Book: Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace
February 2, 2022 10:22 AM - Subscribe

"Ready Player One meets Cyberpunk 2077 in this eerily familiar future."

Dystopian hypercapitalism, gamer geek feel, and an aromantic/asexual protagonist.

"New Liberty City, 2134.

Two corporations have replaced the US, splitting the country’s remaining forty-five states (five have been submerged under the ocean) between them: Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. There are nine supercities within the continental US, and New Liberty City is the only amalgamated city split between the two megacorps, and thus at a perpetual state of civil war as the feeds broadcast the atrocities committed by each side.

Here, Mallory streams Stellaxis’s wargame SecOps on BestLife, spending more time jacked in than in the world just to eke out a hardscrabble living from tips. When a chance encounter with one of the game’s rare super-soldiers leads to a side job for Mal—looking to link an actual missing girl to one of the SecOps characters. Mal’s sudden burst in online fame rivals her deepening fear of what she is uncovering about BestLife’s developer, and puts her in the kind of danger she’s only experienced through her avatar."
posted by warriorqueen (4 comments total)
I enjoyed this book for a few reasons.

Like a lot of sf I'm personally finding these days, it had a strong voice and a nice sense of kind of the balance between humour and personality, and the seriousness of the setting.

Like the Murderbot series I really am currently digging books with relationships that are not following the romantic trajectory at all.

I found this matched my exhaustion with All The Things related to capitalism and let me stay kind of engaged without losing heart. In that sense it reminded me of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower.

And for More About The Author, If you haven't read Archivist Wasp (I'm waiting on my hold for Latchkey) I recommend it too, especially if you liked Gideon the Ninth, it has a kind of similar vibe and heroine.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:33 AM on February 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

I loved Archivist Wasp, so Im happy to see this recommendation for a new book! (Like so many sequels, Latchkey wasn't as good but it was just fine!)
posted by Illusory contour at 4:22 PM on February 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I really liked this too - it felt like an extremely accurate look at what a large-scale Play-to-Earn MMO ecosystem would look like (something the NFT bros are super excited about at the moment, which... yeah) and it was really nice to see a non-romantic, non-sexual parasocial crush in an accurate light. The author wrote a really great essay on what growing up ace/aro felt like, which I think should be more widely read.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:12 AM on February 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

"Ready Player One meets Cyberpunk 2077..."
Is suing for defamation still a thing?
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:37 PM on February 8, 2022

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