Read Bedlam by Christopher Brookmyre Online

bedlam

Heaven is a prison. Hell is a playground.Would it be your ultimate fantasy to enter the world of a video game?A realm where you don’t have to go to work or worry about your health; where you can look like a hero or a goddess; where you can fly space-ships, slay dragons, yet all of it feels completely real. A realm where there are no consequences and no responsibilities.OrHeaven is a prison. Hell is a playground.Would it be your ultimate fantasy to enter the world of a video game?A realm where you don’t have to go to work or worry about your health; where you can look like a hero or a goddess; where you can fly space-ships, slay dragons, yet all of it feels completely real. A realm where there are no consequences and no responsibilities.Or would it be your worst nightmare?Stuck in an endless state of war and chaos where the pain and fear feels real and from which not even death can offer an escape.Prison or playground. Heaven or hell. This is where you find out. This is white-knuckle action, sprawling adventure, merciless satire and outrageous humour like you’ve never experienced.This is Bedlam....

Title : Bedlam
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780356502137
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 376 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bedlam Reviews

  • Campbell
    2019-02-28 05:28

    Almost all I will say about this, save that I loved it, was that one passage triggered (from Stygian depths of memory) the release of a cheat code - a 7-digit number - for a computer game which I had not even *thought* about (much less played) for 25 years. The cover blurb just doesn't do it justice - for me, this book was as much about nostalgia as it was about plot. The nostalgia wasn't as thickly-layered, nor as all-pervasive as Ernest Cline's almost-equally worthy "Ready Player One" but, for me anyway, this was all the better for that. Also, and here's what got me - this was smarter, the puzzle better, the resolution neater. Don't get me wrong, I liked Cline's book. But I liked this more.

  • Daren
    2019-02-23 09:23

    It has been a long time since I read a Christopher Brookmyre novel, and similarly a long time since I read Sci-fi. This has been on my shelf for ages, and I needed an easy read.In other reviews of this book, people who disliked it seemed to dislike it on the gamer content - which is fair enough, but if you are reading a book about a person who gets trapped inside a video game, and it's not what you want to read, you kind of only have yourself to blame. There is no deception in the blurb.I was never a fanatical gamer, but I guess I was there enough to understand all of the content, if not exactly able to identify the gaming worlds. There are probably more inside jokes I missed due to this, but it seemed pretty straight forward to me - ie well telegraphed as to the game the worlds tied to.So, for me an enjoyable read, but probably not as good as Brookmyres 'Tartan Noir" as his crime and politics / social commentary novels are collectively known. 3.5 stars - rounded down to 3.

  • Nathan Hurst
    2019-02-26 08:08

    This is a great little story and a slight departure from Brookmyre's usual crime thriller. If you grew up a geek in the 70's and 80's when computer gaming was in it's infancy, you'll read this like a walk through of your own childhood. It's a real 'Tron on steroids' kind of book with a 'who dunnit' twist at the end. The story does begin a little confused and disoriented and it takes a while to get your bearings, but you need to keep with it as you soon find out this is intentional. Things do become clear.I probably wouldn't recommend this to everyone, as it's aimed at a very particular gaming/sci-fi audience, but lucky for me, that's exactly the bracket I fall into. It has laughs and action to push the plot along nicely and leaves you with a sense of things turning out right. A neat slant on a near future. Another good book.

  • Jim Thornton
    2019-03-01 12:28

    Such disappointment I'm afraidI had been looking forward to a 'Christopher' rather than a 'Chris' and was hoping for great things. Instead this was a shoddy pile of nonsense about a man trapped in a computer game. Not the first time this has been tried but this (to a non computer gaming person) was a tedious trawl through 'worlds' complete with plenty of Geek speak. In other words it was destined for a fairly narrow audience so should have had a health warning on it.Such a shame. I've read every one of his books and now that I'm terminally ill that may well be the last one, and to waste it on that is sad.This could have been a good short story, or even a short novel, but 375 pages? No!

  • Bw Johnson
    2019-03-03 07:20

    The first and final twenty pages are great - but the middle 'game' stuff is twaddle. It needed more real world links in the middle to engage non gamer geek readers. I'll continue to read Brookmyre fiction but will give his sci fi a big swerve from now on.

  • Arnis
    2019-03-15 09:14

    https://poseidons99.wordpress.com/201...

