Into the Real

Baen. Apr. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9781982126001. $25. SF
Those who are killed by the merciless and powerful Larry Coughlin, one of the top players in the game WarMonger, believe that he must be some kind of Delta Force agent or a retired SEAL in real life. Little do they know that “he” is actually Lynn Raven, a quick-witted and tough couch-potato high school girl who supports her mother. Soon, Lynn is invited to beta test an innovative new augmented reality game, TransDimensional Hunter. On the surface, the game’s set-up is the usual “kill the monsters, save the world” scenario, but something suspicious brews behind the scenes. Beyond its plot, this alien-invasion sf will engage readers curious to see the effects of the 2020s on global culture, the virtual world, and the gaming industry. The disturbing realism is balanced by dangerous monsters, clever tactics, explosive action, and a compelling twist at the end.
VERDICT Ringo (There Will Be Dragons) joins with Sherrer (“When the Gods Laughed” series) for this immersive, highly technical near-future sf; perfect for dedicated gamers or for fans of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.
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