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The Game is Altered Paperback – 1 Feb 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tindal Street (1 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906994315
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906994310
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,300,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A highly original writer --Guardian

A fresh and authentic voice --Iain Sinclair

Book Description

Hip, futuristic literary fiction about alternate-reality gaming. Cory Doctorow by way of Jennifer Egan

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Game Is Altered was an engrossing read which twice nearly made me miss my station when reading it on the train. The book has three distinct threads that the chapters alternate between. The bulk of the plot and longest chapters are about Lionel, there are shorter chapters about his alter-ego Ludi adventuring in CoreQuest and then little one page adverts for CoreQuest, each of which was expertly crafted.

The books extrapolation of modern trends in technology and British society create an eerily believable possibility for the near future. The growth and importance of the online self was a particularly worrying aspect that Packer explored. After reading I had a strong feeling of wanting to connect properly with someone rather than shouting about the book online (however I have come crawling back).

Packer's characters have a depth that makes the supporting cast particularly intriguing. Lionel's adoptive mother, Judy, was a personal favourite whose personal development and story was fascinatingly seen alongside the primary narrative.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has an online presence, however large or small. Similarly anyone interested in family, identity, technology, immigration or the general direction our society may be headed should also pick it up. So many issues are thoughtfully touched on in a beautiful style that is great to read. Go on, add it to your basket, you deserve the time offline!
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Format: Paperback
Mez Packer has given us a superb tale in 'The Game Is Altered'. Set in the near future, we enter Lionel's world, which swings between real life and his complicated relationships with his adopted family and his game playing life as the avatar Ludi. Gradually the lines between reality and the game become blurred, taking the reader on a roller coaster ride that touches on most of the major problems we have in the world today, but 'it's only a game' and the game can be altered. Mez Packers writing is a joy and I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
It has been a while since I've read a book that I have snatched up at every opportunity, thinking to myself "Oh, just one more chapter," before going to bed, so I was surprised to be so gripped by 'The Game Is Altered'.

The story of Lionel is slightly sad, and incredibly real. It is set in the future, but not so far that it is out of the present day reader's reach - I expect that technology will advance in a very similar way to that described in the book. The characters are robust and complex, and I found myself deeply empathising with them. Yet, after feeling like I knew them inside-out, I was still shocked by the evolution of events along the way, and was genuinely surprised by the novels revelations. I like surprises.

I described the novel as 'gritty' in my title; as I mentioned, the story is incredibly 'real' and it does not skip the uncomfortable parts of reality. Packer approaches difficult topics surprisingly poetically. It is the detail, not just in these parts but the whole novel, that makes the book flow so well, despite having a complex story line.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read, and enjoy, a book unlike any they've read before, and I can't wait till my friends and family have read it so that I can talk to them about it!
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Format: Paperback
The story alternates between the real world and game world, though the line pretty much breaks down between the two later on in the book. Mez Packer is really really clever with language in the chapters that takes place game world and the gamer character Ludi is very funny with his game-speak dialogue. However, in the real world, the hero Lionel is too passive and the plot takes too long to get off the ground. And when it does, it's still lukewarm 2/3rds of the way through. It needs a faster pace to be truly engaging. Having said that, by the final 50 or so pages, I didn't want to put it down.

What's kind of scary (in a thought-provoking way) is the picture the author is painting of the near future in the Western world. Survelliance everywhere, drones spying on people, refugees locked down in transit centres, capitalism even more out of control. About the only good thing is cars are pretty much gone and the motorways are abandoned. It just all rings too true that this is where we are headed.

I'd recommend this book for gamers who love to read fiction or sci-fi fans looking for an easy read. Mez Packer lectures in interactive media in the UK, so she's writing about a subject she loves. Her debut novel, Among Thieves was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize, so I'm betting she'll keep getting better and better with her writing.
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Format: Paperback
In a dystopic yet uncomfortably familiar near-future, Lionel spends his days working in a government office and his nights as fantasy avatar Ludi in the online game world of CoreQuest. Ludi is blonde, muscular and intensely sexual; Lionel is mixed-race, awkward and introverted.

Lionel was raised by an adoptive white family who never treated him as an equal - except for his adopted sister Lilith, his only friend, who keeps disappearing as soon as Lionel needs her. Lionel falls for the seductive Eve, but soon becomes obsessed with a young girl working as a trafficked prostitute in the `health centre' near his flat. But none of these women are truly as they appear, and Lionel begins to wonder which is more real: his own life, or Ludi's.

Themes of virtual existence, family tensions and memory overlap to create a rich, compelling novel. Although there are multiple plot-threads concerning technological and political issues, the emotional core is Lionel's search for the truth of his birth and parentage. Occasionally the twin narratives of Lionel and Ludi don't seem to fit together, but when they do align it's wonderfully clever.

The Game is Altered is a slick and emotionally affecting novel - proof that Britain's independent publishers are putting out some of the most exciting fiction around. Author Mez Packer and publisher Tindal Street are both ones to watch.
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