Saturday, November 28, 2015


By Ernest Cline

Zack Lightman is just your typical high schooler. He lives with his mom who works as a nurse. His dad died in an industrial accident when Zack was just a baby.
Zack has an after-school job at a video game arcade. It is not a demanding job and his boss is really laid back. They both love video and computer games and Zack is one of the highest scoring players of the video game, Armada, ranking at about sixth place in the world.
One strange day, Zack is staring out the window in class when he sees an flying vehicle in the sky that looks exactly like one from the video game Armada. He is quite startled by the sight and it makes him doubt his own eyes. But soon after he sees the craft he is taken away by a mysterious group and told the truth about Armada.
It turns out that Armada and other games like it have been designed by the government and the military to train and prepare people for an upcoming battle with an implacable alien foe who is based on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. This foe has declared its intention to destroy humanity.
But as Zack faces the aliens in battle, it all seems like just another video game. He begins to doubt everything he has been told and, with the help of family and friends, he discovers what is really going on.

This was an okay story. I have to admit I just skimmed a lot of it because battle sequences just don't interest me. I also found the premise lacking, the idea of video games and movies being used to prepare people to fight a war. Seems like a silly idea. There is more to being a soldier than manipulating a controller and pushing a few buttons. It requires more training and discipline than can be learned from a game.
Zack doesn't get close to the truth until nearly the end of the story, Until then, the story never really engaged me.
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