The thundering of the dice
My latest Astral Weeks column (all these posts begin with "My latest Astral Weeks column...") looks at Gamer Fantastic, an anthology of stories inspired by gaming, particularly RPGs.
If a rich, well-orchestrated RPG bears similarities to a work of fiction, what happens when a work of fiction is about an RPG? The answer, in the anthology "Gamer Fantastic" edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes (DAW: 310 pp., $7.99), is something akin to vertigo. Despite the goofy cover (a kid giddily wielding a Nintendo handset, planet exploding in the background), "Gamer Fantastic" is more about this blurring between RPGs and reality than remote-control video mayhem. The brisk opener, Chris Pierson's "Escapism," manages a clever twist on the character of the first-person-shooter-obsessed teen, but most of the other 12 stories here involve significantly lower technology. As with writing stories, the games in question are primarily built of words -- albeit with oddly shaped dice thundering in the background.I also give a nod to my current home page—James Maliszewski's Grognardia.