Blurb: Awareness leaping is all the rage.
Memories wiped, their bodies each dropped into a tank. Their consciousness thrown into the Maze—a virtual reality where anyone is anything and anywhere. Battles are fought, riddles are solved. To win a lifetime of riches one has to escape the Maze. First, they have to remember who they are.
Some never do.
I read this novella three times back-to-back, and I still feel I could gain from reading it again.
On the first read-through I enjoyed it as an easy-read sci-fi about future gaming technology and reality television taken to the next level in a Hunger-Games-esque dystopian set-up. That is, until I got to the main plot twist.
The second read through I was looking for all the hints and pointers that the author had planted like Easter eggs for the aware reader to play the game and work out the Maze. I was a-maze-d (ha ha) at how much I had missed on my first read, and how it all fitted together so neatly once I KNEW!
By the third read I felt like a winner of the Maze myself. My eyes had opened to what it all meant, and how it worked, and I was thinking about the bigger issues raised. Yes this is an examination of where gaming and reality media cultures could lead society, but more than that it is a look at how we approach life, and our self-identities. The idea of climbing mountains because they are there, at great personal risk, and for no tangible reward, is not a new one, but I loved this new approach to thinking about it.
As a gamer myself I also enjoyed the RPG-style ‘worlds’ of the Maze, and the puzzle-solving involved in moving between them. I am really glad that this is just a taster of a full-sized novel to follow, because there was definitely much more to explore here, and I am excited to see where the author takes this idea in a bigger story arc. And I will definitely be checking out the author’s other work!
At times I forgot what the struggle was all about, why I was searching for a keyhole into the next world and the world after that. There was a memory wipe before I started all of this, but that didn’t explain why it was getting harder to remember each world I left. Or who I was before I started.
The game was quicksand. And I was deep.
– Tony Bertauski, Maze
Maze Book 1: The Waking of Grey Grimm will be released on 8th August 2017!