  • S.B. Wright
    2019-03-17 10:11

    In Bedlam we see Brookmyre diverge from his usual fare of Scottish crime novels and venture into science fiction. That being said, Bedlam is still at its heart mystery fiction, with our hapless protagonist required to unravel who he is, where he is and how to take down the bad guys.Ross Baker is computer scientist working for a shady American firm in the charming surrounds of industrial Stirling. He works hard but never seems to get ahead, he thinks his girlfriend is about to leave him and the office psychopath has just screwed him over again when he decides to help one of his colleagues, Solderburn, who is working on side project.He consents to be scanned by Solderburn’s new cobbled together scanner and wakes up inside a 1990’s first person shooter called Starfire. From this point on he’s on his own and has to figure out where he is, if he’s still Ross Baker and how to get home.It’s not a new idea, being transported into a video game, but Brookmyre has reworked the idea and given us a story that will be a trip down nostalgia lane for anyone who grew up gaming from the late 80’s onward combined with some techno thriller trappings. There’s some good in-jokes and some not so subtle social commentary – Brookmyre did win a laugh from me with a reference to Daily Mail readers.I did, however, find it a bit slow going until the last quarter of the book where the pace picked up and both the reader and Ross had a better picture of where things were going. There’s also an info dump at the end of the book which is an info dump in both the literal and narrative sense. Ross gets injected with updated information on what’s going on in the outside world bringing he and the reader up to date. It felt like Brookmyre was glossing over what might have been good techno-thriller material but I don’t know that I can suggest another way to have worked the information into the story without revealing some of the mystery.If you are looking for a mystery novel with a difference, if you enjoy Brookmyre’s humour and you’re a fan of gaming you’ll enjoy Bedlam, as for the techno thiller aspects, it just doesn't move fast enough for me.

  • Debbie
    2019-03-05 05:18

    This book is a bit of a departure from Christopher Brookmyre's usual tales. In the back of the book in the 'About the Author' section, it says that although Brookmyre has established himself as a leading crime novelist (personally I think that's far too narrow a genre to describe his books), people have been nagging him to write SF instead and he hopes they think it was worth it.Well, yes I do! In fact I think Brookmyre's writing style is perfectly suited to SF. This book is like Jumangi meets Inception written in a style similar to Neal Stephenson's novels. In other words - good!The blurb on the book cover tells us that the plot revolves around Ross Baker, a scientist working for a medical technology firm called Neurosphere, who volunteers to have a test scan in a new scanner the company is developing. When he wakes up from the scan he finds himself trapped inside an old video game called Starfire that he used to play when he was a teenager. So far, so Jumangi.However, there is so much more to this book than the blurb lets on and the different layers of the story and plot get quite complicated, not to mention the mindbogglingness of the actual science involved. If I didn't have so many other books to read I would have started re-reading this as soon as I finished it just to get my head around some of the concepts better.Because this is not just a book about computer games, this is a book about philosophy, and in particular the way in which artificial intelligence challenges our notions of self and self awareness. Using computer games as the vehicle to illustrate the consequences of the science works really well. My only disappointment was the Ross didn't ever find himself in Baldur's Gate!After reading this I have to say that Christopher Brookmyre is still one of my favourite authors and I hope he writes more SF as well as his usual novels.

  • Paul
    2019-03-16 11:18

    Ross is a regular employee at the slightly sinister Neurosphere corporation. A workaholic, he has given everything to the company, at the expense of his relationship even more poignant now, as his girlfriend is pregnant. He volunteers to have a go on the new brain scanner, anything to avoid work for an afternoon, but when he emerges from the scanner, he is not in the office. In fact he is not in the real world anymore, but seems to be stuck in a video game call Starfire, a game that is a blast from his past. He has no idea as to why he is there, and more importantly can see no way of getting out. As he travels around staying alive, just, he realises this is a huge environment with thousands of games from his past, and sequels that have yet to be released, and that he is up against an enemy, the Integrity, who seem to know his every move.Having read and enjoyed his previous book based on online games, A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away, I was l looking forward to reading this one. I like the style that he writes in along with his acerbic wit is normally quite funny too. This book caries on in the same vein, being sharp in its prose. Where it didn’t work for me was the plot. A book like this need to be fast paced, original and with a fairly big twist at the end, and while this had elements of these it didn’t all add up, which is a shame as it promised so much more.

