cover image Otaku


Chris Kluwe. Tor, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-20393-9

Kluwe’s well-crafted fiction debut, an old-school cyberpunk adventure, brings the thrills of virtual reality combat into the real world while taking aim at the racist and sexist abuses that pervade contemporary gamer culture. In a near-future America that’s divided between the Silkies, anarcho-capitalist West Coast tech companies, and the Gummies, a morally dictatorial East Coast theocracy, Ashley Akachi (aka “Ashura the Terrible”) is the leader of a team of professional VR gamers, the SunJewel Warriors, who gains fame for her impressive in-game stunts, but faces misogynistic backlash from other gamers. When Ashley gets sucked into the power struggle between the Silkies and the Gummies, she and her fellow SJWs infiltrate high-tech facilities to unravel the conspiracy of how their VR game is being used to control the minds of its players. Kluwe’s complex near-future politics are convincingly rendered, and fight scenes featuring the team blasting and blitzing its way through government buildings with missiles and swords will appeal to video game fans. This is a solidly entertaining romp. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management (Mar.)