Marcelo's Reviews > This is Not a Game

This is Not a Game by Walter Jon Williams
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's review
Feb 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: rwr
Read in February, 2012

This Is Not A Game by Walter Jon Williams was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and one which I will continue to explore, as there are more books in the series. Exploring the experiences of Dagmar, a young woman employed by a video game company, it is more than a good read, but really encourages us to explore the role that social media plays in our lives, and how we are affected by it.

The first story in the book, as there are several, takes place at the very beginning, as Dagmar is trapped in Indonesia, as a conflict has torn apart the country, and the Indonesian dollar has dropped completely in value, a product of Chinese inflation. Dagmar, who works for a billion-dollar company as the story writer for video-games, is trapped in the Royal Jakarta Hotel, and she must use her followers on a social media site to escape from the hands of angry rebels. It is this first story which made me enjoy it very much, as it was a lead-in to the other story. I find that often times, novels lead into their stories too quickly, and there is not enough time to establish the story, nor the characters, but This is Not A Game did the exact opposite. By using the first fourth of the book for a lead-in, the second story, a "Who Dun' It?" essentially, did not need to set up the characters nor their relationships, and so once the second story started, I was able to feel like a part of the action, as a true reader, as I did not have to stop to know what was going on, as it was explained already.

Another reason for my love of the book was the overall reality that it provided, unlike the book I read before. In Being, my previous RWR book, it was rather science-fiction-y, and Kevin, the protagonist, had an alien machine inside of him. However, This Is Not A Game was extremely realistic, and clearly was well researched, as it explored what life would be life in the following years. The conflict in Indonesia, in the beginning of the book was particularly realistic, as it explored how mass-production in China and lack of regulation in the United States destroyed the world, and caused civil-unrest in Indonesia, leading to the mass-genocide of Indians and Chinese in Jakarta. Because the book was this realistic, and I was able to connect to it, and see how the world could change if we keep on our constant course.

One part of the book that I did not enjoy, however, was the descriptions of some of the technology and ideas used, which I did not follow. While it came off a simply a nerdy-book, it seemed as though you had to know a bit more about social media than the average Joe to truly understand what was going on, which at some points I did not appreciate, as there were certain computer programming ideas that I did not follow. However, these parts were few and far between, and I did enjoy the book, because of the overall descriptions and reality, and how I could connect to the novel because it described social media so accurately.

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