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Level Zero (The NextWorld Series) (Volume 1) Paperback – November 6, 2011
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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Knuth bills "Level Zero" as for young adults, but this old codger enjoyed it immensely. It asks questions about the nature of reality, and about how much of our "classical" reality we'd be willing to give up for a simulation that pleases us better. It also asks whether we're ready for the long foretold (but painfully slow in actually arriving) emergence of artificial intelligences that possess the gamut of human capacities -- including our ability to love.
The aspects of "Level Zero" that do aim at a YA audience would be:
-- The use of a digital game as a simulated universe and field of action;
-- The selection of teenagers as the principal characters;
...yet in neither case does that make the story unpalatable to an older reader.
The plot is fresh and ingenious, without demanding excessive suspension-of-disbelief. The characterizations struck me as spot-on. The metamorphosis of Arkade from a borderline-sociopath antisocial to someone capable of loving was handled exceptionally well. The overall theme -- that anything with human-scale intelligence will ultimately demand to be valued as such, and to be free -- is as important as anything SF is being written about today.
If only all young-adult fiction were this well executed, and aimed this worthily. Highly recommended!
Within Huxley's "Brave New World" you have Soma as the drug that keeps the population compliant, within "Level Zero" the virtual 'NextWorld' would be the analogue. The main character uses the network to escape and cope with the 'real' (and bleak) world. While exploring NextWorld with the protagonist Arkade and other characters in the book, the reader begins to understand just how it would be possible to want to live in a world without the inherent problems of actual interaction in the 'real world'. As the book progresses the game world becomes an interactive and exciting backdrop for a study in how a group can interact, and how individuals can grow. A question the book poses, and does a good job discussing, is what makes a persons world real? Is it what we perceive, or what we are, or what we make of it?
The book progresses quickly, while the main characters are fleshed out nicely as they work their way through the world. Being a gamer (albeit older) myself, I could relate to detail of the gaming world, along with the imagery and descriptions used to make 'NextWorld' seem a logical step in the progression of technology.
As stated above, while this book is technically aimed at Young Adults, I had no problem enjoying and being immersed in the story. It can easily be enjoyed by any age group, as just a great SF/Fantasy story. I highly recommend this book for anyone that has played MMORPG's or anything similar, along with anyone that just likes a great, fun SF story!
I am a female fourteen-year-old, and I enjoyed this. I say a person of any gender would find this enjoyable, and those aged from eleven to -- let's say -- maybe seventeen or so could read this pleasantly.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a very captivating book. Great character development. In fact, so good that Cyren's truth didn't come to me as a surprise. Kade couldn't connect with people. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Razor
Weak entry into the litrpg genre. Unsympathetic main character with mostly informed ability. There are many better options out there to scratch that litrpg itch. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Double Ligero
Great book. Awesome setting. And it gives a moral that many will find beyond words. I would recommend this book to anyone.Published 8 months ago by James Doty Jr.
Has action drama, tense suspense filled moments and a wonderful ending, know thers a squeal and I hope it's ass goodPublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great story about a solo guy realising what a group really means. A definite read for anyone into games and books.Published 9 months ago by Zac Barker
Not bad, but it left me feeling blah. There just wasn't any part that particularly appealed to me. DangerWar 2 sounded like a terribly imbalanced fantasy/military mess of a game. Read morePublished 10 months ago by JRR
Didn't get past chapter 2 I didn't like this at all!Published 10 months ago by Jennifer Schoffstall
The story had a good pace and kept me turning the pages. The protagonist was a little hard to like for me, even after the ending. Read morePublished 10 months ago by William Cowell