Virtually Dead by Peter May. Poisoned Pen, 2010
Taking place both in Second Life (SL) and Real Life (RL), a series of brutal murders of real people and their SL avatars creates a mystery on several levels.

Michael Kapinsky has been grieving the death of his wife for too long, and has recently returned to work as a forensic crime photographer. His therapist invites him to participate in group therapy sessions in Second Life. He joins and creates his avatar, Chas Chesnokov, a Brad Pitt look-alike. Although the learning curve is steep, he makes some SL friends and immediately and involuntarily becomes involved with the Twist of Fate Detective Agency. A series of bizarre murders puzzles everyone: an SL avatar is killed by three shots to the chest, and the RL "owner" of the avatar is killed at the same time, in the same way - all people Michael knows. Who can it be? And how did all traces of the "dead" avatars' existence on the Linden Lab servers get removed, and their SL money get deposited to other accounts?

The writing is unremarkable and the plot is predictable; however the venue is novel.


The big switch : rewiring the world, from Edison to Google , by Nicholas Carr. W. W. Norton & Co., c2008.

My brother recommended I read this, saying it might apply to what I do at work. It's a comparison of the development of the Internet and World Wide Web with the development of the electric grid, from individual water wheels and generators to electricity plants that provide power for everyone. When presented that way, social networking, cloud computing and Google's stated plans for the future sure look like they're moving in that direction! Instead of every business and individual having their own servers, they will rent server space from computing utilities, who can provide it cheaply using the economy of scale. The Internet will be the server, and we will all tap into the World Wide Computer with thin clients. (Come to think of it, I was thinking of this very thing when I bought the Dell Mini 9 - of using Slideshare and Google Docs instead of the hard drive.)