Science Fiction with Gaming elements

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by ofer, May 19, 2015.

  1. ofer

    ofer Regular Member

    Over the last few years, I realized that I developed quite a taste for books with gaming elements in them. Sometimes the games can take place in virtual reality, and sometimes the games are part of real life. I don't really mind, as long as it's good.

    Just to be clear: I don't mean any book with virtual reality (like Neuromancer, or Snow Crash) - I'm talking about books with actual games and gaming sessions in them. I also don't mean books which were adapted from videogames (Dragon Age, Mass Effect, etc) but more interested in original ideas.

    Here is a short list of books with gaming elements in them that I liked:

    Games in real life:
    Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
    The Player of Games - Iain Banks
    Red Rising - Pierce Brown

    Games in virtual reality:
    The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson
    Otherland - Tad Williams
    Soda Pop Soldier - Nick Cole
    Ready Player One - Ernest Cline.

    Any other suggestions?
    Last edited: May 19, 2015
  2. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Sorry, wasn't sci-fi.
  3. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Hmm, now that I think about it, I also really like books with games as their themes, but I can't think of many. From your list, I've not read Nick Cole, Tad Williams and Pierce Brown (for some reason, I had the impression that "Red Rising" was similar to "Hunger Games" which was a tame rip-off of "Battle Royale").

    The only one that I can think of which might meet the criteria, and which I haven't as yet read, is Walter Jon Williams "Knight Moves". Also, I attempted Herman Hesse's "The Glass Bead Game" during my teens when I was enamoured with "Siddhartha" and "Demian", but I gave up at the time since it was a little too dense. I should reattempt it now.

    Have you ever tried to read any manga? There is a science fiction titled called "Gantz", which is essentially a brutal game a la "Battle Royale". Very violent, quite sexual at times, but gets more and more compelling as you read on. Volumes 26/27 were the last I read (which had just been scanlated by some fan groups). Haven't gone back to it since.
  4. ofer

    ofer Regular Member

    Didn't read The Hunger Games either so I can't make a direct comparison to Red Rising. Funnily enough, Red Rising had a lot of story elements that I don't particularly like (story too simple, a little bit of Lord of the Flies vibe) but the story was fast and written competently so I ended up liking it, although I believe other members liked it more than me.

    Nope. Could never get into magna or graphic novels.

    Thanks, never heard of Walter Jon Williams. Will look it up.
    I also read Hesse's Siddhartha as a teenager.

    Actually, I saw your original post - it was sent to my e-mail - but no, even if it was sci-fi rather then fantasy, Mat's dice game is not what I had in mind. The game has to be a little more elaborate and plot-centric.
  5. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I didn't; I thought it was crap!

    I should write reviews for this here site! :)
  6. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Haven't read the novels, either. Just seen the first two movies. "Battle Royale" was originally a manga that was made into a film - can't remember if it was directed by Takeshi Kitano, but he had a role in the film. You should check it out. As for a LotF vibe, I'm down with that, but it needs to be very good to meet the bar. "High Rise" had a bit of a LotF vibe, but that was an exceptionally powerful novel. I'm curious about "Red Rising" but frankly I was a little sceptical of the praise it received.
    Do! You should also write fantasy reviews for this site. When you tweet anything from this forum, is it also visible to your fantasy audience or is it completely separate?
  7. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    I'm actually planning on my first review on BFB soon - Will be on The Dinosaur Lords, when it's finally with us =)

    Let's see how that one goes ....
  8. btkong

    btkong Administrator Staff Member

    Games in Virtual Reality:

    Stephenson's Reamde ( ALL about a virtual game and how it interacts with the world )
    Cory Doctorow's Little Brother

    Real Life Games:

    Gantz as suggested (manga though there is the anime as well which was not completed or not as much as manga is up too I think)

    Other Stuff that mightbe similar:

    Red Shirts by Sclazi
  9. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Epic by Conor Kostick definitely qualifies. It's a children's book, but very fun. First of a trilogy (Avatar Chronicles) dealing in virtual reality. I've also read the second instalment, Saga, which is even better than Epic, but moves away from the more overt gaming element that the first book deals in. I've also got Edda, the final instalment, but haven't had a chance to read it yet.
  10. btkong

    btkong Administrator Staff Member

    Can't forget to mention, Ernest Cline's newest Armada, which is pretty much IS a video game becomes real life tale.
  11. Scribe I Am

    Scribe I Am New Member

    The Homeworld Series with its many fan fictions is by far the most inspirational story and description of the collision of human and technological essences I have ever seen. Though it would taste a lie to say that the fan fiction comes anywhere near the meaning conveyed by the games. I suppose that is where the line between visual and written arts becomes drawn.
  12. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Came across Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept books, a science-fantasy series where the focus seems to be a game. First book is Split Infinity and I picked it up. I've never read any Piers Anthony though I've come across his name often enough. This seems like a good/fun point to start.

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