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Thursday, April 26, 2018

New Mystery Novel Features Virtual World Like SL




Two avatars in a virtual world are main characters in a new mystery novel.

The book, “Femme Fatale Online,” by Eugene Rodgers (SL: “Adolphe Menjou”), has been published as a Kindle ebook. Go to Amazon.com and search for “Femme Fatale Online.” The book can be read on any computer by downloading a free app from Kindle (amazon.com/kindle-dbs/fd/kcp).
The fictional virtual world resembles Second Life. Isaac is an avatar who looks exactly like the man controlling him, Rick, the novel’s hero. He befriends a beautiful, sexy avatar named Joan, but learns nothing about her—neither her identity, whereabouts, nor the facts of her life.Rick is candid about his own identity and life.
Joan gets Rick a real-life job with Molcom, a giant electrical-equipment manufacturer and government contractor in Pittsburgh, where he leads a public-relations campaign for government funding to turn a secret breakthrough into the world’s first nuclear fusion power plant. Shelures the married hero into a virtual romance and uses secretly made tapes of the pretend trysts to blackmail him into industrial espionage. As the story develops, she threatens harm to him and his family.
Rick realizes he must keep his job and continue spying despite vicious office politics or he and his wife will die. Against long odds, he mustfind out who Joan is and where she lives so he can apprehend her before she strikes, knowing she’ll murder him if she realizes what he’s doing. By clever detection, he develops six suspects.
While Joan is tormenting Rick, one of the suspects, a woman in his office, attempts to seduce him in real life. Lonely during the work week because he’s in Pittsburgh while his wife and family are home in Virginia, and susceptible to an affair that would take his mind off Joan’s terrifying threats, he gradually weakens.
The book’s Facebook page (facebook.com/rodgersmystery) includes videos of the two avatars in action, with Second Life standing in for the fictional virtual world in the novel. The page also contains information about the author and more on the book.
“The novel is not about avatars or a virtual world as such,” Rodgers said. “It’s written for a general audience. The avatars are the same as regular characters in any novel, and almost all the action takes place in the real world. My book is basically a mystery but has elements of thrillers, spy novels, and romances.
“There’s no explicit sex and little violence, but the book has risqué parts and some raw language. It would be rated ‘R’ if it were a movie. An Agatha Christie mystery it is not. It’s a modern, nontraditional novel that’s true to life.
“Readers learn what life is like as a resident of Pittsburgh, which is surprisingly pleasant, and as an employee of a major corporation, which is not always pleasant. One character proposes what he calls the 3B’s of business success—backstabbing, butt kissing, and bull throwing.
“The book raises several questions: Do the moral principles that govern sexual activity also apply to virtual sex, which is huge in Second Life and will become widespread when virtual reality takes off, possibly in the next year or two? Is it possible to love two people at the same time, a question that applies to Rick in his relations with an attractive suspect? Can an employee act ethically while trying to survive in the jungle-like realities of corporate life?”
Eugene Rodgers is a retired public relations writer for several large corporations and managed public relations for the Westinghouse R&D Center. He was named Virginia author of the year in 1991 by the Virginia College Store’s Assoc. for his first book, “Beyond the Barrier: The Story of Byrd’s First Expedition to Antarctica.” Grove/Atlantic published his next book, “Flying High: The Story of Boeing and the Rise of the Jetliner Industry.”

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