What if life as we know it was just a game?
What if instead of traditional schools, children learned by participating in a virtual reality simulation, one that allowed them to experience "life" from birth to death - multiple times?
What if one player, on his final play, could change the world forever?
©2015 Terry Schott (P)2016 Podium Publishing
The books are so well written and with Luke Daniels performance it adds another dimension to this already exceptional series.
I can't wait to be taken through this series again
"pulls at the questions at the back of my mind"
Not by the synopsis alone. I preordered The Game. From an unknown to me author. With the backing of one of my go-to narrators and a publisher, that does a really good job of picking up extraordinary titles. The summary pulls at the questions at the back of my mind. Why are we here? How did we get here? What is the point of life? Well, what if the point of life was to do your best at it. All the while scoring points in the game called life. Wouldn’t that be something? That is exactly where Zach, the protagonist, finds himself. Albeit with a twist.
Tygon is a world very similar to Earth. Pretty much everything is very similar, technology, corporations, and the media rule. However, the one major difference is this. At a very young age, every child is plugged into “The Game”. Think of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, similar to World of Warcraft. The world where the game takes place is a different planet called Earth. Everyone there is playing the game. Then everyone’s game life is available for the public to watch. If you get more fans and followers, when you come out of The Game you are rewarded with fame and fortune. But only if you have a fan base and can place in the ranking of all of the other players.
The Game follows one such player, Zach, through his “waking up” from a game and starting another instance. We get to follow his game life, from birth to his 40th birthday. Because in the game 1 day on Tygon is 1 year on Earth. This happens pretty quickly. I do not want to give too much away here, so let me say this. What if while in The Game you found a book that you wrote in your last game, and have no memory of writing, explaining that life is just a game. Along with that, what if you started to tell people this and they believed you?
Schott’s idea here is so perfectly epic. Yet so simple as well. Written in a way that makes sense to me. I was engrossed from beginning to end. Not wanting to stop listening for anything. I had to know what happened next.
WARING: There is a cliffhanger ending. Followed with a brief sample of the next book in the series that cannot be published soon enough.
Luke Daniels delivered this performance just as soundly as most of the rest that I have heard. Using his “trademarked” character voices. That all seem to always fit the story perfectly. For younger to older males. Female voices that are more believable than most speak. Full of strategic pauses and other unspoken traits of a truly skilled narrator. Going to file this under “Classic Daniels”.
Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
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"A good concept mired by lazy writing."
The concept of The Game is a somewhat classic and attractive concept to sci-fi fans; that of a completely immersive VR world akin to that found in The Matrix. It plays with interesting ideas like 'what if life is just a computer simulation', and 'how might society change in response to the development of highly advanced VR'.
In general, the writing style and character development are fairly solid, and the performance is great. But the world-building itself, the most interesting prospect of the book, is executed terribly, and between the lines can be found an anti-atheistic message.
I get the distinct impression that this book was written for teens. Not in that the content itself is targeted towards teens, but rather, that there is an assumption of undeveloped intelligence and a lack of worldly knowledge that the author has used to justify lazy world building.
To give a few examples (very mild spoilers):
1) We are told that viewing players in the game has replaced all other forms of entertainment (TV, movies, books, video games, etc). The only explanation given is that watching important, extraordinary, or popular people live out their day-to-day lives is obviously better entertainment, which it obviously is not.
2) We are told that time passes at a rate of 1 virtual year per 1 real day. We are also told that it is impossible to record the game. No explanation is given as to why recording is impossible (or how viewings are done), and no explanation as to how viewing is possible, especially given the differing rates of time, and no ability to record (and thus no playing back recorded video at a slower speed).
3) Lastly, we are told, in several pieces, that society has changed to completely revolve around the game. This includes the economy, education, entertainment, and the extreme classism that has since developed. Nearly no details are offered to explain how this came to be, or how society currently functions. There is, in essence, nearly zero actual word-building.
The book also seems to promote an approach to life that abandons healthy scepticism and rational inquiry. While the protagonists seek out and absorb all that alternative medicine and religious studies have to offer, there's a telling absence of interest in science and evidence-based medicine. There also seems to be the clear message that faith and prayer are positive and effective forces, and that the absence of religion would ruin society.
I've read and enjoyed many fictional books with religion, magic, spirituality, or angels and demons as a central theme, the problem here is the execution; its inclusion seems to be for the purpose of delivering a message, rather than serving the story. I might not have bothered with this point if I weren't convinced that the book is targeted at a younger audience.
In closing, this book was a huge disappointment for me, and I certainly won't be purchasing its sequels. Decerning readers of fantasy and sci-fi should consider looking elsewhere.
"Great fun story"
To start, I got this book because of Luke Daniels. Second the synopsis reminded me of Ready player one, which is one of my Favorite books. Truth be told though this book stands on its own two feet. The world building and character building is superb. I couldn't stop listening. The only thing that got me down was the cliff hanger. I look forward to more stories from the world of E.A.R.T.H and true.
This was a great story made even better by the magic that is Luke Daniels! I normally groan at the idea of a good story being dragged out in to a series but I will be waiting for more.
I felt like the author was attempting to enlighten me about living as opposed to entertaining me with a story of fiction.
"Fun-Loving Gamer Novel — Minus the Fun"
Another entry in the virtual reality sub-genre of science fiction. The twist here is that the players in The Game don’t remember their real-life existence and they live out entire virtual life spans learning skills and acquiring credits for upgrades on future game play. Some of the ideas are intriguing to think about but at the end I did not feel compelled to continue with the series – not immediately anyway. This novel takes itself very seriously and such an approach must then deliver with profound themes and the resulting advice on better living. But this book is a fun-loving gamer oriented story. I could love it if it had a bit more fun in the mix. Does the sequel offer more fun?
The fantastic Luke Daniels delivers just as I have come to expect. His efforts would have been much more appreciated if he had some elements of humor to work with. And that is the primary factor in my dissatisfaction with The Game. I regret that this sounds a bit harsh but after experiencing the Frontlines series narrated by Luke Daniels I got used to Daniel’s sarcasm. I missed that here.
"What a mind-bender!"
The possibilities are endless. The possibilities of what, you wonder? Everything! Read the book and you will see what I mean.
"Good Setup, Good Performance, Some Reservations"
First, Luke Daniels is probably my favorite reader. He does a great job, as always.
Also, I like the initial setup. It is similar to the classic Simulacron-3 by Daniel Galouye and has similarities to the "the Matrix".
The reader learns right away that Earth is an educational computer-generated virtual reality game played by kids from Tygon. While in the game on Earth they don't know they are in a game. We also learn very quickly that, despite the education kids get in the Earth game, things on Tygon are not so great.
The basic setting is a nice extrapolation of known technology and the initial development of the main characters is good.
I was expected a satisfying story in which the main characters do well in the game then fix things up on Tygon. That may happen later in the series, but one reservation I have is that the book ends with what feels to me like a cliffhanger ending. There is a bad guy lurking somewhere in the background but that person or entity is not even identified by the end of the book. This book is very much installment 1.
Another reservation is the book drifts away from scientific extrapolation and takes a religious or mystical direction. It is like the author wants to address deep philosophical or religious questions but to me it just got tedious.
Still a pretty good book, very well performed.
"9 chaps to hate it, a new record!"
while the basic idea is intriguing, everything else is annoying, infuriating and poorly thought out
Great storyline and the reader did an amazing job voicing the actors. I will definitely be listening to the sequel.
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