Neat thriller/SF/gaming combo,
This review is from: This is Not a Game: You Don't Get a Second Life (Paperback)
Dagmar, Austin, Charlie and BJ are gamers. They met playing RPGs and grew into professional gamers, trying to make money out of their hobby. After the usual string of failures they make it with augmented reality gaming (ARG), but only after a terminal falling out between Charlie and BJ, with the latter being thrown out of the company. While BJ now works in a lowly user support role and gold farms on the side, Charlie finds out that his Cayman Islands bank account has a lot more money in it than he expected. Dagmar, despatched to Jakarta to wind up a game project, becomes stranded there because of a currency collapse. Using a professional 'extraction' company to get her out proves fruitless so she involves the company's gamers in their lastest game in her predicament.
This kicks off the main part of the story, as, on her return, Austin is murdered by a Russian hit man and Charlie goes into hiding, leaving Dagmar to sort things out by blurring the ongoing game with real life events. Everything turns out to be connected and neat technological ideas and the online gaming milieux are exploited well to provide plot rationales and twists. For example, one 'dumpster diver' gamer (who spies on the game company itself to get an advantage in the game) is used to track down the Russian hitman.
All in all a good read and a switchback plot line. It possibly misses a trick in not exploiting more the convergence between games and real life, the ironic TINAG abbreviation of the title, which is repeated throughout as a motto, but nevertheless succeeds in creating something realistic enough not to be science fiction.