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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning performers Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory, and Ready Player One audiobook) and Katherine McNamara (Shadowhunters, The Stand, CW’s Arrow) bring this mind-bending, deeply imagined sci-fi tale to life.

The real world is only where you breathe....

In High Earth, digital entertainment is everything. Shows. Virtual worlds. Simulations - there’s something for everybody in a city where working for a living has been rendered obsolete by technological advancements. Even a short walk outside to visit with others is no longer necessary. Just load into the network and you can be with anyone, anywhere.

For Asher Reinhart, nothing compares to Ignis; a live reality show that pushes human beings to their very extremes. As a volunteer director, Asher closely monitors the lives of those living on an interstellar ark, believing they're the last of humanity.

But when it's determined that the life of the show’s brightest star, Mission, must be put in danger to boost declining ratings, Asher is forced to choose: the show he loves or the woman whose existence has been the focus of his attention since the day he was born.

From number-one Audible best-selling author and Nebula Award nominee Rhett C. Bruno comes a story about the power of human connection. The Truman Show meets Ready Player One in a novel perfect for fans of Hugh Howey, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Michael Crichton.

©2021 Rhett C. Bruno (P)2021 Podium Audio

What the critics say

"This perceptive take on the reality-TV-in-the-future premise deserves boffo ratings" (Kirkus Reviews)

"A truly unique sci-fi experience...Mission's story is both heartbreaking and triumphant, and the growth Asher shows from start to finish blew me away." (Nicholas Sansbury Smith, NYT best-selling author of Hell Divers

Vicarious is 2001: A Space Odyssey meets The Truman Show. A riveting take on man’s inhumanity to man". (Scott Sigler, number one New York Times best-selling Author of Earthcore)

What listeners say about Vicarious

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An imaginary possibility of our world’s future

A beautifully performed audio book.
Wil Wheaton and Katherine McNamara voiced each of the characters so well, it was easy to follow the story and picture the scenes in my mind.

The story line is a possibility of where our world is headed in the future if we continue being addicted to technology and virtual entertainment.

A good reminder to put down the phone/ tablet to nourish real life connections and appreciate the wonder in the world around us. The beauty of peoples imperfections and individuality.

1 person found this helpful

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Slow start but well worth listening to

Like all books setting the surroundings is tedious if you persevere past the first two to three chapters the story takes wings and the narrators seem to blossom as the characters and story develops. The story is at once engaging and thought provoking and the narration is good I am already a Rhett fan and he doesn’t disappoint on this one.

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Incredible story and narration - recommended!

Rhett C Bruno delivers a masterpiece with Vicarious. A truly unique story. Richly detailed settings and characters. It makes you think about a number of fundamental questions about life, one’s purpose in society and how one’s identity is shaped.

The narration is top notch - Wil Wheaton delivers an excellent narration and Katherine McNamara’s rookie debut is mesmerizing!

Highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome look into what tech addiction could be

I loved this book! The first couple chapters were slow moving, but they set up an amazing, exciting and fast paced story, that is just so imaginative! I don't reccomend putting it on to fall asleep to, unless you enjoy being tired. I am a big science fiction fan, and I can honestly say this book was so original, there was nothing I expected. High Earth, and Ingus Live are both such unique places. The characters are well developed and hold their own. Well done! I will definitely listen to this audio book again.

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Holy moly

This is such a beautiful character driven book, tightly woven yet leaving you yearning for more.

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  • Willis Burns
  • 2021-04-13

Fastest read ever!

I can’t begin to express my love for this book. I listened through in one sitting, mesmerized by Wil and Katherine’s performance. As always, Bruno weaves a dark but hopeful world filled with unique people and ideas.
Different from his others (Children of Titan, Buried Goddess Saga) Vicarious stands alone as a work of art. No need for sequels, no massive arcing story, just the glorious, beautiful prose and dialogue he is known for bringing to fiction.
Asher and Mission are adorable and lovable and tragic.
Vicarious both made me long to live in High Earth and fear the possibility it might some day exist.

