This is Not a Game (Dagmar Shaw Thrillers 1)

This is Not a Game (Dagmar Shaw Thrillers 1)

by Walter Jon Williams

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This Is Not a Game 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
cygnoir on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up on a whim during a recent trip to Powell's, and was not disappointed. I love the premise and how the author explores the overlap between virtual space and physical space, between what is a game and what isn't. I also appreciated how strong and believable the female protagonist was written. If you enjoy gaming, especially ARGs, you will enjoy this story.
abitmorejerry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Coming from an author who has written quite a bit of science fiction, I found this novel to be really disappointing. Lack of depth, a story line that could have gone much further - there were some places where there could have been some really interesting twists, it just seemed to lack any depth. In the words of the author - 'crapjob' - IMHO
Ravenclaw79 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a good geek book, but it's not something I would've normally read, necessarily, 'cause it's also an action-thriller -- mix a BBS with "Die Hard" and you're somewhere in the neighborhood. Then again, it was also a bit like a Dan Brown book in that respect, and I liked those. Overall, it was a really twisty thriller with a g33k-based plot, certainly an entertaining read.
dcoward on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hmm - couldn't figure out how to change this to 4.5 rating. Very, very good book. An exciting mystery with an engaging female protagonist and millions of sleuths in the form of online gamers.
noneofthis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think if I was a gamer I'd've enjoyed this book an awful lot more. As it was, I lost interest around page 30, skipped around a bit more, and closed it up without regret. I enjoyed seeing all the references to pop-culture books and movies, but not enough to enjoy the book itself. Pity.
pstotts on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A woman sits in a hotel room, alone and scared; outside, the city burns, white hot. Black roiling clouds pollute the horizon, flames flicker in the distance, the smell of burning flesh¿of death¿penetrates the room. She looks out her window, perched high on the fourteenth floor, and watches the world explode. Into chaos. Watches the riots, the murders, the hatred. Families lined up, destroyed. And she waits. Stranded. A prisoner of circumstance.The news is grim. The local economy has collapsed, the country¿s currency now worthless. The airport and train stations are closed. No one can leave the city. Without help. So, she waits in her hotel room, a damsel-in-distress. Waits for someone to rescue her, for someone to figure out how she can escape, for someone to solve the puzzle. Of her life. A life now transformed into a very real game. The goal: helping her leave the city, the country, to make it back home, safely. Woman Stranded in a Hotel Room, seemingly a starting point for the latest alternate reality game (ARG), an online adventure where reality intrudes on make-believe. Where the answers to fictional puzzles can be found in the real world. Where millions of players worldwide use whatever resources, ideas, and skills¿whether legal or illegal¿to solve puzzles, furthering their quest. It¿s the proverbial rabbit hole, players constantly tumbling deeper into a wonderland where conspiracies reign, waiting to be uncovered. It¿s Lewis Carroll meets the Grassy Knoll Theory. It¿s life, re-imagined. As a story, as a game. But this is not a game.This interconnection between reality and fiction is masterfully explored in Walter Jon Williams¿ latest novel This Is Not A Game, a beautiful multi-layered novel, both vastly entertaining and astute. It¿s a fascinating sociological experiment, an exploration of large-scale problem-solving by a community of minds. An ode to the Hive Mind and the power of Group Think, to its immense processing power. Each individual providing a unique perspective of the problem, a single paintbrush stroke; only the group providing the complete picture, the solution, the Monet. Like a group of rats, arguing, sharing information, before finally deciding the best course through the maze. There¿s power in numbers. Reasoning power. Even better. This Is Not a Game is a compelling mystery, one that threateningly demands¿like a militant nun, ruler in hand, your knuckles spread before her¿for you to continue, to finish. Stopping, it¿s not an option. It¿s not even a thought. You turn the pages of the book not just to get answers, but to get the questions, also. And neither disappoint. There is no letdown, no clumsy resolution, no descent into lameness. Everything works, the story coming together beautifully like a well-played game of chess, Williams maneuvering the reader, skillfully. Like a pawn. A very happy pawn.The novel feels fresh, new, totally unique. Something completely different from the tired, recycled space opera found in most sci-fi novels today. You¿ll remember This Is Not A Game afterwards, for its distinct storyline, for being unlike anything else you¿ve read. For being special. A rabbit hole, both deep and dark, leading to a dazzling wonderland, where a game imitates life. And life imitates a game. Last Word:Games vary. Some you play on a board, everyone fighting to be the little metal car. Some you play on the latest whiz-bang video game system, featuring the most realistic graphics yet. And some you play with people, manipulating their emotions and ideas. But the best games arise from stories; storytelling being nothing more than an author playing a game with their reader. An imagination game, one in which the writer sets the rules. A game with drama and mystery, winners and losers. So Walter Jon Williams¿ This Is Not A Game lies. It is a game. A hell of a game, a fascinating mystery, and intriguing social commentary. Where every reader is a winner, no matter what alternate reality you choose to cal
