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Gamers by Thomas K Carpenter
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Gamers (edition 2011)

by Thomas K Carpenter

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Member:Liz_S
Title:Gamers
Authors:Thomas K Carpenter
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Gamers by Thomas K. Carpenter

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  1. 00
    Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (terriko)
    terriko: Great teen fiction! Gamers posits a world where everyone competes using games to define their future, while Uglies posits a world where everyone becomes pretty at 16. While these are pretty different worlds, both books chronicle stories of heroines not going quite where their society expects them to go...… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Meh. Doesn't quite work. Sort of a cross between Uglies and MockingJay maybe. That sort of feel to it, but without quite any of the brilliance. I'm not sure why it didn't work well, but somehow it didn't feel that the world had been thought through properly, to many convenient coincidences that passed unexplained. ANd perhaps too short with a few themes left unexplored.

The essential premise is that Gaby is at school in a dystopian future where the US has split apart. In her region life is lived with a constant overlay of graphical imagery, and everything is competition to earn Lifepoints. She's at school but doesn't actually go to classes as such, instead she plays educational games with and against her friends. Only of course she's totally MarySue with the highest Thoughts Per Second score ever known, (what? that is such a bizarre metric) and so she can ace all the games, and instead spends her time hacking them to allow her friend to make the cut. Her life starts to turn odd just as she's pulled off a particularly tricky hack, when her account is suspected of being altered by 'Frags' people who live outside the regulated LifeGame environment that is the only one she knows. There very existence comes as some surprise, although this is weakly and poorly conveyed. There's a random 'owl' floating around too that never gets explained. Anyway Gabby meets the Frags (no surprise there) and then only just makes it back for the end of year final 'game' - Fantasy Quest adventure.

The characters are sort of ordinary school YA heroines, which justa bout works, the Frags are completely flat. The meta-gaming scenarios are probably the cleverest aspect, but even here it only really works for half the book or so. The pure game scenarios work quite well. The world backdrop isn't actually that unbelievable either, but for this story to work well, the interface between them needs to delicately and believably handled to he reader. And it just isn't. ( )
  reading_fox | Aug 5, 2014 |
Gamers is one of two self-pubs I have on my list to read for Dystopian February. Though I'm generally skeptical of self-published books, Thomas K. Carpenter sent me a real review request, one where he'd looked up my name and read some of my work. I appreciate when the requesters have done their due diligence before contacting me, and his book actually fit within the broad swath of genres I enjoy, which happens surprisingly rarely.

Like a few other dystopian novels I've read, Gamers considers a society where life is like a video game, the average person a mere player moving about in an artificial reality. The construct is a fascinating one, which is no doubt the reason it's proved so popular with authors. What's cool about it, though, is that, even though I've read at least four books which used this basic premise, they all have been able to do unique things with it, because the landscape and functioning of the gaming world can vary so widely.

The gamers get points for everything they do, from taking tests to personal hygiene to leisure activities. These points add up to a Life Score, a number which determines your ranking and whether the person will be able to attend college. This is LifeGame, where people walk around collecting points like Mario collects little gold coins from his car in MarioKart.

What's really cool about Gamers are the layers of gaming. From within LifeGame, the players can enter another game. It makes me wonder where real life actually begins. There's a sort of Inception-like quality to it, in that there's no way to say where the game ends. Every aspect of your life can be peered into and affected by a hacker or coder. It's a really scary thought.

The first half of Gamers reads like a science fiction novel, setting up the world and establishing how LifeGame works. Once that's done, you learn the inevitable dark underbelly of the world. At about the midway point, there's a sort of genre change when, from within LifeGame, Gabby and the other students enter a game as their final test to determine whether they will get into college. The game has the feel of a high fantasy video game. I found both parts entertaining, and fast-paced.

The characters never really grabbed me, and do not develop all that much over the course of the novel. I do appreciate, though, the complex relationships between Zaela, Gabby, and Avony. They could have been a bit more deftly-handled, but I like that they're not black and white, and none of the girls is demonized or placed on a pedestal. No one in Gamers comes off as utterly perfect, which is a nice change from so many idealized YA heroines.

So far as the editing goes, I do think Gamers could benefit from a bit more editing. I noticed several errors, but they weren't on every page by any mean. The strangest errors were misspellings with double letters, like scrapping instead of scraping, chaffed instead of chafed, and gripped instead of griped.

Gamers is a quick, enjoyable, fast-paced dystopian read. I think it is best-suited perhaps for a younger teen, even middle grade, audience or for more reluctant readers. As of 2/12/13, the Kindle edition is free temporarily on Amazon, on sale from $5.99, so if you're curious there's no better time! ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
Plot: 3 stars
Characters: 3 1/2 stars
Style: 3 stars
Pace: 4 stars

On one hand, other than a few minor typos, this book is very readable, if you know MMO terms. I...well, don't. I've never enjoyed them, and I kept having to stop and google them at first. It's rather heavy handed at a few points, and hits the standard dystopian tropes. But a light, easy read anyway. ( )
  Jami_Leigh | Mar 31, 2013 |
Review Copy

Some time ago, I was contacted by the author of Gamers, Thomas K. Carpenter, and was asked to read his book and provide a fair and honest review. I tend to worry when that happens. A few times it's lead to bad experiences and I'm not fond of giving any book a poor review. The good news is, I liked the story and will likely, at some point, get around to reading the other books in the trilogy, Frags and Coders.

It did take me a while to find the time to read this, things just kept getting in the way, but I'm very happy I finally squeezed it in.

In the not to distant future, LifeGame has become an all inclusive competition where scores separate those who will earn their Life Class and get into University and those who would get lesser, meaningless jobs. Jobs that don't have as much responsibility, a title, or many benefits within LifeGame.

Some explanation about LifeGame from the text of the story...

"Why was LifeGame introduced? Because the Greater States of America was losing it's competitive edge. The first rule is what can be gamed can be improved. The second rule is that everything can be a game and the last rule is to never look backwards because the past is a game that's already been decided."

Gabby and Zaela are best friends and are getting ready for the upcoming Final Raid which will go a long way in determining who gets to go on to University. There are a lot of very imaginative peaks into the future in Gamers. For example, you don't drive, but there are "FunCar lots with hundreds of bubble shaped cars with four puffy tires." The cars would drive themselves while the occupants played games.

Of course we soon learn, from a subversive group called the Frags, that there may be more sinister intentions behind the LifeGame and our heroine Gabby winds up right in the middle of the action.

Gamers is what it is, a YA dystopian thriller that may not be as good as say, the Harry Potter series or The Hunger Games books, but it's certainly a completely entertaining entry into this particlar market and I would highly recommend the book for the younger audience or for any adult who enjoys this type of story.

All three books in the trilogy are currently available in paperback and e-book from a number of online retailers. Gamers is actually available for FREE from Amazon.com, so you can check this one out before deciding to spend money on the other two books. ( )
  FrankErrington | Mar 22, 2013 |
Interesting and entertaining story. Really enjoyed the game theory and programming mixed in with the story, though not all finds are entirely original.
I've recently taken a course on gamification, so I was interested in this novel in which pretty much everything in life is gamified, and enjoyed reading it.
Would be interested in reading the rest of the series. ( )
  Britt84 | Jan 5, 2013 |
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