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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Game of the Worlds

César Aira

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To purchase Game of the Worlds

Title: Game of the Worlds
Author: César Aira
Genre: Novel
Written: 1998 (Eng. 2024)
Length: 75 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: in: Festival & Game of the Worlds - US
El juego de los mundos - US (Spanish)
in: Festival & Game of the Worlds - UK
in: Festival & Game of the Worlds - Canada
El juego de los mundos - España
from: Bookshop.org (US)
  • A Science Fiction Book
  • Spanish title: El juego de los mundos
  • Translated by Katherine Silver

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Our Assessment:

B : neat/disturbing idea(s), solidly spun out

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       The narrator of Game of the Worlds -- which is set in a "far distant future" -- at one point recalls an old legend:

There happened to be an old wives' tale that claimed that in the beginning, at some point, the Earth was inhabited by a race called Science Fiction Writers. These people, the ancestors of current humans, left behind a language record of the entire future of civilization. and of all possible civilizations, including every possible future event and the dreams that would accompany them.
       In the future world here, under the operational 'Intelligent Systems', such human creativity is no longer needed -- with a 'Discourse Corrector (DC)', a sort of super-ChatGPT, in common use in discussion (and the narrator's kids much more adept at using it than he is).
       In the narrator's time and world a popular entertainment among the kids -- including his -- is playing 'Game of the Worlds':
     The game in question, played on a TR (Total Reality) system, involved traveling to a world populated by an intelligent species, declaring war, and winning. The objective was to annihilate the species that enjoyed dominance over the planet. This was always achieved because of the ultra-adaptable methods of warfare developed and perfected by the game's developers.
       The basically can't-lose aspect of the game doesn't deter players; the narrator describes his own kids as obsessed with it, wiping out worlds and civilizations daily. Disturbingly, however, these are essentially real worlds and populations that are being exterminated. (The whole sense of 'reality' of this artificial intelligence-dominated future no longer seems quite like our own.)
       The narrator isn't one to make waves -- "I've always yielded and adapted" -- and he goes along with the flow, even when it can seem overwhelming (the compelexity of the artificial intelligence in use around him) or horrific (the perverse game so many enjoy). But as the story progresses, it dawns on him that there is a possibility that the game: "is ideal for preparing a little corner of their minds to accommodate" a very dangerous and long-obsolete concept -- a shocking realization.
       Aira's little thought-experiment is amusingly and neatly played out -- though of course he also warned that those 'Science Fiction Writers' of yore: "had always been wrong" with their forecasts of the future .....

- M.A.Orthofer, 10 June 2024

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Game of the Worlds: Reviews: César Aira: Other books by César Aira under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Argentinian author César Aira was born in 1949.

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© 2024 the complete review

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