Another Glorious Voice Heard From

by wjw on November 20, 2010

Paul Stotts has written an extremely perceptive review of This Is Not a Game.    (Extremely perceptive because he agrees with me, okay?)

[The] interconnection between reality and fiction is masterfully explored in Walter Jon Williams’ latest novel This Is Not A Game, a beautiful multi-layered novel, both vastly entertaining and astute.

It’s a fascinating sociological experiment, an exploration of large-scale problem-solving by a community of minds. An ode to the Hive Mind and the power of Group Think, to its immense processing power. Each individual providing a unique perspective of the problem, a single paintbrush stroke; only the group providing the complete picture, the solution, the Monet. Like a group of rats, arguing, sharing information, before finally deciding the best course through the maze. There’s power in numbers. Reasoning power.

Even better. This Is Not a Game is a compelling mystery, one that threateningly demands—like a militant nun, ruler in hand, your knuckles spread before her—for you to continue, to finish. Stopping, it’s not an option. It’s not even a thought. You turn the pages of the book not just to get answers, but to get the questions, also. And neither disappoint. There is no letdown, no clumsy resolution, no descent into lameness. Everything works, the story coming together beautifully like a well-played game of chess, Williams maneuvering the reader, skillfully. Like a pawn. A very happy pawn.

The novel feels fresh, new, totally unique. Something completely different from the tired, recycled space opera found in most sci-fi novels today. You’ll remember This Is Not A Game afterwards, for its distinct storyline, for being unlike anything else you’ve read. For being special.  A rabbit hole, both deep and dark, leading to a dazzling wonderland, where a game imitates life. And life imitates a game.

And you know what, guys?  I cannot disagree.

So here’s the obligatory link, so you can buy a copy already!

Matt November 20, 2010 at 7:39 am

I read it months ago and have been recommending it to people. I also found it to be a very visual story, it would be well suited to being made into a movie or mini-series.

Ingvar M November 21, 2010 at 10:56 am

Are we excused if we own a copy already? Capsule thingy here, not so much a review as a marker to myself that I have read it and a modicum of “what did I think” for future comparison, as it were.

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