The Universe Wide Web: 1. Getting Started
Simon J. Morley

This is a young adult sci-fi adventure thriller. When Jack Smart stumbled across the intergalactic internet, known as the Universe Wide Web, little did he realise what adventures and dangers lay ahead.

The Universe Wide Web differs from World Wide Web; it’s an actual place, somewhere out there in the ether, that you enter for real. And you can use it to click, and travel, instantaneously, to anywhere in the universe. The Universe Wide Web has web-rooms, chat rooms, web-games, trading sites; it’s a huge, labyrinthine place full of alien creatures, and strange technologies and ideas. It has millions of users – creatures from all over the universe; though only one person from earth has ever logged on.

Jack discovers that his deceased father, an astro-physicist, was not only the first earth based user of the Universe Wide Web, but also worked on its technology design, and held the security code that is at its core. This code holds the key to controlling the Universe Wide Web. This importance of this security code is such that it brings with it danger from many unscrupulous creatures trying to steal it. Jack is drawn into a series of adventures and encounters as creatures try to discover whether Jack knows what his father knew. His life is in danger. Who will help him?

Along the way Jack has to learn to use the mind-browser – the interface to the Universe Wide Web that taps into your conscious. He also learns how to use Universe Wide Web apps, such as the stealth app that lets the user move invisibly, or apps that bring avatars to life. He also plays on-line games – virtual games the players take part in for real.

These adventures and encounters – some dangerous, all strange – take Jack onto the Universe Wide Web and to planets in the far corner of the universe. This eventually culminates in a battle to save the Universe Wide Web from pirate take-over – and only Jack has the means to save the Universe Wide Web.

The Universe Wide Web: 1. Getting Started book cover

Brilliantly priced and a very enjoyable family-friendly kid saves the world story, and if not the world, he at least saves the uniweb (which is the whole point of the story – a great intergalactic Internet with physical transportation built-in).

There were some howling editorial issues: the section of the human torso, from below the chest to above the waist is the “mid-rift”, assuming too much makes you “assumptive” (not technically incorrect if read very literally but it’s an archaic term outside law and salesmanship), and small flashes of light were “slithers”.

Apart from a little grammatical cleaning though it was very enjoyable. I think it’ll hit a little young of the teen market, unless your teens are seriously closeted (or devout), it does really have a great innocence about it with a brief drug-induced scene to gradually get you into the grit of reality and an initial exploration of death which is handled neatly for the less mature reader. Overall, the sort of story I’d be happy to give my less bloodthirsty kids, when they’re approaching secondary school. Very British, too, in the writing – nothing overt, but that’s the sense I came away with.
Certainly recommended for the right young person.

Published by Sean Randall

I am an avid reader, technologist and disability advocate living in the middle of England with my wife, daughter and pets.

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