There was a sci-fi/fantasy series I read years ago. The main premise is a technologically advanced society that somehow managed to access an alternative sword and sorcery type world. "Actors" would be sent over to this other world and their experiences would be streamed back to the original world to be enjoyed in VR by the masses.

The main character is a fighter type though he eventually develops a very personal style of magic. His ex wife is also an actor and he is still in love with her. She eventually becomes the Goddess of a river or something. There is a very powerful sorcerer king type in this other world who eventually figures out what is going on.

Any one remember the name/author? Thank you!

  • Just to confirm, you're asking about a book series here, correct? And in roughly which year/s did you read it? Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


Possibly Matthew Stover's Caine Heroes Die?

The novels are set in a future dystopia Earth where a parallel world called Overworld reminiscent of the worlds featured in post-Tolkien secondary world fantasy has been discovered. The corporations that run Earth send actors into Overworld in order to provide the masses of an overcrowded world with virtual-reality entertainment.

Hari Michaelson is a famous Actor and son of a now-mentally ill libertarian professor. On Overworld, he is the assassin Caine, while his estranged wife Shanna is another Actor, playing the mage Pallas Ril. Actors who travel to Overworld through advanced technology and assume an alternate persona which they then use to carry out 'adventures'. Pallas is captured by Ma'elKoth, the Emperor of Overworld's human kingdom of Ankhana, on one of her adventures. Ma'elKoth's plan to rule Ankhana by wiping out a final resistance group is blocked by a spell that causes others to forget the existence of the resistance group's members. The remainder of the book plays out the conflict between Ma'elKoth, Caine and the resistance. Hari finds himself manipulated by both the powers on Overworld and the Studio on Earth, and must defeat them both in order to save himself and Pallas Ril from death.

The The Acts of Caine series is up to 4 books and a novella, but you may have read it when there were only three books.


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