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The Moon Maze Game    by Larry Niven & Steven Barnes order for
Moon Maze Game
by Larry Niven
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Larry Niven and Steven Barnes continue their collaboration on futuristic tales of virtual reality gaming (that began with Dream Park and continued in The Barsoom Project) with The Moon Maze Game. In the first book, Alex Griffin was security chief at a future fantasy theme park where players immerse themselves in a virtual reality game, with live actors and carefully manipulated holograph settings. Now his son Scotty stars in The Moon Maze Game.

It's 2085 and there's a colony on the moon, one that seeks independence. Lunar tourism is big and the first live action role playing game on the moon is about to be launched, based on an H. G. Wells novel. Participating will be the teen heir to the Republic of Kikaya, Ali Kikaya, who's a passionate gamer. Which is where Scotty comes in - working as a Close Protection specialist (bodyguard) he's hired by Ali's father Abduel to protect his heir on Luna and in the game.

Scotty had left the moon (and his wife Kendra who is Chief of Operations on Luna) after a near-fatal accident turned 'the once-pleasurable lunar experience ... clammy and claustrophobic.' How will he cope on his return, and how will it affect Kendra? Complicating matters further, Xavier, the Moon Maze Game Master, has his own plans to avenge himself on two of the players - Angelique who spurned him and Wayne, whom he believes betrayed him.

The plot continues to thicken and soon, the game is on with terrorists ready to execute a long laid plan. When they strike, gamers are forced to strategize and fight for their real lives, not just their virtual ones: 'In this game, you win by not dying.' And worlds are watching! If you're a fan of this series, you won't be disappointed in in The Moon Maze Game. And if you're not yet, start at the beginning with Dream Park and keep going - they're all great fun.

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