The Impossible Fortress

S. & S. Feb. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9781501144417. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781501144431. F
[DEBUT] In 1987, freshman Billy Marvin is flunking out of high school because when he's not hanging out with his fellow misfits, he is creating computer games on his Commodore 64. But his life changes when a friend reveals his latest get-rich-quick scheme, which involves the new Vanna White issue of Playboy and the color copier at his mom's office. In the process, Billy meets Mary Zelinsky, who is as equally passionate about computers as he is. Fortunately, the scheme provides an excuse for Billy to hang out with Mary and even collaborate on a game for an upcoming contest and a chance to win a brand new IBM PC and the princely sum of $4,000. In navigating new feelings and hidden obstacles in his quest, Billy finds his life growing ever more complicated. Readers who came of age in the 1980s will enjoy the many period references (such as the percussive genius of Phil Collins's solo work), but these do not intrude enough to deter younger readers.
VERDICT This debut novel by the publisher of Quirk Books feels like a sort of spiritual prequel to Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, with a young protagonist adrift in a sea of pop culture and new technology, trying to figure out his future.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing