Review: The God Game by Danny Tobey

Review by Gina K

Book available January 7, 2020

Overall 9/10

Summary: When Peter invites Charlie to join a multi-player virtual reality game that the Dark Web has been buzzing about, Charlie is skeptical. Still mourning the loss of his mother, and reeling from the impact on his final high school years, Charlie wants input from his small group of friends, all computer geniuses, before he agrees to the game. Pushed into playing by Peter, the group quickly discovers that this virtual reality is controlled by an AI that learns as they play, and that uses every bit of their surroundings to gather information, whether they want it to or not. The game starts out harmless enough, but soon has real world consequences they could not foresee. And as it goes on, it raises questions of morality and free will that go beyond any virtual reality, leading Charlie and his friends to a final reckoning that will impact all of their lives.

Review: What is reality, and who controls it? Does free will really exist, or are our actions already known and expected? Those questions are at the heart of this book and set up a tense narrative that takes the reader on a deep dive into the ways our internet-connected world has a real impact on our lived lives. “The God Game” follows a group of high-school seniors who don’t quite fit in, but whose brilliance is both their blessing and their curse. When they begin to play an exciting new game, they quickly learn the limits of what they can control and the impact that actions can have beyond what is immediately seen. Fast-paced and well written, the book blends questions of philosophy, morality, and theology into a gripping look at the intersection of reality, artificial intelligence and virtual worlds that all ages will enjoy. If you ever wondered what dreams cost, and what to do when your dream turns into a nightmare, you’ll enjoy this book.

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