By Christopher Brookmyre
People have been getting sucked into videogames since at least as far back as the 1982 film Tron, but as gaming has developed into an increasingly central part of our culture the idea has gone on to become an SF sub-genre all its own. In Bedlam, his first SF novel, the Scottish neo-noir crime novelist Christopher Brookmyre takes the concept for a wild ride, as cyberserf Ross Baker is scanned and uploaded into the “gameverse,” a maze-like web of nearly every videogame ever made. Finding out exactly how he got into the gameverse, and why, becomes Ross’s mission as he dodges aliens, Nazis, zombies, dragons, and a small army of sinister Matrix-style enforcers known as the Integrity.
A book like this will appeal mainly to readers who have grown up with videogames, and who are comfortable with the various components that make up the videogame-novel aesthetic: fractured narratives, a running roughshod over the laws of physics, lots of CGI-style special effects, two-dimensional supporting characters who might be NPCs or avatars, and a nagging paranoia that attaches to questions like who the author (or God) of this alternative reality is, who wrote its code and made its rules, and finally who is playing whom.