All the Lives He Led

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Pohl, Frederik. All the Lives He Led. New York City: Tor, 2011. For award nomination, reprints, and reviews, see Internet Speculative Fiction Database, as of June 2024, here.[1]

From the on-line Kirkus Review:

As the world prepares to commemorate Pompeii's sad passing [with the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius], indentured American laborer Brad Sheridan finds himself slaving in a wine shop, wearing authentic costume and eating authentic Roman food, serving chemically concocted wine to the throngs of tourists enjoying the ambience of a virtually reconstructed Pompeii. So good is "virt" technology that it's not easy to distinguish real near-slaves like Brad from the virtual ancient Romans."[2]

For the subject of this Wiki, see for VR ("virtual reality") in an SF thriller by a self-taught expert on important aspects of ancient Rome (Pohl wrote the Encyclopedia [or Encyclopaedia] Britannica article on the Emperor Tiberius). More generally, note backstory, with the narrative "set in 2079, 17 years after a monstrous volcanic eruption in Yellowstone National Park has buried much of North America in ash and sent the U.S. reeling into third-world status. It’s also the 2,000th anniversary of the famous and destructive eruption of Mount Vesuvius."[3]

RDE, finishing (with thanks to JJP), 14/15Jun24