This Dragon Award winner does not disappoint! If you want the non-liberal, non-teen-angst version of Ready Player One, this is it!
From the start you might wonder just what the heck is going on. A flood of mostly familiar, but slightly altered, corporatrade extravagances are presented to you as the smorgasbord platter of delights available to an up-and-coming MMORPG Dev named Ninety-Nine Fishbein (yeah, that’s his real name). If you didn’t understand that last sentence, you may be in for a head-spin. If you can hold on for the ride, though, you are in for a treat!
Imagine a very near future where corporatism propped up by government nanny-state-ism has become the norm for that majority of the population. In a world of technological wonders and better than average living conditions, an unmotivated populous allows itself to be herded into dead end living arrangements that it ignores because of the freebies it gets. I’m not sure how this state of affairs manages to support itself. Maybe it’s the machines that are doing all the work. Of course, that means you need smarter, more sophisticated, machines. And that, as we all know, means Terminators. Only this one calls itself SILAS. Not sure why.
The story is an action packed page turner that takes you into the lives of the denizens of this world during the advent of a cybergeddon. And, as you would imagine, most of it takes place inside the worlds of video games such as Star Trek Empires and the soon to be released Island Pirates!. [No, these are not real, but they SHOULD BE!]
The plot is awesome, the characters vivid, and the action non-stop on multiple fronts. The only negatives that keep me from giving it that fifth star is the politi-bombs and the double-take ending. By politi-bombs, I mean the political ideas that hit me in the face and threw me out of the story (not that I had angst from the ideas, but they were just too blatant – which I find irritating no matter what the flavor). I could have overlooked that, being that it was a major part of the story’s background and world-building, but… The ending was going very well, then ‘poof’ I got hit with two major new concepts without lead-in or explanation. It didn’t make it bad, it just kicked me out at the end of a very exciting moment. That made the dropped star necessary.
Still, this book was a delight to read. I’ve not had a page turner that kept me awake to find out what happens next in quite a while. I give this on four stars and call it a Super Charged Read!