In a new series that will intrigue fans of the show Westworld, comes the David-and-Goliath novel,Otherworld, by Jason Segel and Kristin Miller. A boy named Simon will stop at nothing to rescue his best friend from the clutches of a collective evil so great, it can only be referred to as The Company.
The Company has created a gaming system so complex and realistic that players immerse themselves for days at a time in an environment which feels almost real. Players can see, hear, and even touch the world around them. Unfortunately for Simon, The Company have ideas which will take the game a step further. In order to test player’s progress, The Company have taken many people (who are in suspiciously convenient comas) and have been hooked up to Otherworld sets. These sets differ from the usual playing sets; they attach directly to a person’s brain, making the experience fully believable. The only problem – the player’s brains believe they are in the game, so when they die in the game, their real life bodies die as well.
Simon hasn’t spoken to his friend Kat much in the last year or so. But everything changes when Kat is in an accident and experiences Locked in Syndrome. The Company then comes in and declares that they can give her mind something to do, even if her body can do nothing. When Simon discovers the truth about The Company and their plans, he dons a headset of his own and joins the “game,” putting his own life in danger in order to save his friend before it’s too late.
I was a little skeptical about this one going in. The title and description made it sound like a rip-off of Westworld, but I was immediately proven wrong when the story began. Right away, readers see Otherworld is a completely different experience for gamers. Simon is a funny and engaging character with a personality as large as his nose – the one feature about himself that he continuously brings up. Carole and Gorog, two characters in the same situation as Kat, shine as well, as they come into their own when it matters most.
Going back and forth between Otherworld and the real world, and with a little help in both realms, Simon aims to bring down The Company and everything that they do. His extended trips into the game show us just how addictive and immersive the experience actually is – something that can only be damaging for those that are truly stuck there.