Science Fiction novel by Dennis Danvers. * * * *

Bienvenidos a Ladrónvilla.

It is some time in the near future, in our own world. Most people who can afford access to the Web spend their time strapped into Weisger chairs, providing them with 24-hour virtual reality. Of course not everyone can afford it; outside the developed world, people have to get by with monitors and keyboards, or even worse, no Web access at all.

Santee St. John's web news career takes a turn for the worse when he witnesses an act of genocide in Chiapas, southern Mexico, as Zapatista land invaders are exterminated by thugs hired by the land owners. He faithfully gets the story but his employer decides not to run it, and considers his insistence...shall we say "unprofessional"?

So Mr. St. John drifts around Mexico for awhile until he meets Margaret Mayfield, a woman who has rejected the vicarious life and decided to learn the world by studying it one country at a time, except that she "got stuck on the first one".

I won't spoil the plot any further, except to remind you all

El Web no es un lugar.

I bought The Fourth World because I liked Mr. Danvers' previous novels, Circuit of Heaven and End of Days. At first, I thought it was going to be a rather formulaic cyberpunk novel but I was mistaken. I am quite glad I stuck with it.

Immediately after reading The Fourth World I had to go back and read The Space Merchants all over again. If you have ever read The Space Merchants (and you should!) you may recognize a few of its themes in The Fourth World, but you will be glad you spent the time looking for them!