Bravo! Ten stars.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 2021-04-13

Excellent

This isn't the first glowing review of a Rhett C. Bruno book that I've written, he has a way of captivating me in every story he tells. Vicarious was no different. From the first few minutes of it I was intrigued. I needed to know more and know who these characters where and what made them tick.

The description calls it The Truman Show meets Ready Player One, and I definitely see that, but I would throw in a bit of The Island as well. A lot of the pretense around their lives reminded me a lot of what the characters in The Island were going through. Especially because the characters in Vicarious were meant to be almost perfect human specimens because of the specific breeding and procreation they were doing.

One of the hardest things to do about a book that has twists and turns like this one does is write a review and talk about it. I can't really mention anything about the book because it will likely give away a twist or a turn that someone didn't see coming. I think The Truman show is definitely the "best" comparison, but in the future and in a really unique setting.

Normally, I can take or leave a Wil Wheaton narration. I've never hated them, but I haven't loved them either. I loved him in this. I thought he was perfect for Asher even to the point where I could sort of see Wil playing him in a movie/tv version of this. And the same goes for Katherine McNamara, I thought she absolutely nailed becoming Mission. There were a few times where I had to remind myself that this was a book and not a retelling of their life story. The narration was that good.

Overall, I really really enjoyed Vicarious. I think that Bruno knocked this one out of the park and this might be his most ambitious book along with being the best one I've read so far.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Mitch Johnson
  • 2021-04-16

5 stars across the board

I'm new to author Rhett C. Bruno but after finishing this masterpiece that will certainly change.

This book has some twist and turns so I can't speak to much about it. With that being said, it's April 2021 and this my 16th listen of the year. Without a doubt, it sits alone at the top.

Well written characters, a hint of mystery, a future world that could one day exist, love, consequences, and moral decisions all tightly packaged to the point where I literally could not stop.

I had to work at 5am and instead of stopping every hour like I told myself I would, I ended up listening until I literally had to get ready for work. Later on the same day after work, instead of going to bed early, I opted to finish it. I was a junkie and this was my fix.

I've seen it called The Truman Show meets Ready Player One and I agree; however, I think it has a little splash of Lost mixed into it as well. The part where you love the chapter / episode so much that you tell yourself just one more but at the end, you repeat the same phrase because it was so good. Before you know it, it's light outside.

The cover art is also brilliant and spot on. Whoever designed it should get a raise. It fits everything important about high earth into a single image. Well done.

If you are at all on the fence, let me be the first to tell you that this purchase was one of the best credits I have ever spent. I recommend you do the same. You won't regret it in the slightest.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Amy Wilder
  • 2021-04-29

ehhh.. it was ok.

Good enough story to listen to the end. Definitely not a book that you'll be raving about to your friends.

Best part of the book is the narration.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Gil T
  • 2021-04-22

Why Leave Your Apartment When You Can Go Virtually

Rhett as always tells a great story and in this case, he tells a very unique story and juxtaposes the stories within.
Asher Reinhart comes out of a hatching vat after space opens up in High Earth. As he awakens, he meets his VORA or Virtual Occupant Residency Aid. Certain information was part of the hatching which takes up to 10 years.

The first part of the story takes place as Asher gets used to his environment of High Earth and how he becomes a volunteer at one of the most watched shows called Ignis Live. You learn that he has helped make on the people on the show into its most watched star. Later you learn that the people on ‘spaceship’ were people who were delisted or kicked out of High Earth. Instead of living with the drags of humanity, they agree to have their minds wiped and believe they are in space and the last of humanity heading towards a new home. In reality, they are orbiting earth and being filmed at every moment.

We also learn about life on the Ignis, the main characters on the ship and the culture. If the culture is not followed, the people will be spaced or sent out an airlock. An example of this would be having a child by disabling the chip that stops reproduction. You see with limited resources only those with the best DNA qualities are allowed to reproduce.

