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.