The Simulations by John Forelli

Published: 20th April 2015Goodreads badge
 Self published
Pages: 194
Format: Ebook
Genre: Science fiction
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

When Ray Ality arrives for a job interview at Simulations Inc. he’s immediately drawn to Delilah, the cute receptionist. Only one problem: she’s engaged.

Ray soon concocts a plan to win Delilah over, as he and his new, eccentric coworker Bob use the company’s software in an attempt to simulate the process of courting her. Ray soon discovers that the simulations aren’t exactly what he expected, and as he sinks deeper into virtual reality it becomes harder to distinguish real life from the imaginary.

This novel is Office Space meets The Matrix–an existential discourse told among keyboards and cubicles. 

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

From the moment he began working at Simulations Inc, Ray’s focus has been on getting the attention of building receptionist, Delilah. He goes to a lot of trouble just to work out how to chat to a woman who is just downstairs, and one he knows has a fiancé, so if anything he isn’t the most moralistic of people. But while there are some issues with what he is doing, Forelli creates a curious story about the lengths a man goes to trying to date a woman and his escape into the virtual world rather than the real one.

There is not much to this story aside from following Ray’s quest to get Delilah, and most of his colleagues offer little extra to the story but they play their roles and aide with novel progression. The characters are eccentric, making for a very strange work environment where it seems nothing ever gets done, and Ray spends a lot of his time critiquing and finding fault with those around him; not in any malicious way, but he does judge them rather frequently.

Snippets of information are revealed about the characters that make them quirky but they still have little to no depth. Their roles are one dimensional and they are single-faceted at times which makes you have little concern about them. Bob is the one that gets the most attention of all Ray’s colleagues and he is quite crass in his behaviour and conversation. Admittedly he made me cringe with his behaviour but you take him in your stride and just bear with it.

The writing is good and the language is knowledgable and detailed and Forelli uses descriptions of characters and the environment well to bring the story to form. There are numerous pop culture references throughout and while the humour is a little offensive and childish, it is attributed more to character traits rather than the novel overall.

I did think Forelli was going to take a different approach with this story than he did, more complicated and detailed rather than the sole focus it took. I didn’t get the sense something was going to happen exactly, but after awhile the repetition takes its toll and you realise the narrative is not going to get much more complicated. There are discussions about what is real and what is not, and whether virtual reality and what’s inside your mind is any less real than the actual world, but these insights did nothing but offer justification to Ray’s quest.

From an essentially repetitive story, the ending comes along quite quickly, as if the story suddenly speeds up to finish. This was unexpected but it was good in a way because it thrust the story into action and brought to light Ray’s obsession which had been developing quietly in the background. From here the end is kind of confusing and inconclusive and while you can make assumptions on its meaning, they seem farfetched without any basis or solid indication in the story to cling to. If there is a deeper meaning or revelation to be had then it hasn’t been made clear and if there isn’t then the ending just seems out of place. Overall this was an enjoyable story with a curious concept that makes you wonder about the capacity of the virtual world.

You can purchase The Simulations via the following


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