Sub­texts Ernest Cline reads from his lat­est sci-fi ad­ven­ture tale, Ar­mada, at the Jean Cocteau

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Ernest Cline presents Ar­mada Gamers re­joice! All that screen time may have ac­tu­ally trained you to fight off hordes of alien in­vaders who are hover­ing, in their UFOs, over your lo­cal high school. In Ernest Cline’s lat­est sci­ence-fic­tion ad­ven­ture tale, Ar­mada, the teenage Zack Lightman spots a UFO out the win­dow of his math class, and then he and a band of like-minded gam­ing devo­tees save Earth from in­va­sion, a bat­tle for which they’ve been specif­i­cally pre­pared be­cause, nat­u­rally, the alien air­ships are ex­actly like the ones from the fic­tional flight­sim­u­la­tor game Zack has been play­ing. The con­cept is not as far-fetched as it might sound: Sci­ence-fic­tion au­thors have a knack for pre­dict­ing the fu­ture of tech­nol­ogy — from Ed­ward Bel­lamy’s 1888 fore­telling of debit cards (Look­ing Back­wards) to Hugo Gernsback’s 1911 con­cep­tion of video­con­fer­enc­ing. Ar­mada deals in quan­tum-data tele­por­ta­tion and 3-D drone print­ing, tech­nolo­gies that, ac­cord­ing to Cline, were sci­ence fic­tion when he be­gan the book and re­al­ity be­fore he com­pleted it. Ar­mada also con­tains plenty of ref­er­ences to vin­tage sci-fi and video games, a strong fa­ther-son re­la­tion­ship, and a ro­man­tic sub­plot in which Zack falls for a girl gamer who saves him dur­ing an alien at­tack. Cline is the author of the wildly pop­u­lar futuristic vir­tual-re­al­ity yarn, Ready Player One (Crown/Pen­guin Ran­dom House, 2011), now be­ing made into a movie by Steven Spiel­berg. He owns a DeLorean that is a replica of the time-trav­el­ing car in the movie Back to the Fu­ture, which Ge­orge R.R. Martin once bor­rowed from him to dis­play in front of the Jean Cocteau Cin­ema dur­ing a re­vival screen­ing of the Michael J. Fox clas­sic. Cline reads from Ar­mada at the Jean Cocteau (418 Mon­tezuma Ave., 505-466-5528) at 5 p.m. on Sun­day, April 17. Ad­mis­sion to the read­ing is $10 ($26 with the pur­chase of a paper­back edi­tion of Ar­mada). For more in­for­ma­tion or to re­serve tick­ets, visit www.jean­cocteaucin­ — Jen­nifer Levin

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