And we know what the future holds: robots, teleporting, shiny silver outfits, and immersive gaming! My future also holds a trampoline hallway leading to a room with a mattress floor and retractable glass ceiling. What do you look forward to in the future?
Today’s 212-word book review is of an early young adult novel that takes place in the future, mainly inside a video game.
Heir Apparent, Vivian Vande Velde
***Warning: Contains huge spoilers about the denouement!***
I was having a bad week and needed a YA fix, so I hit up my tiny library at random. This book features a young girl (Giannine) in a not-so-distant future, playing a fully experiential/immersive video game. An anti-gaming protest riot damages the machinery, and she’s trapped – she has to win, fast, or she’s gonna die. Curiously, the author hammers in that this story is about the horrors of censorship, when usually these books are about the perils of hooking your brain up to machines. Oh well. It doesn’t much change the book, except that the game becomes a setting for Giannine to learn life lessons, as opposed to learning them as a result of the game’s inherent dangers.
Her voice is frank with a touch of snark, which I imagine would be very appealing to pre-teens, and her interactions with the colorful video game characters are amusing. It’s lighthearted enough that the book never veers into truly frightening territory, despite the dire predicament, and the whole thing wraps up with an over-the-top fantasy. Giannine wins the game, with a totally unprecedented strategy, just before system failure. She awakens in the loving arms of super-cute, super-rich, super-brilliant teenage head programmer/CEO of the immersive games empire. What could be better?