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New science fiction novel asks intriguing questions about the boundries between the real and virtual worlds

Artificial Intelligence is a subject getting more and more attention in the news – with stories such as AI news readers being able to work 24 hours a day as well as developments in health and security. The Xandra Function is a novel that deals with AI in an intriguing way and questions the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds.


Based in a dark-edged near future where corporations have become ever more powerful, The Xandra Function tells the story of Fran McCallister, a games designer, who has spent five years developing the most powerful virtual reality game ever created.

A first-person-experience computer game, players enter the mystical world of Marjaalia, where they can either take on the role of Sirios the Thieftaker, who is intent on gaining revenge for her brother's murder, or An-Ra the Shapeshifter, who must bring Sirios before the Emperor in three days, or her lover will die.

However, Fran's dreams of giving game-players a truly immersive adventure are ruined when the software company she works for sells the game to a mystery buyer who wants it for a completely different - and very much darker - purpose.

Author Justina Roberts described the novel as “intrigue and romance suffuse this SF thriller with warmth and charm. It brings the age-old tales of the relationship between artists and their creations up to date as game avatars collide with their human gods.”

“At a time when computer games are becoming such a big part of popular culture, The Xandra Function outlines a possible- and disturbing - future. Will computer games become so real that the world inside the game is as real as the world outside it? And what would happen if the characters started to live their own lives?” says author, Alan Cash.

In his first science fiction novel, The Janus Effect, published in 2005 and describes by journalist and writer Nick Daws as a “fast paced SF with echoes of The Matrix and Dr Who... very interesting speculations about the nature of time travel... intelligent SF... a good read,”  Alan Cash explored a future where eugenics was the dominant philosophy and time travel was possible. The Xandra Function continues his thought provoking and intriguing slant on the genre with another fast-paced adventure.