  • Fat Al
    2019-03-06 09:22

    I was really disappointed by this one. Brookmyre's one of my favourite authors, but this was (in my opinion) his worst one to date.I don't quite know why - mainly it felt like it took too long to get going, but I just didn't feel any sympathy for the characters, the situation, etc. And while I like the idea of the gameworlds, for me a lot of it just didn't gel.Maybe I need to re-read it, now I've got the main thing in my head, so I'll see more nuance, more humour. I don't know. But for me right now, it wasn't a good read.Sorry, Mr Brookmyre!

  • Charles
    2019-02-20 10:11

    I truly can't recall how this book got onto my 'to read' pile. I think, I intended to start reading the author's Jack Parlabane series, but couldn't find Quite Ugly One Morning and settled for this one. I'm glad I did.First, if you're not a computer gamer of have never been a gamer you're going to miss a lot of the story. Computer gaming is a necessary context.Prose is good. Dialog is better than action sequences. Note most of the dialog, particularly the protagonist's inner-dialog, is in Scottish English. It is can be entertaining, if you're a fan of Scottish Lad Speak and irony. I would categorized this book as being YA. The violence is not particularly graphic and there are no naughty bits. The flash forwards and backwards were not as well implemented as they could have been.There are a minimum of characters in the story. Ross, the protagonist, is a conflicted geek who just happens to be an ex-Gaming Otaku. He is the best wrought character. Everyone else is a bit thin and have been seen before. The subordinate characters were not all NPCs. Both female characters Iris and Juno did have a limited range of interaction. Unfortunately, Iris was too 'good' a bad gal to be a villain and Juno never really got off the ground. The bad guy was too stupid to be an evil genius.The plot is a mashup of the Inside a Computer System and the AI Takeover tropes embedded in the Hero's Journey. (view spoiler)[The MacGuffin is that the virtualized reality is vintage and contemporary computer games. (hide spoiler)] The plot was semi-predictable. I thought the author stretched-out the hero's journey longer than it had to be.World building was a good description of some '80's and '90's computer games. The tech of the computer games-verse both software and hardware was accurate and well done. It left me nostalgic for computers without gigahertz base clock speeds. Tech outside of the gamer realm involved a bit of hand-waving.This wasn't a bad story. Although, it was not great either. The badinage was good. The plot was a Scottish re-spin of some well-worn tropes, liberally garnished with red herrings. I can't help but feel that the author could have written a 'tighter' book. (I thought it was flabby.) In the story, he leaned too heavily on irony and nostalgia when he should have been advancing the plot and developing the story's few characters.I'm going to give the author another try by looking harder for those Jack Parlabanebooks.

  • Patrick
    2019-03-14 12:18

    A bit of a change of direction for Christopher Brookmyre. It appears he must have tired of being Scotland's Carl Hiaasen as his last couple of books have been much more 'straight' crime novels which suggest he's instead casting about to become Glasgow's Ian Rankin. This book, on the other hand, is a first attempt to turn his hand to science fiction. Sort of...It's about a man who unaccountably finds himself trapped inside a computer game or – as becomes apparent as the story goes on, a vast interconnected world of computer games. I do wonder if the book might have more appeal to someone more immersed in the world of computer games than I am. Sure, I spent much of the time I should have been revising for my A-levels blasting the otherworldly demons of post-apocalyptic first person shooter Doom to bits on my 486, but in the last twenty years, aside from an intermittent addiction to the absurdly difficult 60s racing simulator, Grand Prix Legends, which may have helped me win a few stage weekend karting competitions, though I'm not sure that's adequate payoff for the time wasted, that's been about it. I got a few of the gamer in-jokes, but I expect that there were many more hidden away for those more familiar with Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Quake, et al. Its been badged as a science fiction book, but to be honest – and this might just reflect that my interest in science fiction tends towards the hard-sf, it struck me as more of a comic thriller. A reluctant hero loose in a world he doesn't understand – his mission to try to escape so that he can be reunited with his pregnant girlfriend. After a while, I have to admit, the long series of action sequences set inside the various games they travel through began to drag a bit, and his efforts to inject his own political humour into the book were mixed: on the one hand I quite liked "Ross couldn't have felt like more of a dick if he had been gene-spliced with George Osborne and dressed in a six-foot foam rubber penis costume” but the five or six page scene in which the narrator finds himself trapped in a vastly more complex version of the 'Daily Mail Headline Generator' felt forced, predictable and not nearly as funny as it should have been.That said, I kept reading because one thing Brookmyre handled cleverly was the slow reveal of the true nature of the 'world' that the narrator is trapped in and how he came to be there. Some of the implications of that world were, I thought, summarily nodded towards and then passed by (view spoiler)[ If the world is actually populated with 'scans' of people taken at different points in time so that they may encounter friends and acquaintances at a very different point in their life from the time at which their own 'scan' was taken, there are all kinds of interesting implications for relations between characters, but they weren't really explored in any depth here. We simply got a passing reference to someone who went searching for her husband, only to discover that he regarded her as his ex-wife, and that was it - aside perhaps from the late reveal that Iris, who had been helping/hindering the narrator, Ross, was in fact his daughter)(hide spoiler)] Not as good as it could have been, but his Jack Parlabane novels had started to get a bit tired and repetitious to my mind, so I'm happy to see him try something different.

