The idea for this book comes from the surge of popularity of the LitRPG genre. For those unfamiliar, this is a fairly recent sub-genre of Fantasy and Sci-fi (either or both). Most books use a fantasy setting, but the premise is almost always sci-fi. The general gist of the genre is to place the main character in a game world, give them a character sheet, and watch them struggle. This often comes about via some kind of advanced virtual reality (near future kind of stuff) or, in some cases, it involves magical parallel realities where everyone has character sheets… for reasons.
As expected, the quality of these books are all over the board. There are some really good ones (see: Awaken Online), and some not so good ones, often involving toxic masculinity and harems 1. And some games literally describe the grinding process in a game; their idea of a character arc is reaching the next level.
But, set aside all these misfires, and there are some interesting ideas about society and a lot of opportunity here, especially when exploring how technology can reshape society. For a great example of a book that could (should… was?) have been great, and tried very hard to explore the implication of uploading our consciousness 2 using a compelling story 3, see: Fall or, Dodge in Hell.
Mine is a more comedic take on things. I do want to explore some of the more serious implications of how technology affects our society and our very humanity, but I was also annoyed at the utter absurdity in some of these books. A person is thrown, sometimes quite literally, into a game world, and it takes them all of five minutes to accept that this is their new reality? Yeah… I don’t think so.
So this is a book 4 where things go wrong. Where the main character doesn’t want to be trapped in a game world; where the game designers don’t want the main character to be in the game world; where… you know what? Nobody wants him there. But he’s there, and he can’t leave.
I’m not kidding. Listen, I like romance done right and a harem is not that. At the first sign of one, I’m usually looking for a new book. ↩
Successfully, I might add. I really liked the way he really explored the implications of humanity basically creating our own afterlife. ↩
Not successfully. Very much not. The story line was all over the freaking place and I really tried to follow right up to the point I realized I’d completely lost interest in what was going on. I did not finish the book. ↩
Might be a book if, you know, I actually write it. ↩