What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

Invitation to the Game
This topic is about Invitation to the Game
SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED Young Adult Sci Fi - Permanent unemployed explore a strange virtual reality [s]

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Pterodactyl | 2 comments Hi, I'm looking for a book I read as a child, probably early nineties, which I thought was called "The Game," but I couldn't find it in the search. The cover was the face of a brunette girl wearing virtual reality goggles. The plot of the book, as best I remember: In the future, intelligent robots have replaced humans in 90% of the workforce. After college, those who aren't accepted in one of the few jobs left join the ranks of the permanently unemployed, living in a dangerous ghetto, spending a small stipend of government credits on various entertainments. At the beginning of the novel, our protagonist, a young woman, and about nine of her friends are sent to this ghetto... the only ones who escape this fate are a bright young psychologist and a farm girl, both of whom have family businesses to go back to, but both who will come up later.

The protagonists live together in a small building, and a few chapter deal with them becoming acclimated to their surroundings, acquiring a security system, etc. At some sort of night club, they hear about this strange immersive game, one of the night club patrons was barred from the game for breaking some rule, confidentiality I believe. The protagonists start snooping around, and eventually receive invitations to play this mysterious game themselves.

They go to the government compound, lie down on beds and close their eyes. They feel a sun lamp over them, then the bed suddenly turns into scratchy sand. They awaken in a strange desert. They proceed to the nearest landmark and climb up, but the protagonist injures her hand. Trying to climb down, she loses her grip, falls...

And they all wake up back in the room. They are dismissed until the next week. They work out that they are allowed to stay in the simulation until one of them is "killed", but if they avoid death, they can stay in simulation for what seems like days or weeks at a time. They become obsessed with trying to beat the game, and spend most of their off time planning to go back in. Someone mentions offhand that it would be useful if their friends, the farm girl and psychologist, were there to offer their own unique skills. Strangely enough, both of these friends soon do become unemployed, robots having taken over the family farm and even the family psychology practice! In truth, it seems the omnipresent government was keeping tabs on the group, and made it so they would be joined by these friends whose skills they needed.

Well, skipping to the end: on one trip to the simulation, something strange happens: they awake not on the sand but on their beds, except that they are in a pod on an alien world. It seems the government, regretting that machines had taken over their society, decided to send groups of able unemployed to colonize a new world with no machines, only their wits. The simulation allowed them to explore and gain valuable experience before arrival. The group of friends make the best of their situation, eventually meeting another group of similar explorers. The two groups intermingle, several of the characters marry, and at the end our main protagonist is pregnant and contemplating the future of their new society.

Does anyone recognize this book or the author?

Jackie "the Librarian" | 219 comments Hi Pterodactyl. I think you are looking for Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes. Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes

message 3: by Pterodactyl (new) - added it

Pterodactyl | 2 comments That's it! Thanks Jackie!

Jackie "the Librarian" | 219 comments You're welcome! :)

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