LitRPG Podcast 020
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 20 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.
New Releases and Reviews:
We’ll begin with LitRPG news
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Viridian Gate Online pre-order is up. Yaaay. Released 12/23 http://amzn.to/2gSOZjY
Author of The Dive and World Seed, Justin Miller, plans to publish newest story World Keeper on Amazon once finished, he’s also asking fans of his two book The Dive series if they’re interested in a print edition of the book. You can let him know if you’re interested by going to his author page on Amazon and posting in the discussion thread.
Travis Bagwell has completed the content part of the second book in the Awaken Online series. Now he just has to do all that editing. On his blog he says that he hopes to have the book released early 2017.
The Crystal Sphere (The Neuro Book #1) LitRPG Series
Inhabited by clumsy dwarves and cute Elfas, the cyberspace of the Crystal Sphere - the latest state-of-the-art MMORPG game - is not as benign as it might seem. Unbeknownst to most players, this is a test site for the latest technogenic device: the neuroimplant, allowing players to experience the full range of real-life sensations, including pain, exhaustion and death.
Alexatis is one of the few test subjects. His predecessors have already perished, destroyed by the lethal challenges of their new environment. Will he survive in a world which for most of his fellow players is still harmless entertainment?
A prequel to A. Livadny's Phantom Server, the Neuro series will shed a new light on many of the truths that the author has kept from his earlier readers. New characters will join the team already familiar to A. Livadny's fans, assisting them in their quest for survival until they discover the fatal truth:
Cyberspace feeds on human emotion
My Opinion: I really like the Phantom Server series. It’s a space scifi LitRPG that has great action scenes and tons of cool story twists. Rather than being a prequel, this seems like a fantasy themed LitRPG set in the same universe. Available for Pre-Order Now, but out March 10, 2017. If you can’t wait till March to read a sample, Magic Dome books has also put out on their site the first couple chapters of the book to tease you.
The Crystal Sphere http://amzn.to/2hvG1dC
Adventures on Terra breaks top 100 on Amazon
This past weekend Adventures on Terra, written by me, broke into the top 100 best selling books on all of Amazon. Other authors tell me that this is a really really big deal. So, I wanted to thank everyone that bought the book, is reading it on Kindle Unlimited, or was great enough to leave a review. Without you my story wouldn’t be able to reach as many people as it has. Thank You!
Oh, and the print edition of the book is out if that’s something you wanted.
*full disclosure: This book is written by the host of the LitRPG podcast.
Upcoming LitRPG: Just a quick heads up about me reading this list. I’m going to start reading only what appearing this month and next month. Anything that comes up for pre-order I’ll let you know about in the LitRPG news section. The other upcoming LitRPG will still be in the shownotes and on the recommendation list, I just won’t read it off on the podcast until they get closer.
Sucked into an RPG: a LitRPG Novel (Sucked into an RPG, Book 1) (Feb. 20, 2017)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
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New Releases and Reviews
The Gam3 Audiobook
The Earth is changing. The alien invasion brought social upheaval, advanced technology, and an armada of peacekeeping robots. But Alan, a college student pursuing a now-useless degree, cares little about all of this. He has only one thing on his mind: the Game.
A fully immersive virtual reality, the Game appears to be a major part of the invading civilization. Alan can't wait to play, recklessly diving into the digital universe. Soon though, Alan realizes the Game is anything but simple, and the stakes are higher than he ever imagined.
My Opinion: Nick Podehl (Narrator), Cosimo Yap (Author), Listening Length: 12 hours and 25 minutes
The Story: I’m a big fan of the Gam3. It’s one of my favorite Sci-Fi LitRPG of all time. Love the detailed skill trees with their seemingly endless possibilites. The story takes the main character, Alan, from earth to a test with his custom A.I. then to various alien planets where he battles robots, aliens, and gets caught up in some amazing adventures.
The Narration: Nick Podehl does a great job narrating. If anything, I love the audiobook version of the story more than the e-book version. I listened to this story 3-4 hours at a time and was sorry when it was over.
Opening Moves: The Gam3, Book 1 http://amzn.to/2gsf6uz
The Dive: Birth of a Hero
Conclusion to The Dive: Birth of a Wordsmith
Follow Jin as he continues his adventures through the new virtual reality game, The Dive. On a journey to discover his purpose in this strange world, he will fight against man and monster alike, teaming with the most unlikely of creatures. But, every action has its consequence, and not everyone takes kindly to his choices.
My Opinion: 554 pages, $3.99 also available on Kindle Unlimited.