  • Shonna Froebel
    2019-03-07 05:07

    I picked this up when I saw it in a bookstore as I'd really enjoyed his A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil a few years ago. Since that was a mystery, I'd assumed this was too, and I suppose it is in a sense, but really it is much more science fiction.Ross Baker works as a scientist developing medical technology for the large corporation Neurosphere at their Stirling offices. He works hard, but doesn't feel appreciated, and his work drive has put a strain on his relationship with his girlfriend Carol. This particular Monday, he is feeling down in the dumps, and when he overhears a conversation that tells him his girlfriend is pregnant, he feels even worse. Why would they know before him, and what does that mean for his relationship? He decides to accept an invitation from a fellow scientist to be a test candidate for a new scanner to get out of his office.But when he emerges from the scanner, he finds himself apparently in a video game, one he eventually recognizes as a favourite from his youth, Starfire. As he struggles to find a way, he gradually learns more about this place where he is trapped. When he is asked his name, his mind reverts to that young boy, and he gives his childhood gamer name, Bedlam.With his emotions reaching back to his life with Carol, he follows any trail he can to find his way through various video game worlds, hoping to find an escape.As this book progressed I was drawn into it more and more, and the ethical message that Brookmyre embeds here is one that doesn't seem that futuristic. Rooting for Ross, I found myself in a pageturner that I had trouble putting down. Very different from the other book of his I've read, this book is just as good if not better. A new favourite.

  • Malcolm
    2019-03-09 11:32

    Brookmyre has been playing round with various genre for some time now – thrillers, police procedurals and most recently in Pandaemonium the haunted house meets teen slasher flick. Here he ventures into science fiction, so it appears, but I see it more as an odyssey, as a quest to a new life.Ross Baker, smart guy IT industry geek finds himself stuck in Gameverse after a trial of a new medical scanner the company he works for is developing. Being as he is a game player, he recognises the game as Starfire and has ways to deal with this seeming weirdness, only to find himself brought back to life (respawning, it seems in gamer argot) to refight the battles. The perplexing thing is that he seems to be a non-player character, but he learns, develops and eventually in an effort to escape the game find himself outside Starfire-space, moving on to another game, and another, and another having adventures along the way in his effort to escape – it is quest, after all.It’s a good idea, and told with much of the verve I’d expect of a Brookmyre story – disrespect for those in power, dislike of big capital, smart-arsed Scottish witticisms and slang throughout; even with the deus-ex-machina solution it seems to work. My problem is, I’m not a gamer and I have very little knowledge of the sphere other than that stuff I have picked along the way as a popular culture scholar; the last game I remember playing was some time in the mid-’80s, Space Invaders, and then I moved off to other things. As a result, an awful lot of this passes me by. I rather enjoyed it, but in a more academic sense than most other things by Brookmyre, I suspect because I didn’t get most of the reference points.It probably deserves more than 3 stars, but I’m not sure.

  • Wendle
    2019-03-18 04:26

    As a fan of every other Brookmyre book, i was really looking forward to read this. I was, however, also apprehensive; it apparently wasn’t his best work. Hoping all the people i’d heard that from were wrong, i jumped in with full optimism. Oh well.Brookmyre's love of the games, the worlds, the terminology shines through, especially at the start, when the main character, Ross, wakes up, realises he’s in a video game and starts figuring out how to play it from the inside. I so easily felt Brookmyre’s joy in his writing, but the trouble with that was that i didn’t share it. I know enough about video games and the terminology to get by and understand enough of what was going on, but not enough that i got all the references or laughed at all the jokes.The plot was intriguing. It took a while to get into, thanks to the long set up, world(s) building and the aforementioned enthusiasm of the author (which i think only made this problem worse), but by about halfway through i was fully engaged in pondering possible motives and theories and outcomes. By the last 150 pages i was engrossed and finished it all in pretty much one sitting–i had to know what happened!So, while this was not a patch on Brookmyre’s other books, it still has many of the elements that i love about his work. I’m sure he had a hell of a good time writing it, and reading it certainly wasn’t any sort of hardship.A longer review can be read at my book blog: Marvel At Words.

