A Novel by Donald J. Bingle
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Says Ed Greenwood, Creator of The Forgotten Realms and Author of the bestselling Elminster novels: "I loved it! Many writers have explored hard-hitting and brutal possible futures for Earth, and told colorful tales of people trying to stay alive in them, but few have brought such imagined futures as vividly to life as Don Bingle -- and no other book I can think of examines how and why such a future might just happen as well as FORCED CONVERSION does -- or provides half the breath-catching twists and turns of Bingle's yarn. A 'good read' of the old school, coupled with all-too-plausible reasons for everything. A grim warning and a fast action adventure tale, all in one! Highly recommended!"
Says Jean Rabe, Author of The Dhamon Saga: "Though this is Donald Bingle's first novel, it reads like the work of a seasoned thriller author. Forced Conversion is filled with plenty of suspense and surprises, deep and quirky characters, and engaging dialog. It is not easy to set down, so read it when you have time on your hands. It is a helluva trip into the realm of virtual reality."
Forced Conversion is set in the near future, at a time when mankind has largely retreated to the realms of virtual reality, where resources are unlimited and the problems of the real world--violence, conflict, sickness, and pain--can all be avoided. Everyone can have heaven, any heaven they want, but some people dont want to go. Unfortunately, those who stay behind in the real world pose a risk to the immortality of those in the virtual worlds. Derek, a soldier in the Conversion Forces (ConFoes), seeks to enforce the Mandatory Conversion Act on the remaining mals (malcontent Luddites, gangbangers, and religious fanatics). He just wants to put in his time and join his family on one of the virtual worlds. But until then, he is forced to deal with his psychotic squad-mates, the increasingly brutal tactics of the ConFoes, a mal ambush, a hermit who doesnt want to choose between conversion and death, a female Lieutenant from a mal religious faction, and a group of scientists still trying desperately to finish up their research in the real world. In addition, the ConFoes tactics trigger a holy march on the secure site housing the computers in which the rest of humanity blithely exists in virtual reality.
Here's a scene from the book:
Derek made no move to stand. "You remember, Kyle, I said there was a Mandatory Conversion Act?"
Now the old man was clearly riled. Kyles face grew beet red and his gnarled hands curled into tight fists. He strode abruptly up to his still sitting guest, bending down to meet Dereks impassive gaze face-to-face. "You go to hell, boy! You go to some damn virtual hell! I aint on no welfare and I aint usin anybody elses resources or costin the damn government a single, solitary damn dime. So you just git off my mountain and tell them I aint interested." He spun around with amazing alacrity for his age and marched over to the partially open door. He grabbed the inside latch and pulled the door fully open, stepping back and to the side as he did, turning back so as to face his no longer welcome guest, his movements as much a demand for departure as his angry words.
Derek had half closed his eyes during the exchange to keep out the spittle flying from the old mans mouth as he shouted. He began to speak as he turned toward his angry host. "Everyone has to make a choice . . . " His words suddenly faltered mid-sentence. He was no more ready for the sight that greeted him at the door than was the irate old man.Silhouetted by the bright sunlight was a lithe woman in a gray jumpsuit cradling an automatic weapon. Her brown hair fluttered in the breeze, revealing a small scar along her jaw-line that made her pale features look somehow less delicate without ruining her stern beauty. She stepped slightly forward and put her left foot down so that her boot would block any attempt to shut the door on her. She trained her weapon on the stupefied ConFoe and turned her head slightly toward the startled cabin-dweller around the edge of the door. "Mr. Williger was about to explain that you have to choose between immediate conversion and immediate death. Id like to discuss expanding your menu of alternatives."
"Technology can be a wonderful thing when it's not ruining the world completely."
More on Don's writing at http://www.donaldjbingle.com or click the links below.