If you liked, The Dive: Birth of a Wordsmith, then you’ll love The Dive: Birth of a Wordsmith, the conclusion to the series. At the end of the last story the entire party wiped and we were left on a cliff hanger. This story not only resolves that but creates some interesting character developments as Jin continues his adventures, becoming more over powered as the conflict between angels and demons intensifies.
The series ends well. There’s an epic battle with a satisfying conclusion. Yet, the author leaves plenty of room for another series set in the same world.
The Dive: Birth of a Hero http://amzn.to/2hfz93t
Rune Universe: A Virtual Reality novel (The RUNE LitRPG series Book 1)
Faceless Corporations. Neon lights that hide rampant crime underneath. The year is 2041.
Cole Dorsett is a Script Kiddie, a thief of information with a chip against the system.
Rune Universe is a game with a billion worlds. With great interstellar alliances, unending adventure, spaceships
that dance around black holes.
And it hides a secret the CIA would love to crack. A secret many are willing to kill for.
Inside Rune Universe, Cole will stumble upon real, mortal danger. To avenge a fallen friend, he must risk it all.
And make a decision that will change the face of the world... forever.
My Opinion: 502 pages, $2.99 and available on Kindle Unlimited.
The first 20% percent of the novel, takes place almost entirely in the ‘real world’. That time is spent setting up backstory for the main character and why he’s decided to enter this online VR game. He’s from a bad neighborhood, he’s had criminal dealings, he loves his mom and sister and will do anything to support them. Also, his friend is murdered and he’ll fulfill his last request, which is to find out why he was killed. Cole, the MC, has to log into this game Rune Universe to do so. It’s a well told and interesting backstory but be aware that’s how you’re spending the beginning of this novel.
I’m at 45% into the book and I’ve only seen the character gain three skills, hand to hand combat, shooting and piloting. About half way through, there’s a little bit of crafting, they collect parts then bam it’s a spaceship. The showing of game mechanics is pretty sparse.
Still, technically, this is LitRPG. It meets the two criteria I’ve talked about. Game world with obviously stated mechanics and character development with references to those mechanics. However, I ‘feel’ like LitRPG elements were inserted into a cyberpunk story. I have no idea if Hugo Huesca meant to do this. I know that some authors that are trying to write in the LitRPG genre for the first time lean towards minimizing talking about game mechanics because that’s what they’re used to. Things like levels, skill trees, detailed crafting, the finer points of magic systems, or things like that. I know personally, that’s the part of LitRPG that I love the most. Getting to understand the game mechanics of these worlds enough that I can reverse engineer the formulas the authors are using to calculate damage notifications if I want. Or planning my own fictional character in that world and imagining my own builds.
Now I want to be perfectly clear. The writing in this novel is good. Pacing, character development, the whole thing, is done well. It actually has one of the few ‘real world’ sections that I didn’t skip. It was interesting. As a cyberpunk novel, this is a good story. As a LitRPG novel, it left much to be desired.
Adventures of a Scribe
‘Edward Monteger has grown up in a family of scribes learning about the world around him through books in his family’s shop. Not wanting to be consigned to his fate scribbling away all day or managing a shop, he takes matters into his own hands. Striking forth into the wide world, he makes friends on his journey, and experiences the joy of victory to the agony of defeat.’
Set in a Fantasy LitRPG world there is balance of all aspects one might expect to find from crafting, mana, and fighting. Discovering the forces that control his world Edward is a scientist at heart without knowing the word or even the concept behind it. Struggling against monsters, humans, and the forces of necromancy, he overcomes hardship to grow as an individual and as an adventurer.
My Opinion: 226 pages, $5.99. Not on Kindle Unlimited.
This novel costs about double what I’d normally pay for the page count and it’s not on Kindle Unlimited. However, it still gets my wholehearted recommendation.
This novel had me hooked from page one. It mixes LitRPG with a more culturally accurate medieval society. I’d even go so far as describing it as a sort of historical fiction LitRPG. I loved it!
In a preface the author tells the reader that he intentionally included some more historically accurate aspects of medieval life, like that the age of adulthood would have been around 12 years old and that drinking alcohol was a matter of survival since people poured their sewage into their water sources. There are also very detailed social customs and taboos around hoarding knowledge that I found fascinating.
Of course there are plenty of game mechanics: levels, skills, magic, experience from killing monsters. However, it’s handled very as an aspect of the social culture.
If you want action, crafting, adventure, detailed magic systems, this novel has them all. Can’t recommend this one enough. I mean who knew being a scribe could be so cool?
That’s it for the podcast.
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Go read some LitRPG!
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Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License