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Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang – In Real Life

August 26, 2015

48. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang (2014)

Length: 192 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction

Started/Finished: 04 August 2015

Where did it come from? Christmas present from a friend.
Why do I have it? He thought I’d like it, presumably.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 December 2014.

What happens in an
online game can have very
real consequences.

Summary: Anda is quiet and withdrawn at school, but then she finds a place who she can be who she really is – Coarsegold, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. Within the world of Coarsegold, Anda can be strong, brave, and can kick some serious butt. She gets involved with a quest to take out the gold farmers – people who are hired to earn rewards in the game that they can then sell – for real money – to people who want to progress in the game without doing the gruntwork themselves. Anda considers this unfair to real gamers… but then she starts talking to one of the gold farmers, who is a young man in China, and learning about his life, and suddenly Anda’s simple mission become a lot more complicated.

Review: I really liked this one. I don’t play MMORGs (World of Warcraft or similar) but I’m passingly familiar with them, and I’ve heard of the concept of gold farming – which is a real thing – before. (Possibly from other Doctorow work, or maybe from something like Ready Player One?) What I liked best about this book is that it does an excellent job of presenting complicated economic issues in an accessible way, and presenting both sides of the story as fairly as possible – there are no bad guys, and everyone is just attempting to do what they think is best. I came away not having a clear sense of where I stand, of thinking that everyone has a point, and that the whole things is more complicated than just right vs. wrong, which is a nice trick for a young adult comic book to pull off. I also liked the artwork – it’s bright and colorful and imaginative, and I liked the contrast between Anda in the real world and her avatar in the game. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Recommended for gamers, teens, nerds in general, and teen gamer nerds in specific.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Finding Wonderland, Good Books & Good Wine, Waking Brain Cells, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
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