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The Moon Maze Game (Dream Park) Mass Market Paperback – September 25, 2012
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“A cat-and-mouse chase in which role-playing serves as perfect training for heroics and survival.” ―Publishers Weekly
“The characters are nicely drawn and the plotting is intensely tight. This one brews up nicely.” ―The San Diego Union-Tribune
“It is a book that demands to be devoured in big, meaty chunks…[there is] an un-put-down-able quality between the covers of The Moon Maze Game.” ―New York Journal
“A solidly satisfying story. Series fans and lovers of gaming fiction should enjoy this action-filled collaboration.” ―Library Journal
About the Author
LARRY NIVEN is the award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces, and fantasy novels including the Magic Goes Away series. He has received the Nebula Award, five Hugos, four Locus Awards, two Ditmars, the Prometheus, and the Robert A. Heinlein Award, among other honors. He lives in Chatsworth, California.
STEVEN BARNES' first published collaboration with Larry Niven, The Locusts, was nominated for the 1980 Hugo award. He has also written several episodes for The Outer Limits, Baywatch, and other television shows.
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Top Customer Reviews
We're set up for basically two different plots here, the stereotypical "evil genius gm out to get certain players and yet stay within the rules of the game" and the rather more interesting "professional kidnappers go after one of the players". The first is dropped once the second becomes known to the players. The game itself didn't seem all that interesting to me, but I'll admit that because of what happens the reader is only getting disjointed pieces to look at. There's more than enough ideas here to make a good book, but we don't get that. We get cardboard characters being pushed around a board. Most are barely one-dimensional. We get the terrorist with the Irish accent, the player that everybody loves who is handicapped, the politician on his way up who sells out. One member of what we are shown to be a possible budding relationship is killed off with no reaction from the other member at all. The final twenty pages probably didn't take much longer to write than they did to read. I don't mind the occasional mindless adventure in my fiction, but I don't expect it from Niven and Barnes.
Purists should wait for the paperback, everybody else can just skip it.
Summary (2.5 stars):
The Dream Park Milieu is brought back for the 4th book in the series. It is set roughly 30 years after "The California Voodoo Game" was set. The location is Heinlein Base on Luna (the moon). The basic plot goes something like this:
1) The biggest game ever is about to be played on the Moon.
2) During the game, a kidnapping takes place of the son of the King of an African country (might be benevolent tryrant or not...).
3) The PCs in the game have to both solve puzzles to stay ahead of the kidnappers for personal safety but they also want to show they can be heroes in real life.
You only get to see hints of the "Moon Maze Game" story, props and settings. It is actually quite frustrating as the game has some great potential for a Dream Park story/game. Disclaimer: I do run Dream Park RPG games from time to time, so I have a particular bias here. The story of the kidnappers and the interaction with the PCs plus moon base staff is very simplistic and not very compelling. It appears that Larry and Steven just phoned in this part of the book. It is rather disappointing especially when they do have a diamond in the rough here.
If you like the Dream Park book series, the book is worth reading. If you have not read the other books, I suggest that you read the first and third books before thinking about reading this book.
World Setting -- 3 stars:
Nothing really new here from the other Dream Park novels. If anything it seems that world society has become lazy and complacent. The joy that you felt from the gamers in Dream Park games / experiences is just not present in this story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A sequel of sorts to Dream Park (a great SF adventure), The Moon Maze Game at first seems to be a repeat of the original in a different environment, but quickly turns away from... Read morePublished 28 days ago by James Kenney
Niven's and Barnes' "Dream Park" series is one of my favorites, and "The Moon Maze Game" continues it perfectly. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nicole Lambert
Very disappointing. I didn't even finish it. The writing isn't as good, and it's the next generation of characters. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Celia Osborne
Long drawn out story with very little excitement. DREAM PARK and CALIFORNIA VOODO were the only ggod onesPublished 3 months ago by Gerry Conway
This series has never been a disappointment!
I have loved them from the first and tell everyone I know about them!
Enjoyed it immensely. Very much in the spirit of the first three novels. I hope Niven and Barnes write several more Dream Park novels.Published 5 months ago by Gerald Esch