So Anorak ensures that everyone who exceeded their ONI use counter would just pass out and not get SOS—but Wade got SOS?

Also, Shoto is seen as showing the symptoms of SOS an hour before his usage counter runs out. So why did Wade get it?

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    I was quite bothered by the SOS problem, but for different reasons. Not really worried about "why Wade and nobody else" - it could easily be that Anorak programmed things to affect Wade's ONI differently due to Anorak's need for Wade to get the 7 shards to give to Anorak, etc. But my impression from the initial ONI description and usage is that all users were limited to 12 hours at a time to play it safe and that, under normal circumstances, no harm would happen with a 12-on/12-off cycle day after day and that literally billions of people were doing that as an escape from reality, Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 17:22
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    including Wade. Arguably, as with many other diseases or similar things (think: time limits for pilots or truck drivers), no harm would happen right at 12 hours but rather it was an accumulated effect (multiple instances) and increased with time (12 hours = no effect, perhaps 13 hours a little problem, 24 hours guaranteed problem - or 13 hours for many days guaranteed problem). Based on that, Wade should not have had any symptoms at all until after 12 hours (after all, he regularly used the full 12 hours) and then it would take a few hours to become severe. Which could have been worked Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 17:26
  • into the plot easily enough as the only key ONI users at the end were Wade and Og, and Og was only in for a short time. Except that something would have to be done (perhaps simply recording them as happening to start a little later in the infirmware timeframe) for L0hengrin, et al. Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


Different people got symptoms of SOS at different points - Wade struggled with the full 12 hours:

Some users could do a full twelve hours every day with no ill effects, but I wasn’t one of them. I always tried to log out before I hit the half-hour-remaining mark, to avoid the risk of giving myself the shakes or a migraine. (p106)

The auto logout at 12 hours appeared to prevent death or permanent harm, but not necessarily the early symptoms. By the time of the last Oasis battle, Wade is close to 12 hours, but hadn't quite hit the limit:

He could probably tell that I was already suffering the effects of Synaptic Overload Syndrome, as a result of being logged in for nearly twelve straight hours. (p340)

  • Okay, but why didn’t Wade just switch off like everyone else? He was definitely above his usage counter. Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 16:02
  • He wouldn't then be able to press the off switch or do anything else to influence events. From memory, not sure if anyone could choose to log out, or if it was just the automatic process when they hit the 12 hour limit?
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 16:18
  • Anorak said it was automatic so Wade should’ve just passed out and not got SOS Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 16:23
  • He was just under 12 hours - have edited my answer.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 16:30
  • Time must stretch out quite a lot- he said he had 10 minutes left just before Og was shot. Also why when he woke up, then, did he have to go to hospital? Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 16:34

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