Subject: Kaitlyn got me a short story book for Christmas.
Posted on: 2020-02-02 18:08:43 UTC

It's called 'Press Start to Play', and it has a foreword by Earnest Kline ('Ready Player One'), so you know right away what sort of style you're getting in for.

The book is themed around video games, and specifically about blurring the lines between video games and what we laughingly call reality. There's one story centred on a game character looking out at her player; another protagonist unexpectedly respawns when he dies; another plays a famously unwinnable video game and finds some unexpected things.

It's a bit tricky to say how it does with author representation: a few of the writers have gender-neutral names or just initials, but I'd say it's over one-third women writers, possibly close to half (though not, I think, reaching it). A fair number of the contributors have non-Anglo-Saxon names (mostly Japanese, for obvious reasons), so I think there's a decent non-White contingent. As for queerness, I can't say for sure, but I do know that several of the stories by women jumped out as having lesbian protagonists, so the characters at least have representation. None of it comes close to overturning the cichetwhitemale majority in the book, but it's more than you'd have got a decade or so back.

Would I recommend the book? I'd say yes. Some of the stories aren't easy reading - sometimes because of their subject matter (one is themed around Oregon Trail, which... yeah), sometimes because it's waaaaay outside my genre, but I don't remember any of them being bad. Also, one of them is by Rhianna Pratchett ('Tomb Raider', plus her dad wrote some fantasy or something), so that's always a win!


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