Book Review: Alice in Virtuality

By: Norman Turrell

Available on: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Blurb: A guy downloads an AI program from the DarkWeb and it gets weird, fast.

Trigger Warnings:

Badly Written Women, Bastardization of Culture, Bullying, Plot Holes the Size of a Canadian Province, Poor Coping Mechanisms

Body Count: 0

The Specs:

  • Genre
    • Technical Genre: Cyberpunk Science Fiction, Science Fiction Adventure, Teen & Young Adult EBooks
    • Theo Genre: Short Story, Cyberpunk, Sci-Fi
  • Page count: 152 pages/567 KB in ebook
  • POV: Limited 3rd
  • Publication information:
    • Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language:  English
    • ASIN: B006RXUGTY

Other Fun Stuff:

To Read or Not To Read (Again):

Donated, not quite bad enough to be considered Furniture Support

Rating out of five: 2.5 out of 5

Representation, Morality, and Sexism Tests:

  • Bechdel–Wallace Test
    • Purpose: to establish actual female characters that act independently of male characters in a story.
      • Do two female characters talk about something other than a male character? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • DuVernay Test:
    • Purpose: to establish characters of color in a story.
      • Are there fully actualized characters of color? No
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Ellen Willis Test:
    • Purpose: to show balance in characters regardless of gender.
      • Would two related characters still work to carry the story if their genders were reversed? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Hays Code Test:
    • Purpose: to ignore outdated and queer-degrading/punishing standards that once were the standard for produced mass media.
    • Part One: outdated moral guidelines
      • Are there any outdated “moral content” rules gloriously kicked in the teeth by this story? No
      • Are there people of color allowed a happy ending?
      • Is there an interracial couple? No
      • Is there profanity used at all? Not really
      • Is there one or more homicidal acts and/or murder? Not in the real world
    • Part Two: queer representation
      • Are there queer characters that get a happy ending? No
      • Is there an illegal or otherwise distasteful age gap between characters, queer or otherwise? No, thankfully
      • Do the queer characters die tragically, violently, or at all? No.
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Mako Mori Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that in the story there is at least one female character independent of a male character’s story.
      • Is there a female character? Yes
      • Does she get her own arc? No
      • Does it do anything other than serve to support a man’s story? No
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Sexy Lamp Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that a female character in the story serves as an active protagonist, not just a device to be used by the male main character.
      • Would the plot fall apart if the female character was replaced by a sexy looking lamp? Probably?
    • Post-It Note Caveat:
      • Would the character be able to be replaced by a Sexy Lamp with a sticky note on it for information conveyance? No
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Tauriel Test:
    • Purpose: to help support the existence of competent, independent female characters regardless of a romantic sub-plot.
      • Is there at least one woman in the story? Yes
      • Is this woman competent in her chosen occupation and not immediately shown up by a newcomer male character? Yes
      • If she has or develops a love interest during the story, either implied or explicitly stated, does she suddenly abandon her job and/or chosen path to support or pursue said love interest?  No
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Vito Russo Test:
    • Purpose: to establish more characters that are on the SAGA (Sexuality And Gender Acceptance), QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) or LGBTQIAP+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual/Biromantic/Bigender, Transgender, Queer/Genderqueer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, Pansexual/Panromantic, and others not listed here) spectrum.
      • Is there a character on the queer spectrum? No
      • Are they a character beyond their orientation? Not applicable
      • Do they actually affect the plot? Not applicable
      • Is the character something beyond a punchline? Not applicable
    • Pass or Fail: Fail

Overall review:

Thoughts: Ho-boy. Okay, so I love down the rabbit hole stories. I mean, my blog is Postmark Wonderland for crying out loud. But this one took the vague idea of the Red and White Queens and made them veritable pawns for male amusement. I thought it might be a culture gap thing, overall, between American and British ways of life. There were a lot of little quirks that immediately made it clear that the author was not American. But the way the author wrote about and towards women was frankly frightening and reminded me far too much of the stalker ex-boyfriend I’ve had to block on every single social media platform. Even the opening was a little too “scorned white knight” for my palette. I don’t believe I would willingly read this story again.

That being said, I did read it in one sitting and wanted to know what the hell happened. So while I didn’t like the writing style, it was engaging as hell, even for a short story.

Was it engaging?


Favorite Character:

Alice 2.0

Review format updated 5 March 2019

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Alice in Virtuality

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