In the style of Michael Crichton at his absolute best, blending gripping science fiction with a harsh, believable reality; bestselling author Diane Duane brings the incredible Omnitopia Dawn to life, combining the world of a massive multiplayer online game like never seen before, with an the exciting world of corporate gaming and intrigue. If you’re any sort of tech geek, or just like playing video games, Omnitopia Dawn will suck you in and never let you go, making you forget worrying about that next level up.
There are two worlds here: the compelling fantasy world of the massive multiplayer online game (MMO) Omnitopia and the real world where video game companies fight to keep doing what they do best and keep the fans hooked, and make lots of money. It is the near future and when one sits down to play an MMO – like Lord of the Rings Online or World of Warcraft – they can use the familiar screen and keyboard set up, or there is the full immersion into the game, akin to virtual reality only better, where one experiences almost all senses of the game. It is an incredible complex world of fighting and raiding, of gaining levels and increasing your wealth, and even eating and drinking with friends, while discussing your next strategies. But Omnitopia is unique as every once in a while it selects one of its subscribers to create their own unique world of their own choosing and actually make money from it. So there is the world of Omnitopia, and then there are the thousands of other user-created worlds covering all of history and the imagination. The result is a game that one can quite literally be completely absorbed by, almost forgetting the real world.
Rik Maliani is an ordinary person with an ordinary job who’s been a fan and player of Omnitopia for years. Then he gets selected to create his own world; it’s a dream come true, especially with the possibility of making serious money, but the question is what type of world to make? What would make it truly unique and encourage people to come see and play? As Rik begins creating his world, he notices some unusual events happening in the world of Omnitopia that seem to affect the one he is creating, but at the same time to be affected by his world somehow.
Dev Logan is the CEO of Omnitopia and started the whole enterprise many years ago as a college student, and is now the eighth richest man in the world because of it. He has a crack team of computer whizzes and geniuses who spend their days monitoring Omnitopia, making sure it’s running as smoothly as possible, and preventing the constant attacks and hacks against the worldwide popular MMO. And now things are really heating up, as the new expansion is about to be released. Everyone is working pretty much nonstop and none more so than Dev, who forgets to even eat at times. Delia Harrington is doing a story on Omnitopia for Time Magazine about the company and the expansion. As Dev deals with the reporter – who seems to be snooping around a little more than she should be – he’s constantly being barraged by updates and news on what’s happening with Omnitopia. It seems there are an absurd number of attacks building against the MMO, more so than usual, even for an expansion, but then that’s all in a day’s work for the CEO of Omnitopia.
Finally, there is Phil Sorensen, who was a good friend of Dev’s in college – they were going to revolutionize the gaming world together, but then had a falling out – and is the CEO for Infinity Inc. with his own giant, money-making MMO. He would like nothing more than to see everything that is Omnitopia come crashing down, and have Dev come crying back to him. He’s going to stop at nothing to make this happen.
In Omnitopia Dawn, the first of a series, Diane Duane has created two complex worlds: that of the MMO game and that of the real world business, and yet she does a remarkable job of keeping things simple, explaining everything but somehow not overloading or boring the reader in any way. The result is an exciting, page-turning, addicting read that will have the reader wondering what’s going to happening next with who, and how it’s all going to end. Fortunately, readers won’t have to wait too long for the sequel, Omnitopia: East Wind, coming out August 2011.
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Originally written on January 27, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.