Ross Baker; our lead man is a computer scientist based in Stirling. He going through a rough patch in his relationship, he is overworked and under-appreciated and feels like all his work efforts are getting him nowhere. So when offered the chance to test out some new VR tech that will teleport him out of the office for a few hours, he takes it.
He wakes up in Graxis, a world from the 90’s First Person Shooter Starfire, a game he played as a teenager. Shocked to be surrounded by American Cyber-marines with crude flesh on show, metal armour hideously grafted to their weird exteriors and if that wasn’t shocking enough, he was one of them.
Its not long before Ross meets other people like him. His first encounter is with a man named Bob, an accountant from Leicester. Bob fell asleep and woke up here, he had never played computer games and missed his family. Bob is certain there is no way out.
Ross travels through many game worlds in the story including retro games like Pacman and Jet Set Willy and comes back up to more modern day titles Assassins Creed and Silent Hill to name a couple.
Now this seems like any gamers heaven, living in a world where anything is possible, guns, cyber-war, flight, you name it. But then Ross realises that this is it, that there is no way out. It becomes a living hell.
The feeling online about this book is you either get it or you don’t. I’m glad to say I got it and I loved it. I find it hard to believe that you “have to like computer games to like it”, because I like computer games, and I like it… Shit…
Okay, let me go on about more positives that DOESN’T include anything gamey.
Its funny, Brookmyre has a brilliant way of describing his feelings both about himself and others, jokes are well timed, intelligent and are definitely relatable to the left wing.
“Ross couldn’t have felt like more of a dick if he had been gene-spliced with George Osborne and dressed in a six-foot foam rubber penis costume.”
Its far more clever than a man being stuck in a computer game, there are glimpses to the “Real world” outside that keep your brain itching and guessing along the way. It all melts down into a wonderful pot of love, action and explanation towards the twisting conclusion.
So would I recommend this book? Big time!
Should you read it if you don’t like computer games? I don’t know, you’ll have to read it and tell me!
We’ll have a copy with us at The High Flight Fanzine Live if you want to pick it up super cheap. The boys have a great line up and we suggest that if you can, you should make this one. It’ll be fun.