The Game Is Altered by Mez Packer

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...the conclusion of the story feels curiously flat, as if the real action has been taking place in a world to which the novel has never granted us access.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Sometime in the near future, Lionel, a computer nerd, lives alone with his sick cat, Buddha. His flat overlooks the high street where only a few rundown shops remain in business, including his friend, the old Caribbean gentleman Mr Barber. Lionel, mixed race, born in Kenya, was adopted by a white family. But, apart from his gorgeous, abrasive sister Lilith - his best friend and harshest critic - his family have deserted him. Lionel plays games because he's a coward who can't handle human interaction, Lilith says, before one of her frequent disappearances. But when Lionel puts his headset on, and enters CawrQuest he becomes Ludi, the fighter and the lover. He's free. Here he doesn't need to face his past, bullied by his adoptive brothers, and the shocking event he refuses to remember. Still, the 'real' world won't go away. Nor will Crystal, the haunted Anime girl who needs to be saved from the 'adult health centre' opposite his flat. Soon nothing adds up. Why are people beginning to look at him nervously? Why do the outcasts at work suddenly want to be his friend? Has Lilith finally disappeared for good? As reality and the game blur, Lionel and Ludi are assaulted on all sides. As Lionel struggles to unravel what's happening to him, Ludi tries to rescue the people he loves before the game is altered forever.
 

About Mez Packer

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Born in Essex, Mez Packer works as a lecturer in multimedia and futurism at Coventry University. Before that, she worked as a jazz singer in Portugal. She lives with her partner and her two children in Leamington, Warwickshire. Her debut novel Among Thieves was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Authors Club First Novel Award.
 
Published February 1, 2012 by Tindal Street. 336 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Game Is Altered
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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Jenn Ashworth on Mar 23 2012

...the conclusion of the story feels curiously flat, as if the real action has been taking place in a world to which the novel has never granted us access.

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