Narrator: Christopher James Mayer
Published by Self Published / Indie on 20 November 2017
Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
Genres: LitRPG, Science Fiction
Source: Narrator, Submitted
We found paradise. Now what?
Student Paul Kostakis has caught the attention of Ludo, an Artificial Intelligence obsessed with games and stories. In return for a few little favors, she's offering "brain uploading". She can fatally dice your brain, scan it, and recreate you in a virtual-reality heaven she controls. You can do anything in there: become a griffin, upgrade your mind, fall in love, or go mad.
When Paul accepts Ludo's offer, sooner than he would've liked, he learns that people can find real problems even in a digital world. One of them is that Ludo has powerful opponents who want to shut her down, bring death to her immortal people, and end her game forever.
©2015, 2017 Kristopher M Schnee (P)2017 Kristopher M Schnee
ABR received this audiobook for free from the Narrator, Submitted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the audiobook or the content of our review.Buy from Audible Buy from Amazon.com
An AI that isn’t out to destroy humanity, imagine that. Can we create something that is intellectually better than us, more creative than us, and wants to better mankind? I don’t know, but that is the premise of How We Won the Game.
Thousand Tales: How We Won the Game tries to really set itself apart from the other GAMELit novels out there. It does so in a fairly unique way. It centers on a sapient AI whose sole purpose, hmm; maybe even sole purpose, is to make humanity happier and even better than it has ever been. It is completely on its own, and cannot be reprogrammed nor altered in any way. The way it seeks to help humanity is by slicing, dicing, and scanning your brain, and then uploading all that information into a digital universe. The nice thing is that the option is completely up to the individual, making this a voluntary process. Once in, there is no going back, and so even though it is your choice, there are people opposed to the idea.
The protagonist, Paul, opts to undergo this transformation, and experience life in the digital world. Thousand Tales is the game in which he exists. He then proceeds to learn that life isn’t any better in the computer than it was out of it. Each has its own pros and cons. The book isn’t a standard novel, granted it moves from point A all the way to Z, just not in a chapter by chapter format. This comes across as a series of short stories set in the realm of Thousand Tales. Because of this, there are a ton of characters, which some readers may find daunting to keep track of, as some do carry over into other stories. I found that it also leaves you, as a reader, wanting. With all the shifting of characters, you may find one or two you really like and never see them again. I will state again that the stories are woven together, but you are never really allowed to see the whole picture at once. You get snippets of the overall storyline and must piece them together.
Another character, aside from Paul, is Linda (the McCartney’s maybe?) who is far more interesting than Paul. She challenges and questions everything that Ludo, the AI, does; whereas Paul is Pro-Ludo, and so his character lacks as much depth as Linda.
The very concept of opting to permanently leave your physical body to play a game is fascinating and would have huge real-world implications. Is the “real” person actually dead, and this just a computer approximation of who you were? Does a digital human qualify as being real? How would this effect religion? You are immortal essentially, after all. What would happen to the people inside if the code goes bad, or a patch ends up deleting people? Could this be used as a form of punishment? No need for cells if you can digitize criminals. Want to end starvation? Put 90% of the population into a digital format. You get the idea. There are so many real-world consequences in regards to Ludo the AI existing and presenting this option.
Christopher James Mayer narrates the story, and I have to say he is on fleek, as the kids would say. Seriously, he does a wonderful job giving each character their own voice and distinctive personality. The audio quality on this book is fantastic, I did not detect any issues audibly, and his narration is very easy to listen to and follow. I never had an issue understanding him. Furthermore, he manages to add some depth that I think is lacking in the printed version. Paul, as an example, is given more emotion that exists on the printed page. That is only because of Mayer, and his vocal talents.
How we won the game is an interesting book that could have been a little better. The characters were a little shallow and while the stories were woven together well, it seemed that a straight novel with this concept would have been much better in the long run. While I enjoyed the book, I do not know if I would treat myself to a second novel unless some of the aforementioned issues were well and properly addressed. I will say that this book is worth your time. It does have a great concept, and I believe that Ludo is the most interesting character in the whole book. The book does standout from the rest of the general LitRPG novels. Have some fun and treat yourself to something new and innovative, and maybe you’ll win your game. Even though I did receive a promo audio copy from ABR for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and actually inspired me to be more honest. In fact, getting a promo generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.
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