  • Matthew
    2019-03-14 12:35

    There probably is a great computer game novel waiting to be written, but this really isn't it.The villain is a caricature, the supporting characters exist almost solely to spout reams and reams of exposition, and the main character has virtually no notable characteristics beyond being something of a manchild. And an idiot; for the plot to work, he has to be exceptionally slow on the uptake, grasping two obvious facts way after he should have done. I grant you that we don't know how quickly a computer gamer would begin to suspect he was in a computer game, but the length it does take him really seems to be pushing it. And I (and I'd imagine anyone familiar with much SF) grasped what was really going on perhaps 150 pages before he was told it. I guess our hero hadn't read (view spoiler)[Engine Summer (hide spoiler)].I think games are an interesting topic, but the book just concentrates on their dullest aspects in superficial ways. At best it asks "wouldn't it be funny if life was more like game X" and at worst it's just name-dropping games. And spare me authors going off on tangents to rant at length against their pet peeves. (view spoiler)[Here it's a rather crushingly unfunny diatribe against Daily Mail readers, of all things. Wow, controversial target there. (hide spoiler)] I firmly believe that the whole of the book should exist in service of the story it's trying to tell (a reason I also really don't get on with Neal Stephenson, for example).

  • donna_ehm
    2019-02-21 09:10

    I found this frustrating to read because while I grasped the overall concept and plot, I was utterly lost in the details. It's worth noting that at several points in the book the author essentially summarizes what had been going on up to that point, so perhaps even he knew how twisty and confusing the story was. I noticed that, as the book progressed, there were more and more instances of info dumping which just became annoying because it never seemed to help me understand what was going on. Certainly some of this was more me than the author but not all, I'd wager. Also annoying was the intrusion of the author's voice when it came to certain social commentary, like the Daily Mail jibes (it's not that I disagree with Brookmyer but it's jarring because suddenly you're listening to the author spouting off on his personal pet peeves, and not absorbing those opinions through the narrative and/or the characters). I think there was a cool idea in here, and Brookmyre raises good ethical and moral points with respect to digital representation and existence vis a vis actual human beings and human consciousness. But I thought that discussion and exploration just got too twisted up in a convoluted plot. It's probably a book that benefits from a second read, once you know what's going on.

  • Jo Price
    2019-02-27 05:19

    I loved this book. It definitely won't hold the same charm for someone who doesn't game, but for someone with a knowledge of the joys and frustrations of gaming there are so many in-jokes hidden away inside that will keep you chuckling and even laughing aloud throughout.The plot starts out simple, and for a while it's easy to think that this is just is just a daft book stuffed full of a bunch of cheap gamer-gags. However, the book actually moves on to a far more complex plot that actually brings up some quite interesting questions regarding a hypothetical future of technology.Based on what my Dad - a big Brookmyre fan - has said, this book may not be to the taste of all previous fans. However you should rest assured that "Bedlam" contains all of the Brookmyre's trademark (creatively foul) language and style, and is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

  • Casey Aldridge
    2019-03-08 05:35

    While still enjoyable as CB's other works, this one was a lot harder for me to read. Mostly because I have no gaming background whatsoever and the author doesn't dumb it down in regards to all IT talk. And there is a LOT of both. Once I got into the swing of it, I found myself quite caught up in the storyline and tried not to get too bogged down in the details of things I didn't quite get. The last third was a lot faster paced and was a quicker read, although unusually for me I put this book down a few times and it took me a few days to get through it. Hopefully on a second read all of it will make more sense, or at least I will know which parts I can skim through without trying to puzzle my way through the lingo. Am kinda glad I didn't recommend this for my yearly book club book though! I have a feeling most of our members wouldn't have persevered with this one ;)

  • David Harris
    2019-03-20 06:26

    Inventive and genuinely thought provoking. After two more or less straight crime novels, as well as going back to being "Christopher" rather than "Chris" Brookmyre returns to the video games infused style of "Pandaemonium". Here, rather than the mayhem of a first person shooter erupting into the lives of a group of schoolkids, we have Ross, a put upon Dilbert type, projected into game space. It's a fast faced, action filled adventure as the hapless engineer struggles against dim NPCs and treachery to try to save the world he has ended up in.It'll be interesting to see whether this pleases Brookmyre's fan base, who seem to have resented his last two straight crime stories as well as the SFnal Pandemonium. Also, to see where the bookshops file this!

