Friday, October 21, 2011

The Moon Maze Game

The Moon Maze Game
by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

The Moon Maze Game is the fourth in a sporadic series of novels co-written by Niven and Barnes which revolve around Live Action Role Playing gamers and the Dream Park corporation. The first three books in the series (Dream Park [1981], The Barsoom Project [1989], and The California Voodoo Game [1992]) were all set on earth and involved complex multi-layered plots incorporating quirky characters, believable technological advances and thriller elements. For the fourth book, set decades from now, the action has moved to the moon, where humanity has had an industrial and recreational colony for some time. When the first off-world LARPing game is announced to take place on the moon, the creme-de-la-creme of Gamemasters, Loremasters and regular gamers compete to secure positions in "the game". Among the players is the scion to an African nation's leader, and when terrorists attempt to kidnap him within the framework of the "game", what had been a challenging but ultimately only ego-brusing competition becomes a life-and-death struggle. Trapped within a fictional storyline of Victorian-era space explorers on the moon, the gamers find themselves trying to stay one step ahead of political revolutionaries and mercenaries, with ideological fervor and vengence on their side. This was a solid action-adventure thriller with a good scifi flavor and setting. Those who enjoyed the earlier three books will appreciate the next-generation ties to characters and events set earlier in the timeline. While I enjoyed it and do recommend it, the ending felt a bit rushed, and the "bad guys" were somewhat two-dimensional. Readers should really give Dream Park and The California Voodoo Game a read first! [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the other three books in the series. Also the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg, in which fantasy Role Playing Gamers find themselves transported to a real world that plays by the game's rules.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ Wikipedia entry for Dream Park ] | [ Wikipedia page for Larry Niven ] | [ Wikipedia page for Steven Barnes ]

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