The California Voodoo Game

Larry Niven, Steven Barnes
The California Voodoo Game Cover

The California Voodoo Game


Third book in a series (and for nearly 20 years, the last book of the series), this large cast story can be hard to follow and has more caricature than character. Technology was also starting to leave this description of a future world behind. That said, it brought the series to a nice conclusion.

In the world described, Dream Park has been a going venture for a number of years. This game represents a cast-only break from normal activities, and also five teams of five in competition. The plot describes both a mystery outside the game and a race within the game. When you add in the staff and major NPCs, the character total becomes quite unwieldy - though more than a few are killed off in the virtual world competition.

That's also part of the problem - the virtual world described in the first book (1981) consisted of holograms, props and makeup. This book (1992) adds visors - heads up displays with added character information and many of the injuries and death. VR headsets, already available at the time of writing, were not even considered. Another focus of this book is the media presentation of the game, with characters playing to the camera. How similar this would be to reality television...

It will be interesting to see how the 4th book (2011) connects our world with Dream Park. I plan to tackle it later this year, finishing off yet another series.