For the 50th anniversary of the show, the creator, Craig Helix decides to create an emergency. By causing a whole block to have an issue, which would lead to a large loss of life. The main character of Ignis Live, Mission, is based out of that block. Asher is torn between saving Mission and possibly being delisted or letting it happen and killing the most watched character. Asher starts to realize that he actually cares for Mission. He thought High Earth was above such things when barely anyone leaves their apartments and most interactions are virtual.

Without giving anything away, Rhett really does a flip on things and goes into unexpected territory. I can see how some people would want a ‘happier’ ending but in truth this is a more realistic one.

Will and Katherine did a great job in this unique story.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony Marchini
  • 2021-04-26

It was an ok drama. Maybe not the best sci fi.

This work isn't bad and definitely shows yet another dystopian future based on watching videos. It makes for formulaic drama with a mild twist and an end that didn't make me sad.

For sci fi, there is a lot of science that's ignored. Future space suits don't seem process air very long. There is a monetary system based on literally nothing. Credits seem to "pay" for things but ultimately there's no appearant real cost for goods. Things are manufactured by machine, food is free. if you are smart enough to come up with an idea, society "pays" (with nothing but their tv watching time) to make the idea a reality. This seems to be good for status and possibly wealth, but I don't believe that jump is mentioned. The main character is a volunteer to his job which he excels at and possibly gains "something". like watching the show for free or something.
Transmission time between a satellite and earth seems too instantaneous for a director to manage remotely.
Eh.

The performance was ok but seemed like the performers should have shared notes on portrayal of certain people. Flipping between the actors separated the story well. Some confusion occurres between characters in a scene, which in my opinion, is due to not enough of a pause between people in a conversation.

6 people found this helpful

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  • RogueNPC
  • 2021-04-22

From Riches to Rags, for a good reason.

The story really wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting more of a grittier cyberpunk action type deal. It was an interesting start of a person born into everything and broken down to nothing to save it all. I liked all the setting, and enjoyed the story it told, even if it wasn't what I was expecting for my usual.

The beginning of the book is slow and clunky. What the description doesn't say and you don't figure out for a while is that Asher the MC (and all the people "chosen") is genetically born from a vat and have information uploaded to their mind. When their mind is at an age that comprehends enough of the high society data, they are "born" into the high society. The tech there is so advanced the people want for nothing, have all their needs met, and all the advanced tech they could ever want. There are VR games and shows aplenty. No one really ever needs to leave their apartments, but some do a bit. The story takes place as Asher is born into high society and takes extreme interest in a show called Ignis Live and a character in it named Mission. There it all begins.

The narration was pretty good. It definitely wasn't the best I've ever heard, but I didn't have a problem with it. I think mostly I relate Wil's main voice to a younger character type, so it somewhat didn't fit. He was able to voice multiple characters separately enough to distinguish each well. Katherine did a fine job as well.

5 people found this helpful

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  • V. C. Morrison
  • 2021-05-05

Thrilling and intriguing

This was a book that was very had to stop listening to. I felt this story.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tired of email spam
  • 2021-04-18

Ensign Crusher Narrates Books now? Yup!

So, I picked up this audiobook because well, Will Wheaton was one of the narrators. As a lifelong Trek fan, that was too interesting to pass up.

I'm really glad I did. This isn't a cut and dry, shoot 'em up sci-fi novel. Its got multiple layers of nuance, deep themes, and it makes you think.

Did I mention it makes you think? I'm still pondering stuff from this book. That's impressive.

Hats off to both narrators, and Rhett C. Bruno. I'll be listening to his other novels now, because this is one fine author.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • c utley
  • 2021-04-16

fine for background listen.

Average big holes in plot. one smart character
with curiosity could have fingered out what was going on well before the end

4 people found this helpful