Player Choice

Player Choice, by Jeff Deck

Glen, video-game coder, is on his way to the business meeting of his life, where he will pitch his beloved baby of a project, the one he's been designing in private for years, the one he hopes might even help people change the world--Novamundas.  Even his commuter train crashing can't stop him.  But then Glen starts switching realities.  Or reality is changing around him--how can he tell?  Is he really reality-jumping?  Is someone trying to torture him?  Or did his brain implant malfunction?  Glen tries to figure out what's real and survive to get back home--whatever that might be.  He can't remember...

This is quite a good science-fiction story.  I was grabbed.  There are some great ideas to play with here, and the characters are interesting and real.  It's set in 2040, and nearly everyone has celphs--brain implants that function as personal devices and assistants--like Siri, only far more so.  It's a great idea and completely organic to the world (and our own quite possible future).  I think celph is a great term as a play on what cellphone could turn into, and am quite tempted to use it myself.  One price of having a celph, though, is that companies can zero in on you for advertising.

I like Glen.  He's a lot like many software guys I have known.  His co-workers are interesting, and when we meet his friends through the story it's really nice; they're nicely fleshed out and it works.  Then there are some other, more difficult relationships as well.

The Novamundas concept gets a lot of play in the second half of the book.  Gamers will probably have a lot of fun with it.  I am a complete non-gamer but it was still a great story, so don't worry if you're not either.

There was some profanity in the book, which I'm not really a fan of, but it wasn't awful or anything.  Overall, I enjoyed it a lot.  It's well worth spending $3 on Amazon to read it yourself.  If you're hesitant about self-published books, don't worry about this one; Deck has written professionally for a long time and Player Choice is a polished novel.  From what I hear, a lot of SF is moving to the self-publishing sphere and if a good percentage of it is of this quality, it will work.

I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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