  • Aurora
    2019-03-04 05:33

    I am a dedicated Brookmyre fan and was interested to see how well he handled a departure from his usual thriller genre. The idea was good and the structure, without giving too much away, becomes very effective as the end of the book is reached. The protagonist is likeable and his world is well explained for the most part but, like some other reviewers, I found there was a lot of extraneous detail which just served to confuse matters. Given the time shifts and occasional perspective shifts in the different chapters it created a bit of a difficult read.I hope to see more from him though, the trademark Brookmyre acerbic comebacks were still in there and were still enjoyable.

  • Peter
    2019-03-09 05:14

    This book reminded me of reamde - good, but nothing like the same level of the author's early work. The ideas are interesting, but the hardcore scifi nerd in me would have liked him to go deeper into them. The plot is vaguely formulatic. The gut thinks it could have done with major work after the first draft. If you are thinking about reading this author, then quite ugly one morning is fantastic, and more recently his crime books set in glasgow and the unsinkable rubber ducks are pretty good too.

  • Martin Faulkner
    2019-02-26 09:22

    Not entirely convinced by this odd conceptual fusion of Jasper Fforde and Iain M. Banks - much of the usual Brookmyre spark is muffled by having to continuously describe gamescapes and mechanisms in ways that non-gamers can understand but that won't be entirely dull to those already in the know. Throw in some painfully wedged-in bits of author agenda (we all hate Littlejohn and the Daily Mail, but the references in question were teenagely clunky in their execution) and I was left underwhelmed on the whole. Has its moments though.

  • Rog Harrison
    2019-03-10 12:07

    I have enjoyed most of the author's books and I have read many of them several times. However this did not work for me at all. I think the main problem was that I have never played computer games whether in arcades, on PCs or consoles so many of the references and indeed the language in this book passed me by entirely. Oh, well.

  • Jane Walker
    2019-03-05 06:12

    I'm a Brookmyre fan, but this book defeated me. I've never played computer simulation war games, and never want to. That rules me out of understanding or caring about what is going on. Gave up half way through.

  • Carey Combe
    2019-02-24 07:12

    Not sure I liked the Scifi element in this book, quite apart from the fact that I have never gamed in my life, so that a lot of the book went way over my head. Hope he goes back to his normal genre for the next book.

  • Sandra
    2019-03-02 06:14

    BoredI have never played a computer game so found this uninteresting. This type of sci-fi not for me. . .

