by C.L. Davies
Plot Summary:In the not too distant future, after the huge successes of role playing games and virtual worlds such as The Sims, Second Life, and reality shows such as Big Brother, it was only a matter of time before somebody took the next step. A remote island. An android population existing only to entertain. Their lives broadcast around the clock and around the globe. Their actions dictated by their owners. It’s the world’s biggest game played by thousands. Welcome to Gameworld. Dean 3012 is a good guy living on the Island. He loves his girlfriend, Lily, and with their first baby on the way, life is perfect. But when things take a sinister turn, the couple is plunged into a world of darkness and despair. Dean must take control and fight for all their lives.
Review:Automaton has a great premise that takes reality television and virtual gaming to the next level. People's lives revolve around watching and participating in the real world lives of Gameworld. It's a very believable premise, but in execution it didn't feel very believable. The characters - from the Gameworld players to the ones who controlled them didn't feel life fully realized characters. And to have some of the Gameworld characters actually be real people seemed unlikely - there's no regulation for such a high profile game/show? The characters do forward the plot, and the story moves at a very good pace - this is a short and interesting read if you are willing to suspend disbelief.
Because the plot is fast-paced and the story moves to different characters point of view, the gradual unfolding of what goes on in Gameworld was interesting to read about, and some of the actions of the real characters made for exciting twists and turns. Though sometimes the motivations for their actions were unbelievable again. Although the story is thought-provoking, I didn't feel in the end that there was a real point or commentary to the narrative. Personally I felt unhappy with the ending, but it's a story that passes the time and for people who enjoy virtual worlds, it might be an entertaining read.
review copy kindly provided by the author