- February 2nd 2012
- Royal paperback
- Author shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2010
- Author long-listed for the Authors’ Club First Novel Awards 2010
A fresh and inventive voice
— Iain Sinclair
The Game is Altered is beautifully written . . . extremely empathetic . . . and engaging
— SciFi Now
This is a smart, ultra-contemporary and ultimately deeply questioning novel-cum-thriller about where we are going with our identities, faced as we are with the diversions and unreality of the online world. The near future has never looked so vivid
Sometime in the near future, computer nerd Lionel lives alone with his sick cat, Buddha. His flat overlooks the high street, rundown except for the last hub of the community, his friend Mr Barber’s shop.
Lionel is mixed-race, adopted by a white family. But, apart from his gorgeous, abrasive sister Lilith – his best friend and harshest critic – his adoptive family has deserted him. Lionel plays games because he’s a coward who can’t handle human interaction, Lilith says, before one of her frequent disappearances.
But when Lionel puts his headset on and enters CoreQuest he is Ludi – a fighter, a womaniser. He’s free. Here he doesn’t need to face his childhood, bullied by his adoptive brothers, and the shocking event he can’t quite remember.
Still, the ‘real’ world won’t go away. Nor will Crystal, the haunted anime girl who needs to be saved from the ‘adult health centre’ opposite his flat. Soon nothing adds up. Why are people beginning to look at him nervously? Why do the outcasts at work suddenly want to be his friends? Has Lilith this time disappeared for good? Reality and the game begin to blur and Lionel and Ludi are assaulted on all sides. And as Lionel struggles to unravel what’s happening to him, Ludi tries to rescue the people he loves before the game is altered forever.
Praise for Mez Packer:
A highly original writer
Reminiscent of Martin Amis, but better plotted
— Independent on Sunday
A witty, fast-paced thriller . . . Packer has a gift for quirky conversational detail and social satire. A promising new novelist