Nice near-future sf,
This review is from: This Is Not A Game: You Don't Get a Second Life (Paperback)
I've been a long term fan of WJW, insofar as I read Voice of the Whirlwind as a callow youth and was most impressed, and a few years ago I read Hardwired: he could certainly write action sequences.
It's a little shameful, perhaps, that the reason I chose TINAG was because it was the cheapest book in my local bookshop's science fiction section, but it was that or some dreadful Games Workshop doorstop about Space Marines, a Halo tie-in, or a Charles Stross I didn't feel I had the mental capacity for that day.
Thus I was taken aback by how many ideas TINAG is teeming with, and how well the feel of Jakarta is nailed within the first chapters of the book, and just how clever Williams is, without feeling as though he's showing off. Little bits and pieces help: the fact that he locates one scene in Lincoln's Inn Fields made it feel very personal to me (although I suppose some of the action in LA would do the same for others) but overall it's just the way that he constructs a very believable near-future situation, without resorting to huge infodumps of data to explain what's going on, that has made me read 360-odd pages in less than 24 hours (which includes necessary pauses to sleep, eat, and work).
The only thing I find a little unconvincing is that so many people would be invested with Augmented Reality Games (ARGs); perhaps I'm blighted from playing an absolutely awful one in 2000 that was intended to promote some Nokia or other, but I wonder if there really would be millions of committed players, or if they'd just all be playing Farmville instead. But it's a great read: it feels almost like a real-world version of Halting State, for want of a better comparison. Which gets us back to Stross again, almost where we started.