Review by author Donald O'Donovan
"The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans is a strange and wonderful book. Fizzy Oceans, the heroine, thinks outside the box. But she doesn't stop there. Fizzy lives outside the box.
Fizzy lives, as the title indicates, in a virtual world, where many of the limitations of our so-called real life are absent. In Virtual Life, as opposed to Physical Life, there's no gravity, no disease, no aging, and you can travel through space and time, sans passport, with just a click--whoosh--of a button. You can be who you want to be, go where you want to go, and yet The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans is not a science fiction novel for the simple reason that the technology that Fizzy and her virtual friends enjoy exists on the Internet now.
Fizzy Oceans herself is our narrator. Her style is breezy and conversational--Author David A. Ross has a great ear for dialogue--and the result is a light and frolicsome narrative freighted with serious content that is easily ingested, thanks to Fizzy's unfailing good humor, playfulness and wisdom.
Those of us who grew up with video games drove go-karts, leapt tall buildings and battled Koopa Troopas in the person of Mario. But why let somebody else get your kicks for you? In Fizzy's virtual world you get to custom sculpt your own personal avatar (called an emulation), a digital alter ego that has the characteristics you choose.
What about sex, you may wonder (I know I did). Not a problem. At a virtual venue appropriately called the Sex Dungeon a delightfully uninhibited Fizzy gets it on with the hunky emulation of a Polish baker whose Physical Life body is in Krakow, while her Physical Life body, a bookish 37-year-old medical clerk named Amy Birkenstock, is tucked away in a stuffy office in Seattle.
The literature of escape abounds with tales of lost civilizations populated by beings who were who were able to communicate telepathically, teleport their bodies, and move freely about on the astral plane. Fizzy Oceans, as a representative of the new virtual culture, does it all, with ease and aplomb. In a world without boundaries she gets up close and personal with some of history's finest (and some of the sickest) minds, including Mark Twain, Mahatma Gandhi and Saddam Hussein, as she takes the pulse of our tottering civilization and strives for a peek at what the future may hold. According to Fizzy, there is hope:
"Perhaps we can kill ourselves with negligence and stupidity, and maybe we can render our beloved and fragile planet inhospitable, but...we can't extinguish the current of love, no matter how hard we try."
Review by author Teri Louise Kelly
"Welcome to the VL. Could be a soldier's throwaway to new arrivals in a hot war zone, however, in David A. Ross's take on the future/present/past it's simply a cordial (emulative) gesture of greeting to those about to undertake a tour of duty in the embryonic fluid that is virtuality. Ross's characterisation is (as one would expect from an experienced author with an impressive array of published scalps under his belt) sharp, although not to the point of conceit. Of course in a "make believe" world anything is possible and as such the author can be permitted transgressions or fantasies - Ross though sticks to his objective as doggedly as a virtual whore in VL Amsterdam or an escort in Heaven.
From cybersex to the fall (& virtual re-building) of Rome the Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans becomes, quite unexpectedly, one's historical guide to humanity, leading inevitably through Ross's mastery of the form, to the reader being drawn ever deeper into the illusion (reality?) that is virtuality. It is this blending of the line between what the reader reads and simultaneously thinks, that gives Ross's work the qualities of speculative and literary fictions combined - resulting in a pastiche of prose-lined streets with obvious and clandestine sub textual alleyways - where publishing supersedes itself. Confused? Well wait, there's more, lost in space is one thing - but lost in the VL is another matter altogether - unless you're fortunate enough to stumble across Mark Twain . . . or Gandhi . . . or . . .
Historical and cultural icons abound, many re-configured, many with post real-life wisdom to impart, and again this smearing of past into present into future creates a veritable sink of conflicting and confounding data streams. But, as readers we must glean something from a tome; whether that something is excitement, sadness or knowledge is, by and large, irrelevant - in Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans we acquire fluidity (no pun intended), the opportunity through word, to indulge, digest, submerge and float in the best of all worlds consecutively - regardless of the twists and turns those worlds (or outcomes) may present.
Ross challenges his readers to accompany him on a trip - what that trip is however changes just as rapidly as the world we co-exist within in real time - that perhaps is Ross's forte, his ability to ingest and then regurgitate life into a carnal caricature of itself - shifting dimensions as seamlessly as any pro avatar. The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans may yet go on to become a part of history itself, and Ross himself perhaps onto being heralded as some kind of prophetic deity . . . the man who saw the world perhaps?"
Review by actor Roy Sexton
"In this day and age of lightspeed communication and technology that knits together a social media-fed world and blurs the lines of virtual reality and, well, real reality, David Ross' "Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans" is a tonic. Through satire, whimsy, and a clearly defined central narrator, Ross paints a portrait of a world lived in escape as elements of history are plucked and observed in a kind hazy electronic dreamworld. The internet in its present incarnation promises us the ability now to visit any moment in time (via youtube, wikipedia, and other instant resources) but those moments are often divorced from context. Imagine a world where you can immerse yourself in those moments, not only divorced from their historical timeline but from your living room as well. That is Fizzy's/Amy's existence/escape. That is the utopian/dystopian setting Ross creates. The novel is a zippy (dare I say, fizzy) read, offering the reader both entertainment and provocation. Definitely worth exploring this virtual life as documented by Ross' expert hand."