16 year old Nick Seche is a gamer, a nerd. It's 2024 and Seche wins a beta trial of a new tech, sensory-immersing gaming unit and program from innovative gaming guru, Daichi Arata, head of Phantom Gaming. It's a game apparently locked in the mundanity of small-town USA but Arata's game promises so much more. It goes way beyond the virtual and plunges Nick into a world that becomes scarily not at all everyday. Via the game’s sensors and lightspeed technology Seche lives and breathes his character, Norman Mene. And things in his own world (Sydney Australia) begin to resonate with the world of Burris (the small mid-west town where the game is set); the game spirals out of control, Pleasantville meets Gremlins - hackers made substantial, gamers intruding on game space and politics out of control in downtown main street. In the meantime, back in Sydney, Seche is contacted via a strange entity he dubs the voice. Via the voice he is led to believe that the game is a simulation environment which allows sinister background entities to data mine players. It may be gaming but the stakes are real world - and Nick Seche is a guinea pig.
The paperback cover. I am not (as should be evident) the world's best (or even 1.5 billionth best) graphic designer but I think this one works, at least a little, at getting across what the book is about. Hints of games, playing with dice and gambling, algorithms, and the fluidity of data.