“What if you could live forever, in a digital universe? What if digital immortality was available for all – including a ruthless terrorist who has you in his sights? What if the two of you played a deadlier game in this digital realm than any virtual reality adventure could offer?
All this and more make the thriller Not So Dead exceptional. While some sci-fi in the realm of LitRPG gaming novels already have stories based on digital living, what makes Not So Dead something different is the fact that it embeds a firm thriller element throughout, reaching beyond a relatively obscure genre fan set to tweak the hearts and minds of the general-interest sci-fi or thriller reader looking for something different.
Its plot and premise may lie in a digital universe, but the mechanics and story of Not So Dead have their roots in something far greater than formula writing. Just look at the chapter titles, for one clue of this difference – “Spy Vs. Spy,” “Rook to Queen Eight,” “Quantum State,” and “The Rumble Down Under,” to name just a few of the many intriguing chapters and twists this story takes.
There are obstacles to this winding investigation in both digital and non-digital worlds (“…based on your login, we know who you are and have programmed in a block against speaking with your digital self. We have done the same for each of us. It’s just too dangerous.”), there are progressions forward and backward in the investigation (“I felt like we were living in that old Mad magazine cartoon, Spy vs. Spy. Don’t know why that came to mind. The war on terror has really been more like an endless game of Whack-A-Mole. Sometimes you’re ahead and sometimes you’re behind. Despite what Frank said, I had the uneasy feeling that, at the moment, we were behind.”), and the fact that the characters have a vivid immediate feel to them in both arenas adds tension and realistic involvement to the plot: “I felt like a little kid being left behind and left out. But on second thought I was happy not being involved in another confrontation. My nerves were frayed like ropes about to snap.”
The result is a powerfully-wrought tale of intrigue, terrorism, and threats to immortality that use powerful psychological involvement to keep readers exquisitely on edge until the final surprise. It’s a story designed to reach far from the LitRPG/gamer sci-fi audience and into the hearts and minds of the sci-fi reader who enjoys investigative drama and thriller elements to spice a complex read.”