Take an experimental technology that allows comatose hospital patients to walk and talk again. Merge that with a virtual reality video game so life-like and addictive that grown men would rather wet themselves than log off. Throw in the most powerful corporation in the world. Have it manufacture an epidemic of “accidents” that creates a large population of unconscious patients to test the new technology upon. Add two teenagers and a blossoming love into the mix, and what do you have? Otherworld, the YA debut from the writing team of New York Times bestselling author Kristen Miller and actor, screenwriter, songwriter and author Jason Segel, perhaps best know for his acting in the acclaimed TV series “Freaks and Geeks” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
Mimicking the hybrid contours of our lives, which are increasingly lived online, Otherworld toggles between the world of social media, subdivisions and tech billionaires and the Otherworld, a virtual realm where our darkest desires rule—and murder and mayhem are just part of the game. Though this story provides ample thought candy for die-hard science and speculative fiction fans, Otherworld’s appeal is more than cerebral. Like the best dystopian fiction, the human element remains firmly enthroned at the center of the story, driving its action and adding depth and resonance to the questions it raises.
With its intriguing take on our tech-saturated world, its engaging love story and plenty of comic asides, Otherworld is a smart and thoroughly enjoyable novel.