The phrase “This Is Not a Game” has resonated over the years as an often misunderstood mantra for alternate reality gaming. Thus, I say the following with a bit of hesitation: This is Not a Game is, surprisingly enough, not actually a game. At least, it isn’t if you’re talking about Walter Jon Williams’ newest novel of the same name, due out March 24th.
This Is Not a Game (not to be confused with Dave Szulborski’s book of the same title) is a novel about Dagmar, an alternate reality game designer trapped in Jakarta during a revolution. When one of her co-workers is gunned down in the parking lot, she draws on her game’s player base to help her without their knowledge, diverting player talents and energies to solve her problems within the context of the ARG.
Walter Jon Williams is no stranger to alternate reality games, and worked with 42 Entertainment as a writer for Last Call Poker, working with prose, radio plays, comic books, sound files, puzzles, and teleplays. You can read more about his time working on Last Call Poker at his blog, Angel Station. His experience with Last Call Poker inspired him, in his words, “to take this bright, hot, blazingly hip new medium and turn it into ink on dead paper.” Williams’ goal with This Is Not a Game is to capture both the frantic pace and sense of danger ARGs can convey due to the immediacy of feedback and dynamic nature of the game due to player involvement.
While the plot of the novel centers around alternate reality gaming, there are no plans to develop cross-media…yet. However, Orbit Books has already picked up two more books in Williams’ new universe, starting with a direct sequel, Deep State.
Click here to pre-order This Is Not a Game at Amazon