Alterlife by Matt Moss

I was rec’d this book by my blogging buddy, Nick. Here’s his great review.

John Crussel thinks his luck has been spent… after his daughter’s medical bills and the normal expenses of life pile up, he’s in the hole. It doesn’t help that he’s got a big ‘keep-up-with-the-Jones’ streak. Pushed to the edge, he contemplates robbing a bank, but while in line waiting for the teller, he hears about a way to make quick money: Alterlife. An immersive VR game that will eventually occupy his every waking moment.

Alterlife is an obsession of a game, one that compels John to take days off work, borrow money, and lie to his family… all in an effort to create wealth that can be transferred back to the real world. Like many, I gave up video games when kids came into my life, but some of the last games I played were Fable and Elder Scrolls. These are exactly the type of open sandbox-style games that Afterlife emulates. Dropped into the world as a noob, John’s character, Ace, must build up experience points, coin, and friendships. Will he be able to balance his unbalanced life with this supposed quick fix?!?!

Moss’s short piece (under 250 pages) is one of the best Weekend Reads I could hope for. I liked so much about it: the politics of the guild, the pure drama of the fight scenes, and the way Moss creates tension between John in the real and the gaming world. This is a quick read, but far from a shallow replay of a video game. John represents what many people feel: the pressure to do it all, to make the money/ provide for a family in need, to get some distance from those mounting bills.

Pick this one up for an exciting escape, but also a little truth about our rat race existence.

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