tiamatq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Dagmar lands in Jakarta, she finds her connecting flight has been canceled... along with every other flight out of the country. The currency is under attack and a revolution is underway. Luckily, Dagmar is the major producer/writer for Great Big Idea, a company that specialized in creating ARGs: alternate reality games. Her boss is a multimillionaire and he's determined to get Dagmar out of the country and back to safety, where she can start writing the next big game. When some of the more conventional rescue attempts fail, Dagmar turns to the online gaming community to help her.Fast forward to a few months later, with Dagmar back in LA and starting a brand new ARG. As the game gets underway, one of Dagmar's longtime friends is murdered. Can she once again call on gamers to help solve this murder? And, as Dagmar digs deeper to solve this mystery, other countries come under attack, just like Jakarta. The line between game and reality begins to blur... however, This Is Not A Game.Okay, this book is difficult to sum up, particularly without sounding cheesy. Williams does an excellent job between joining online games with reality, as well as recognizing the strange potential of massive amounts of gamers. I think he creates a story that will appeal to classic RPGers as well as those who've only gamed on a console or computer. I liked Dagmar - she was resourceful, funny, and creative. If I have any complaints for this book, it's that it felt like there were a few loose ends or unnecessary characters/plot bits. The transition from the chapters in Jakarta to the start of The Long Night of Briana Hall was abrupt, and the ending didn't have quite the punch I expected... or maybe I was just thinking there was going to be another plot twist. The moments with the gamers are gold... I wish there were more (why is it I hate reading message boards in real life, but enjoy them in a story?). And there's just something thoroughly enjoyable about a plot involving what happens when gold-farming goes so wrong. If you love gaming, whether it's on paper and involves d20s or if it's on a console or involves being in character, this is a book you'll probably enjoy. I'm glad it was recommended to me!
schnaucl_read on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This review contains spoilersI really enjoyed this book!Dagmar is the producer of Alternate Reality Games that span months in time and touch nearly every continent in the world. She's high off the successful conclusion of her latest project when she lands in India. Unfortunately, she lands just before the currency goes into free fall and the military stages a coup.Her employer is a friend from high school, a friend who became massively rich and pays her to run these ARGs because he thought it would be "kinda cool." As her situation becomes more and more dangerous, her friend and boss, Charlie, hires a security firm out of Israel to try and get her out. (The US has committed all its military assets in the Persian Gulf so it can't extract its citizens and therefore can't admit that the situation is as bad as it is. Dagmar's hotel is being looted, people are being killed, hotels are being burned...) When the security firm suffers multiple delays and setbacks, Dagmar turns the problem over to "the hive mind" of Alternate Reality Gamers. I've never played any ARGs and don't really have any interest in doing so. But I do play video games and I have a tabletop RPG group I play with a few times a year. I'm also familiar with fandom. I think the book was so enjoyable for me because I think Williams captured gaming/fandom culture perfectly!I absolutely love that gamers wrote fanfic about her situation and that there was slashfic, too.And of course there were people who didn't believe the mods when they said that it wasn't a game. As a reader I wasn't sure whether to believe it because it could have been a setup like "The Game" someone putting Dagmar in the middle of an ARG without telling her.My only complaint is that I figured out who the bad guy was pretty early on. I wasn't sure for a while, but I was sure long before the actual reveal. I also figured out the other big reveal before it was revealed, but it was about the same time, and that's how that should go.It was a good, entertaining read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down.
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Owen Bennett More than 1 year ago
could use a bit more about the ARGs and BJs game in my opinion
DuncanWatson More than 1 year ago
A very intense thriller with quite a few twists and turns.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked the first part of this book where she is trapped by the civil conflict in the hotel. The writing was engaging, tight, well crafted. I liked the characters and the pacing. But then she got out of the whole thing and it just seemed to slow to a crawl. It turned into a pretty typical murder mystery and I didn't really see where it was going. It was a totally different book. I didn't even finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
At college, they became four friends because of online gaming. Charlie, BJ, Dagmar and Austin were able to turn their love for Internet gaming into a thriving business with each having a different prime role; although their fortunes and misfortunes vary. However, the financial crash has crippled their firm leaving their affluence and influence in jeopardy. Even more dangerous is the situation that one of them finds herself in. Alternate reality game designer Dagmar finds herself trapped when rebels and riots threaten everyone in Jakarta. She has no real way out of Indonesia, but has a virtual escape path. Over the net she contacts the online gamer community and manages to escape the country. However, once back in Los Angeles, Dagmar finds herself in the middle of real homicides including one of them and a wizard using online tools to manipulate finances while the world struggles with the greater crisis. She uses what she learns to create a new game with the "Group Mind" competitors solving clues leading her, she hopes, to the culprit, but not the Russian Mafia. Perhaps the scene in a restaurant in which a hostess stays on her cellphone ignoring Dagmar the customer sets the tone when the gamer draws a flow chart on the placemat. Fans will relish this strong thriller as the blur between reality and virtual is almost zero. Ironically the social networking commentaries make the plot believable but also slow down the faster than wireless networking story line. Still this is a terrific look at aging gamers as reality and virtual converge in their minds, but with a Russian Mafia professional hit man the only reality is a speeding bullet. Harriet Klausner