able to wipe out crime as people are constantly tracked. Track and Trace anyone?! But imagine also losing privacy bigtime. It started as a simple escape from the mundane world - a bit of VR - but then people started getting addicted cos VR was better than reality - well, who knew? And they started to neglect their real lives... a bit of a spiral. So it wasn't too much of a leap for the government to piggy back / bandwagon onto this for total control... But, as with most things of this ilk, there are resistors, protesters and this story is basically about them. And how they try to resist but at the same time also plot to bring all these shenanigans to an end. And it's a cracking read. Addictive and, as already mentioned, a bit scary. It's a book that hit the ground running for me, sucked me in throughout, spitting me out at the end wholly satisfied. And actually also feeling quite rebellious myself... Now is probably THE best time to read this book as it just feels so close to current reality, and that makes it all the more exciting. It's thrilling, it's emotional, there's even a spot of romance to be found within the pages. But it's also shocking and contains a rather eclectic mix of characters all of whom play their parts very well indeed. I do love a book when we get a hotch potch of very different characters all come together to fight for the same cause... Oh and there are also some quite funny bits too! All in all a cracking read that I have no hesitation in recommending for fans of the genre. Oh and when you have finished this book you may want to go back and read The Gemini Experiment, also by this author which was blooming good too. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lexi Denee

    **Thank you to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for an ARC of this title in exchange for honest feedback** Virtual reality, ultra controlling government, and a collapsing society? Sign me up. This book touched on a lot of my major fears for the direction the world is heading in and really hit home for me. Aaron, one of the main characters in The Nirvana Effect, is anti-chip and refuses to have the sensational virtual reality chip installed in his body. The story follows him as he describes the world **Thank you to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for an ARC of this title in exchange for honest feedback** Virtual reality, ultra controlling government, and a collapsing society? Sign me up. This book touched on a lot of my major fears for the direction the world is heading in and really hit home for me. Aaron, one of the main characters in The Nirvana Effect, is anti-chip and refuses to have the sensational virtual reality chip installed in his body. The story follows him as he describes the world around him and the impact that chip technology has had on his fellow humans. The world is in SHAMBLES as more and more people elect to spend the vast majority of their time in the chip world rather than the real world. Once Dynamica (manufacturers of the chip) receives a government contract, and talks of mandatory chipping come in to play, all hell breaks loose. The book is broken into three parts, following three primary characters (Aaron, Clarissa, and Mark.) Part one had a lot of redundancies for me, (I GET IT, people are addicted to the chip...) and did not have me very invested in the book or the characters. I’m glad I stuck it out though as Parts two and three really ramped up and I ended up reading late into the night to get to the ending. As a debut novel I found that sometimes the dialogue left a little to be desired and was downright corny at points. BUT it did feel realistic and made the characters a touch more relatable. Aside from the redundancies in part one, I absolutely loved this novel and the concept was very original and very scary! I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dystopian, Scifi, or thriller books. Bonus if you are interested in virtual reality or how technology impacts people and their society.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jane Turner

    I really enjoyed The Nirvana Effect and raced through it. Set over a number of years, this new release from bestselling author, Brian Pinkerton, shows us what happens when we lose touch with reality. And with virtual reality (VR) on the rise, it could be looked at as either a prediction or a modern fairy tale – though the prediction seems much more likely. Aaron is one of the few who scorn the virtual living his housemates have happily adopted, no longer caring about food, cleanliness or even them I really enjoyed The Nirvana Effect and raced through it. Set over a number of years, this new release from bestselling author, Brian Pinkerton, shows us what happens when we lose touch with reality. And with virtual reality (VR) on the rise, it could be looked at as either a prediction or a modern fairy tale – though the prediction seems much more likely. Aaron is one of the few who scorn the virtual living his housemates have happily adopted, no longer caring about food, cleanliness or even themselves. Food is protein bars. Aaron’s chance meeting with like-minded Clarissa puts them both on a path to rebellion. Marc used to lead the VR marketing team, but (luckily) saw the error of his ways. He breaks out, goes into hiding, and becomes an ‘enemy of the state’. The government gets involved, there’s murder and mayhem, escape plans and insidious devices, all culminating in an exciting (and entirely believable) crescendo. The writing itself is staccato-ish and takes a little getting used to, but there’s not much there that doesn’t have to be and the story flows smoothly. It would have been nice to have a governmental character so as to see that side of the decision-making, but it’s not really required – The Nirvana Effect stands well and gets a strong 4 stars from me. (Though I would have really preferred a bigger font size!) This is what happens when societal interactions break down, and it’s all too realistic. We should all take note.

