Book Review: Danny Tobey’s ‘The God Game’

The God Game: A NovelWhat Ready Player One is to Gen Xers who came of age in the ’80s, The God Game wants to be to Gen Z in the Trump era.

The Resistance Vindicators are a diverse group of five Texas high-school outsiders in their senior year during the 2016 election. United by Tech Lab, they “hack for truth and justice” (in art imitating life) and maintain “a strict no-asshole policy.”

While contending with their own issues — internally, at home, on the playground at the portables — they accept an AI G.O.D.’s invitation to contend in a secretive, high-stakes virtual game with a rewards and penalty system of Goldz and Blaxx (“What racist bullshit is that?”). Win, they live; lose, they die.

Only, the gamespace and realspace merge.

This was something new. The real world and the augmented one fused.

Dark. Violent. Inescapable.

But not immersing to the reader.

Steeped in technology, mythology and religion, and peppered with strong language/visuals (on bullies: “fascist, cruel motherfuckers”; about a nice guy: So is mother theresa [sic] but I wouldn’t fuck her; swastikas bookending Heil, Hitler), this propagandist “thriller” might entertain Never Trumpers who don’t mind cardboard characters, a murky plot, and loopy ending.

Release date: January 7, 2020
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the giveaway.