  • Jasper
    2019-03-04 12:20

    originally posted at: http://thebookplank.blogspot.com/2014...Christopher Brookmyre has always been an author on my to read list, I have read some humorous fiction from Orbit written by Tom Holt, The Portable Door and Christopher Moore, Lamb and plenty more that really cracked me up. An author similar to these was Christopher Brookmyre and I heard some very positive news about his books, he has established himself as a leading author over the past few years writing various detective books. Bedlam is quite something different as you follow the main protagonist inside a videogame, for all the fellow geeks out there, how cool is that! In Bedlam you follow the story of Ross Baker, just your average computer guy working for an American company called Neurosphere, which develops medical technology. Lately his life hasn't been that great. Every day at work his gives his best but it feels for him like he never moves forward. His home situation isn't also one where he looks out for, the relation with his girlfriends seems to be at a stagnant point and it feel for Ross like she is looking around for someone else. So with his life not going anywhere anytime soon, Ross volunteers as for a scan conducted by a fellow scientist, Solderburn. However this scan wasn't part of a research project of Neurosphere but rather acted as a bit of a hobby project for Solderburn. Ross though this scan to be harmless, just getting an image quickly of himself. Instead of being a harmless sanc, it soon turns out to be something else entirely and something in the wildest dreams of Ross. Because, now Ross finds himself being transport into a computer game of the 90's called Starfire and is placed on the planet of Graxis as a cyborg and in the midst of an ongoing and never ending battle. Ross isn't the only real-life human who finds himself in the heart of the computer game. He gets to talking to other people and then it all starts to dawn on them that they have been placed in a computer game. Though Ross' life wasn't the best in real-life, he prefers that above the virtual one and sets out to find a way out of the virtual world. But without having any clue as to how he got transported into the videogame in the first place, getting out of it will proof to be a difficult challenge. In his efforts to get out, Ross will find himself navigating trough many different videogames that only Starfire. He does have one advantage, in his youth he was an avid fan of videogames and is able to use his skill will searching for a way out. I highly enjoyed the storyline that Christopher Brookmyre has created in Bedlam, it especially becomes that more engaging by some other idea's that he brings to the forefront. Of course Bedlam is fiction but the way that Christopher Brookmyre brings his story to light does make you wonder what else and perhaps more importantly how fast several things will be made possible. Christopher Brookmyre does a nice job in provoking you to think about a certain philosophical drive between real life and virtual life and what exactly is real and how does "realness" feels. Current AI technology is able to create very real life robots that act in a way humans do... Interweaving such things in his plot makes it all the more intricate to read and just like Ross was sucked into the virtual world you will be sucked into a riveting narration. One way how Christopher Brookmyre readily achieves to create a spot on virtual/gaming setting is by involving a the right terminology. Most of my gaming days are over but when I was still in high school I played a lot of videogames from FPS, MMORPG's and RTS. From those days I still remember all the words used and several on the concepts that were used in those games. Christopher Brookmyre uses a lot of these concepts while telling his story: wallhacks, aimbots and respawn points just to name a couple. During the visit in Starfire, Ross met up with another real person who was sucked into the videogame and he can't seem to die, he just spawn a new to fight another round. Next to this there is also a great exploration about the term NPC and this did got me thinking (the provocative AI part). I really pleased by this aspect as I wasn't at all thinking about reading these bits, it clearly comes to show that Christopher Brookmyre knows what he talking about and also finds a lot of pleasure telling about his fondness for the nostalgic videogames.Part by the events but also part by the gaming phrases, Bedlam, gets a nice dose of humor. As I already mentioned if you played computer games I think you will appreciate the terminology used to create a very rich story. Bedlam also gets a humorist tinge by the way that the main protagonist Ross acts when he is confronted by new things. He isn't one of those heroic protagonists that conquers everything on the first take, his real life nature reflects back in his virtual persona. I have read some computer game tie-in books, but Bedlam, is completely different. Yes it does explore several computer games in more detail, the plot and the idea behind the story do revolve around different concepts. Christopher Brookmyre has created quite the engaging read and his narration and several of his ideas great a very provocative setting. The start-up of the book was slower than I expected but with this you do get to learn enough of what could be possibly going on with Ross, gradually as you delve deeper into the story the pace is picked up and the ending of Bedlam really is like one of those door slamming close kind of BAMS (which I appreciate very, very much). Christopher Brookmyre mentioned in the back of his book that he wanted to create a great enjoyable science fiction book and yes he has does that. Bedlam is a must read for computer game fantastic and science fiction readers in general. I enjoyed Bedlam by the handful and will definitely be checking out more of Christopher Brookmyre's books.

  • Russell Taylor
    2019-03-02 12:07

    One of the great clichés when ending a relationship is to say, “it’s not you, it’s me”, and I think where this novel is concerned it’s probably true. For me it took too long to get going and to clarify what was going on. Some may enjoy the suspense created by this not knowing, but by a quarter of the way through I still didn’t have a clue, and it was annoying me. It did pick up in the middle when there was a large chunk of the story based in the cyber world, but even then I didn’t really take to the secondary characters of Juno, Iris, or the other bloke, Skullhammer or something. The end was a bit ‘meh’ as well. Shame really, as I thought the idea of someone being trapped in a computer universe sounded really interesting. I certainly won’t be giving up on this author though, as I have read several of his novels, and this is first one I haven’t really enjoyed. As a side note, it does get bonus points for muttering the phrase ‘arse trumpets’.

  • Graham Stewart
    2019-02-21 12:34

    Ready Player One meets Edge of Tomorrow meets Tron meets Trainspotting(ish) - well I say it's reminiscent of RP1 in that it references video games from decades past, but the writing is far slicker and funnier. The only reason I say Trainspotting is that you can imagine it being read to you by Mark Renton with all the Scottish titbits of slang e.g. ballbag, pish, etc.