21 October 2011

Gamers’ Challenge

by George Ivanoff

Ford Street Publishing. Australian, Junior, Young Adult, Science Fantasy. Paperback RRP $16.95
Guest Reviewer - Anastasia Gonis

It all started when they broke the Designers’ Rules. They kissed. Then everything changed. Now Tark and Zyra are no longer part of the game. Zyra is now susceptible to every human hurt and habit. Tark is ‘unheard and unseen’ but he feels free from the dependency of Designers’ Paradise where they had lived unchanged and ageless, each one programmed with specified speech patterns.

But a different game starts when Zyra and Tark come into contact with Tee, an Outer, which they too have now become, who has left the game and lives in a community of similar minds. The two are faced with another challenge; another quest. They discover that they have been character constructions, players trapped in a never-ending game that exist in a world of technology that recreates them over and over.

The Outers are being chased by a ball of static known as VI –Viral Interface, comprised of pieces of computer Interface that have escaped into the environment and become lethal. The worst is that the VI becomes larger and more powerful with every kill. It also multiplies as it grows, splitting into additional killers with increasing power and momentum.

The Outers discover the existence of an Ultimate Gamer, with an ultimate exit code that can remove him from the game environment and into the real world. Thus begins the quest to find him and uncover the cheat code. But they are unprepared for what this means. One revelation leads to another inside a labyrinth of options connected with the countless deceptive personas of the Ultimate Gamer. Will Tark and Zyra be able to discern what reality is as they play one last game?

With zombies, knights and dragons, bloody battles, chaos and catastrophe, and magik portals, the reader will view computers, viruses, corrupted files and anti-virus programs with new eyes. Here they become metaphors for danger and destruction in a world where conformity is the ultimate game.

This is the sequel to the charged, Gamers’ Quest. The Reading Stack interviewed George Ivanoff in March 2010.

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