by Jeff Deck
Ebook: 277 pages
Publisher: Jeff Deck (January 2015)
In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.
This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
Jeff Deck’s first book was nonfiction, a fascinating work about typos in the US, the kind of books I really enjoy. I reviewed The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time in my earlier blogging days. So Jeff kindly offered me his latest book, Player Choice. Seeing the potential connections with Ready Player One, I could not let this deal pass. And I am so happy to present it to you today.
You can incidentally admire Jeff for his patience, as I received his book in February… But with the IFFP and what not…
The book opens with game designer Glen, in his 30s, on his way to propose Novamundas, a new fantasy epic game “with nearly infinitive player choice”. His game is so innovative that he is not sure it will be accepted. Besides, he has the premonition he needs to get out of the train, otherwise he may die. Something does occur, and from then on, weird things start happening to him, throwing him at the limits of reality/virtuality, between memories and dreams, between your past and present experience, and between simultaneous realities.
I really enjoy how the author, who does freelance work writing and editing dialogues for video games, translated the idea of how dangerous it can be to take video/virtual gaming to its extreme level. It is indeed very dangerous for Glen, and you will have to read the book to see why and what he has to face, with what consequences.
Suffice it to say that here google cars have become common, and if you think Siri can be spooky, what about having a “celph helper” (cool name for that concept) pop up virtually around you? Do you find news and ads invasive? Wait until visual notebooks, google glasses and apple watch have kind of mixed together and are now implanted in your brain, so that these things not only scream outside your head but also inside your head. And what if your implants were hacked?
Dangers can also come from groups who try to go against the flow: the Free, who resist these neural implants, and the Naturalists, who hate all form of technology. They may be ready to do anything to defend their way of thinking and living.
The theme of the double is common in literature. I think it was brilliant to develop it here in the context of our technological society, and look more closely along these lines at the ideas of real self and identity, and reality/virtuality. In that sense, I could feel elements in this book reminding me not only of Ready Player Choice (a must!), but also of Murakami, and even Darth Vader.
How am I defining “real”? Does it have a texture?
Yes, words can raise the dead, if only fr a short time. And how could I resist power like that? Every good storyteller’s a goddamn necromancer.
Ultimately, the book calls you to a metaphysical choice between a virtuality full of thrills, allowing you to believe you can escape your past, your self, things you don’t like in real life, and between a more subdued way of living where you may have the chance to make a little difference in the real world by helping others.
VERDICT: A fast-paced sci-fi thrilling account on how far video gaming can lead to. Be warned when you enter, you may not be able to go out, but in the meantime you will enjoy a fascinating book. Highly recommended to all geeks.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
Player Choice is a fast-paced gaming sci-fi adventure that dares to ask: What happens when unreality becomes our reality? [Goodreads]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK ON VIRTUAL LIFE/GAMES?
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Very interesting. Especially your closing thought (and the book’s theme) that the true game choice is to engage more in the real world by helping others. This metaphysical choice of which world to belong to is definitely too close for comfort!
this is based on the end of the book itself. Quite scary actually to see that we end up facing that type of choice!
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Great review, Emma! I think this is the kind of story I could become quite lost in, actually. I love metaphysical choices, where, in the end the lines between reality and virtuality are pretty much blurred, and those stories always make me think.
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so I think you would really love this one, all this in a geeky context! great combo!