OTHERWORLD

SFX - - Reviews - Sarah Dobbs

re­leased OUT NOW! 368 pages | Hard­back/ebook

Au­thors Ja­son segel, Kirsten Miller Pub­lisher rock The Boat Vir­tual re­al­ity game Otherworld is so ad­dic­tive its play­ers never want to stop. Not to go to work. Not to go to school. It’s so ad­dic­tive that play­ers don’t want to have to stop to eat, or even to go to the toi­let. And thanks to an ex­per­i­men­tal new pe­riph­eral de­signed by the ob­nox­iously named Com­pany, some of them might not be able to. When delin­quent teen Si­mon re­alises his best friend Kat is trapped in­side the game, he logs on to save her – but he dis­cov­ers this game is deadly, both in Otherworld and IRL.

Co-au­thors Kirsten Miller and Ja­son Segel (yes, that Ja­son Segel, the one in How I Met Your Mother) clearly know their way around games and gam­ing cul­ture, be­cause Otherworld feels like some­thing peo­ple might re­ally want to play. It’s end­lessly imag­i­na­tive, and deeply scary. Main char­ac­ter Si­mon feels real, too: he’s not all that like­able when you’re first in­tro­duced, but watch­ing his self-cen­tred care­less­ness slowly evolve into some­thing no­bler over the course of the novel feels com­pelling.

With any luck, that’ll mean Otherworld’s other char­ac­ters get a bit more at­ten­tion in the up­com­ing se­quel, too, be­cause what we get of them here isn’t quite sat­is­fy­ing. Still, if you wanted to like Ready Player One when it came out, but found its end­less pop cul­ture ref­er­ences grat­ing, this is prob­a­bly the book you were hop­ing for.

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