Synopses & Reviews
First contact isn't all fun and games. Ariel Blum is pushing thirty and doesn't have much to show for it. His computer programming skills are producing nothing but pony-themed video games for little girls. His love life is a slow-motion train wreck, and whenever he tries to make something of his life, he finds himself back on the couch, replaying the games of his youth. Then the aliens show up. Out of the sky comes the Constellation: a swarm of anarchist anthropologists, exploring our seas, cataloguing our plants, editing our wikis, and eating our Twinkies. No one knows how to respond--except for nerds like Ariel who've been reading, role-playing and wargaming first-contact scenarios their entire lives. Ariel sees the aliens' computers, and he knows that wherever there are computers, there are video games. Ariel just wants to start a business translating alien games so they can be played on human computers. But a simple cultural exchange turns up ancient secrets, government conspiracies, and unconventional anthropology techniques that threaten humanity as we know it. If Ariel wants his species to have a future, he's going to have to take the step that nothing on Earth could make him take. He'll have to grow up.
"The fate of the human race may rest in the unready hands of a down-on-his-luck computer game designer in Richardson's fun first novel (which originally ran as an online serial). Ariel Blum is sick of tweaking old versions of pony-themed games into new versions for the kids' market. When an alien ship called Constellation appears with representatives of different alien races on a contact mission, all Ariel notices is their computer screens. Why? Because where there are computers, there are games. A lifelong fan of space and the search for intelligent life, Ariel convinces the aliens to let him translate their computer games into new versions for humans. Before long, he's stressed out from trying to find the human entertainment factor in games built for alien minds, and being harassed by the suits at the U.S. State Department's cryptic 'Bureau of Extraterrestrial Affairs.' Then he learns the aliens' true mission: to study humanity before it destroys itself. Part 'first contact' story, part mystery, part diary-of-a-gaming-geek, Richardson's debut novel should appeal to gamers and fans of light-hearted space opera. (Apr. 17)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.