Constellation Games: A Space Opera Soap Opera

Leonard Richardson. Candlemark & Gleam (Ingram, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (362p) ISBN 978-1-936460-23-6
The fate of the human race may rest in the unready hands of a down-on-his-luck computer game designer in Richardson's fun first novel (which originally ran as an online serial). Ariel Blum is sick of tweaking old versions of pony-themed games into new versions for the kids' market. When an alien ship called Constellation appears with representatives of different alien races on a contact mission, all Ariel notices is their computer screens. Why? Because where there are computers, there are games. A lifelong fan of space and the search for intelligent life, Ariel convinces the aliens to let him translate their computer games into new versions for humans. Before long, he's stressed out from trying to find the human entertainment factor in games built for alien minds, and being harassed by the suits at the U.S. State Department's cryptic "Bureau of Extraterrestrial Affairs." Then he learns the aliens' true mission: to study humanity before it destroys itself. Part "first contact" story, part mystery, part diary-of-a-gaming-geek, Richardson's debut novel should appeal to gamers and fans of light-hearted space opera. (Apr. 17)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
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