Book about being stuck in VR fantasy game
January 7, 2009 9:45 PM   Subscribe

help me find this SciFiBookFilter- VR fantasy game

There was like an experimental VR fantasy game and these people, I think tourney-level roleplayers or something to the effect, got invited to try it. Then there was some sort of disaster, of course, and they got stuck, and the power was on limited-duration backup, yadda. Then eventually they make it out in the nick of time, but in the epilogue they find they've retained their characters' abilities in the real world, and they aren't sure if they actually are in the real world on account of that, and it just begged a sequel.

That's about it. Except that I think the designer of the game was playing too, and got killed, and... hm. At the end, the guy with healing powers was in either a hospital or asylum, recovering from the mental beating he took in-game, and quietly healing people's problems. The healing was neat, too, I think. I could be misremembering, but it seems like the healer would take part of someone's injury into himself, and that's how he healed them.
posted by The otter lady to Writing & Language (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I've never seen it, but isn't that very close to the premise of eXistenZ? There was a novelization of the book.
posted by niles at 10:39 PM on January 7, 2009

Some of the details don't quite match up, but could it be Tad Williams' Otherlands series?
posted by overglow at 10:47 PM on January 7, 2009

Sort of sounds a bit like the Japanese/Polish movie Avalon.
posted by Pinback at 11:47 PM on January 7, 2009

Maybe Larry Niven's Dream Park? The players definitely get stuck in the game, and I'm pretty sure there is a death. The epilogue you describe doesn't ring a bell, and I don't remember any healing powers either, but it's been a long long time, so maybe I've just forgotten.
posted by equalpants at 12:37 AM on January 8, 2009

Not Dream Park. Dream park is more of a detective novel where, well, imagine Disney world where players pay through the nose to play through an amazing adventure (for a day or three anyway) under the big dome. Everything is done with holograph projectors, robotics, makeup and actors. Only, someone slipped away from the party in the night to steal some company secrets from the R&D offices in the basement. And one of their researchers ended up dead. The guy running the game is then asked to change some things real quick so the powers that be can insert a detective type to figure out what the hell is going on.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:57 AM on January 8, 2009

Your description reminds me of Wyrm. It's been about five years since I read it, so I'm fuzzy on many of the plot details.
posted by Orrorin at 2:47 AM on January 8, 2009

Sounds like one of Tom Clancy's Net Force Explorers. Couldn't tell you which one but I've most of them and that sounds very familiar.
posted by DJWeezy at 6:45 AM on January 8, 2009

Best answer: Caverns of Socrates, Dennis McKiernan. It's cheesy as hell but I was damned fond of it anyway - pure geek escapist fantasy :)
posted by restless_nomad at 7:43 AM on January 8, 2009

It's definitely not Wyrm. Other than the VR thing, there aren't any more plot similarities. Hell of fun book, though.
posted by EarBucket at 8:03 AM on January 8, 2009

Best answer: Caverns of Socrates, maybe. Never read it, but it sounds similar to the description in Amazon
posted by revan at 8:44 AM on January 8, 2009

I haven't read it, but it sounds like descriptions of Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:46 AM on January 8, 2009

(Or, possibly, User Unfriendly, by the same author).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:48 AM on January 8, 2009

Best answer: it's definitely Caverns of Socrates by Dennis McKiernan (as restless_nomad et. al. pointed out.)
Especially if your "some sort of disaster" was a gigantic lightning bolt ( I recall some description of a "superbolt" or some such) hitting the building/computer that was running the VR scenario.
posted by namewithoutwords at 9:19 AM on January 8, 2009

Another book on these themes is The Cybernetic Walrus.
posted by jepler at 9:40 AM on January 8, 2009

Best answer: Nthing Caverns of Socrates. As restless_nomad said, it's wish fulfillment to an incredible degree, but fun for fantasy.
posted by Phineas Rhyne at 10:20 AM on January 8, 2009

For an added bonus, the healing powers mentioned in the book mirror quite well the "Healer" class from Rolemaster, which I've not seen in any other RPG.

Not that I'm an RP geek or anything.
posted by Phineas Rhyne at 10:21 AM on January 8, 2009

Thanks for the reminder about Dream Park - I read it and its sequel (and prequel?) back in college and need to pick them up again.
posted by mrbill at 10:58 AM on January 8, 2009

Response by poster: That's it! Caverns of Socrates! Thank you all so much!!
posted by The otter lady at 8:05 PM on January 8, 2009

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