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Level Zero (The NextWorld Series) (Volume 1) Paperback – November 6, 2011
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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!
It takes place in a future society were humans have overpopulated the planet. With so many people and so little space, the digital world is the only place where people can socialize, work, live, and do just about everything. Through the use of a technological marvel called the e-womb, citizens of the world can log into various digital worlds.
The protagonist is a boy named Kade who lives somewhere in Old Russia. His callsign is called Arkade, a cowboy avatar whose a wiz at the number one PvP game, DangerWar. He's so good that the creators of the game invite him to test their new beta version of DangerWar 2, where team-based dynamics are essential to leveling up. Arkade's a loner. He doesn't like working with other players, let alone depending on them. But when he and those around him are unable to log out of the game, their bodies slowly dying in the real world, he must overcome that trait and learn to trust...his life depends on it.
It's not the most original concept, but the idea brings up insightful social issues we face today. Arkade is the quintessential citizen of the world, one so caught up in his own world that he's forgotten how to interact with other humans. We're not that far off from living in a completely digital world, where we spend more time with pixilated avatars than real people. When it comes to depending on strangers for his life, Arkade faces his greatest dilemma. How easy is it to trust people, even those who depend on you depending on them? It's a moral struggle that hits all too close to home.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
JLk has written a game players novel. The basis for the background is that Earth is overpopulated. Therefore, many live in artificial worlds. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
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 7 months 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 10 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 13 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 14 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 14 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 15 months ago by JRR
Didn't get past chapter 2 I didn't like this at all!Published 15 months ago by Jennifer Schoffstall