Hey blog world! Today I’m hosting the Otherworld blog tour. Otherworld is out now from Delacorte. Enjoy the extract below.
Martin puts the suitcase on top of the tray at the end of Kat’s bed and cracks it open. The interior of the case is black foam, with custom compartments carved out. If this were a movie, there would be an unassembled sniper’s rifle inside. But this case contains a thin, dark visor and a circle of flesh-colored plastic.
I move in closer. They don’t seem to mind. “What is it?” The visor is interesting, but I’ve never seen anything like the plastic circle before.
“The hardware doesn’t have an official name yet,” says Martin. “That’s how new it is. Right now, we’re just calling it the disk. The guy who designed the software used to call it the White City. Run his software on our hardware and you’ve got the next generation of virtual reality.”
My heart sinks. Virtual reality makes for great games, but it isn’t going to cure anything.
“Did you just say next generation?” Todd scoffs. “Give me a break. It’s a quantum leap forward.” He looks over at me. “Our labs are always five to seven years ahead of consumer release. We generally stagger innovation to maximize profits. But this time the tech is too important. The boss doesn’t want commerce to keep it away from the people who need it.”
“The boss. You mean Milo Yolkin?” He’s not even here, and yet I suddenly feel like I’m in the presence of a divine being.
“What other boss could I mean?” Todd says with a laugh that almost seems bitter. “The Company is Milo’s kingdom. Though I think he prefers Otherworld these days.”
I get the feeling Todd isn’t Milo’s biggest fan. I suppose it must be hard working for one of the world’s greatest geniuses— especially an infamous micromanager who’s known for person- ally overseeing every Company project.
“I actually played the new Otherworld with Kat this weekend,” I tell them. Was it really this weekend? It feels like it’s been forever.
“And you made it out of your bedroom?” Martin jokes. “I’ve heard the Otherworld headset app is so addictive there are twenty- year-old guys buying cases of Depends diapers so they don’t need to waste any time in the real world.”
“Yeah.” Todd nods. “They say sales of Soylent are going through the roof too. Do you think it would be insider trading if I bought a few shares of the company?”
Martin shrugs. “Not my wheelhouse,” he says. “Ask HR.”
I tap the suitcase, trying to steer the conversation back on track. “So this is next-generation VR hardware. You’re saying it’s more advanced than the new Otherworld headset?”
“Light-years,” Martin confirms.
“It’s our masterpiece. Martin and I have been working on it for ages,” says Todd. Then his tone shifts and I’m reminded that, despite his frat boy behavior, he works for one of the most powerful corporations on earth. “It’s going to make a real difference in people’s lives. The disk was designed for people who are unable to move on their own. It frees them from the prison of their bodies and allows them to explore a world as real as this one.” If I didn’t know better, I’d wonder if he was reading off the Company’s website.
“Can I try it?” I ask.