From time to time, a book comes along that has such an interesting concept that it’s hard to get out of your mind. Metagame, by Sam Landstrom, is that kind of book.
The basic concept is pretty simple. On a future earth, the world has changed in some really significant ways. Instead of everyone working, everyone instead plays games. In fact, your game is usually your job, called a “grinder game.” For example, people in a law enforcement grinder game get points and rewards for catching people. You also get points for little things like dropping a company’s brand name into a conversation. Family is also less of a biological concept and more of a social one, allowing people to join a family of their choice. Of course, there are still lower and higher level players, and the higher level players are invited to play a “Metagame,” where the really big prizes are.
Religion has also changed, with the OverSoul as the deity. And it’s a deity that can grant immortality, if you get to a high enough level. You can think of the OverSoul as the operating system that runs the whole game system, including the implants in people. So people who break the rules of the game are not criminals, they’re demons. And demons are hunted by angels, which are artificial people with enhanced abilities.
Speaking of artificial people, they’re all over the place, and they do most of the dirty work. They’re also not considered people, they’re “products.” It’s the interaction of one player with a product, inside of a Metagame, that provides the story. I don’t want to give it away, but suffice it to say that during the Metagame, questions arise about what humanity really means, and whether a being that is 96.3% genetically similar to a human (the upper limit of similarity allowed for products) is truly human or not.
For a thought provoking story that is still enjoyable and very readable, it’s hard to beat Metagame. I strongly recommend it.
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