cover image The Moon Maze Game

The Moon Maze Game

Larry Niven and Steven Barnes. Tor, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2666-9

Niven and Barnes revive their long-running Dream Park series (after 1992's The California Voodoo Game), set in a future when live action role-playing is a reality TV sensation. The televised test run of the Moon's new gaming park is derailed when the players, including teen prince Ali Kikaya, are taken hostage. Our heroes quickly escape, but they're still trapped inside a game with terrorists hot on their heels. Ali is wracked with guilt, romances flourish, and poorer gamer Sharmela plays to the cameras to help her endorsement deal. The authors treat disabled gamer Asako as a cheap source of pathos, and it's hard not to sympathize with revolutionaries trying to overthrow Ali's father in the name of democracy, but readers willing to overlook these flaws will enjoy a cat-and-mouse chase in which role-playing serves as perfect training for heroics and survival. (Aug.)