Constellation Games - Leonard Richardson

I'd had this recommended by The Internet a while back, and finally got it. I think it's self-published or something, as the paperback version is quite pricey, and the ebook is cheap. It feels "very good amateur writing", although apologies if I'm insulting his agent and editor through mischaracterisation.

The plot is "Aliens arrive, as seen through the eyes of a mediocre games developer/reviewer. To oversell it, it feels like Ready Player One with the serial numbers filed off. There's a retro vibe to it, but all the game names are substitutions for the real things. I enjoyed the characterisation of the aliens as simultaneously human-like and alien. This is underlined by the mix of explaining alien computer games to humans, and trying to explain human computer games to aliens (when you analyse it, we sound really weird).

As the book rolls on, there's a certain amount of Douglas Coupland to it, albeit without the poetry. The main characters are unsatisfied Generation X-/Y-ers, carrying on normal lives through tremendous change. Sadly, towards the end it even gets a bit Cory Doctorow - the main character lives up to the weaknesses he's been decribed as having by doing dumb things and flailing about. Sadly the story's not hugely better, as it starts to meander. I get the impression it was a pile of ideas stapled together, rather than a coherent plot, and it shows towards the end.

Perhaps I'm being a little harsh. It's a lot of fun. It's worth reading. It's perhaps as good as bad Stross, and is yet another reminder of quite how good Ready Player One is.

Posted 2015-08-09.