  19. 4 out of 5

    D.K. Hundt

    I would describe THE NIRVANA EFFECT as a plot-driven narrative wherein a new fad of escapism takes the form of an addictive virtual high that divides society into groups of chippers and anti-chippers—add a dash of politics and a pinch of conspiracy theories--and you have a compelling read. . . . What would you do if offered a means to escape the natural world through virtual reality technology, the lure of a promised utopia in which you too can exchange your freedom for false pleasures? Would you I would describe THE NIRVANA EFFECT as a plot-driven narrative wherein a new fad of escapism takes the form of an addictive virtual high that divides society into groups of chippers and anti-chippers—add a dash of politics and a pinch of conspiracy theories--and you have a compelling read. . . . What would you do if offered a means to escape the natural world through virtual reality technology, the lure of a promised utopia in which you too can exchange your freedom for false pleasures? Would you say yes? What would you do if saying no wasn’t an option? ‘The Nirvana Effect has taken over. . . What started as a playful diversion turns deadly. The future of the human race is at stake.’ Recommend! Thank you, NetGalley and Flame Tree Press, for loaning me an eGalley of THE NIRVANA EFFECT in the request for an honest review. Released – April 20, 2021

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    The Nirvana Effect is a scary look at what the near future may hold. A new technology uses an implant to stream content directly to user's brains. People quickly become addicted to this virtual reality, only coming out of the feeds to eat or tend to bodily functions. A few people refused to get the implants, preferring to live in reality. Once the government steps in and makes the implants mandatory, those against the implants are forced into hiding. The Nirvana Effect is all too possible, consi The Nirvana Effect is a scary look at what the near future may hold. A new technology uses an implant to stream content directly to user's brains. People quickly become addicted to this virtual reality, only coming out of the feeds to eat or tend to bodily functions. A few people refused to get the implants, preferring to live in reality. Once the government steps in and makes the implants mandatory, those against the implants are forced into hiding. The Nirvana Effect is all too possible, considering our attachments to our phones, tablets and computers. How much freedom would you be willing to give up to keep your smart devices? Would you even think about it at all?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Angela Maher

    Set in the not-too-distant future, the very real contemporary fixation on technology makes this a far more believable book than it would have been even 10 years ago. Lots of action and plot twists in a narrative that would be perfectly suited to the big screen. Suspense, dilemmas, a little romance, it's a good read with some nice fluctuations of pace. What I didn't get out of this was an emotional connection to the characters, but that could well be an individual reader experience. A modern book de Set in the not-too-distant future, the very real contemporary fixation on technology makes this a far more believable book than it would have been even 10 years ago. Lots of action and plot twists in a narrative that would be perfectly suited to the big screen. Suspense, dilemmas, a little romance, it's a good read with some nice fluctuations of pace. What I didn't get out of this was an emotional connection to the characters, but that could well be an individual reader experience. A modern book dealing with some very human concepts and nature.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Evelina Petitto

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Profano

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alicja

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anastacia Russell

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ienjoyhorror

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alex Helm

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leo

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Pinkerton

  31. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Rikas

  32. 5 out of 5

    Katerina Kondrenko

  33. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

  34. 5 out of 5

    Sweety Snooks

  35. 5 out of 5

    Elisha

  36. 4 out of 5

    Tim Tetreault

  37. 4 out of 5

    Nara Monteiro

  38. 5 out of 5

    Patty Smith

  39. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  40. 5 out of 5

    DarkBetweenPages

  41. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Pfeifer

  42. 4 out of 5

    Katya

  43. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  44. 5 out of 5

    Kat's Books

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