September Books 16) Epic
16) Epic, by Conor Kostick
I know the author a little and I know the publisher rather better; but what really flagged it up to me was ‘s review, a year and a half ago. It’s a YA novel set on a resource-poor future colony world where participation in a WoW-type game is practically mandatory, and your success in battle determines who gets access to what resources. We’ve seen games used as the centre of sf stories before; on the spectrum that has Jack Chick’s take and Catherine Asaro’s typically dismal “A Roll of the Dice” at one end, and Iain Banks’ The Player of Games at the other, with Poul Anderson’s Hugo-and-Nebula-winning “The Saturn Game” somewhere in the middle, I reckon that Epic is well up in the top half, say about level with Sherri S Tepper’s True Game trilogy. (This classification will be of no help at all to you if you hate banks, like Asaro and find Tepper incomprehensible. But at least I tried.)
Knowing Conor’s politics I was wondering if or how he would manage to bring in the revolutionary overthrow of the system, and he does it through a combination of a young hero and his friends teaming up with older mentors (one the central character’s father, the other the ideological guide for the revolution). However he manages to keep the suspension of disbelief and (I would have thought) in a style attractive to the target readership. If you don’t want your teenagers exposed to insidious lefty propaganda, don’t let them read this book. On the other hand if you want them to be intellectually stimulated as well as entertained, you could do a heck of a lot worse.
See also Sherwood Smith‘s glowing review on the SF Site.
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