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D.B. Weiss' first and only book (so far). Follows the life of Adam Pennyman, a character whose description bears a striking resemblance to the bearded writer on the back of the book. Weiss is able to effortlessly weave in and out of pop culture and Asian culture. He borders between obsessive video gamer and Zen Buddist but in an easy-to-swallow way.

The story begins with Pennyman getting a job that takes him to Turkey where his American accent and the dorkiness of his peers makes him more desirable to women. While in Turkey, he discovers game emulators and falls in love with the classic video games in enjoyed as a kid all over again. He is so enthuesed about it that he begins to write a book entitled The Catalogue of Obsolete Entertainments. He also lands himself an exotic girlfriend who follows him back to America (after being fired) where his friend gets him a job at a web movie company.

His book hits a snag when he remembers Lucky Wander Boy, a surreal game from his childhood. He can't find it anywhere on the emulators he uses and can't seem to find any existing LWB machines. He becomes consumed with the game, seeking out the creator herself, a renegade Nintendo employee who lives in Japan.

The borders between the game and Pennyman's life begin to blur.

The book has the usual manifesto-esque preachiness of many first novels but delivers with a profound uniqueness and poignant plot. The way Weiss references Leng Tch'e and Capital with Frogger and Donkey Kong is absurd but engrossing. I recommend this to anyone who likes those old video games and also enjoys a good story.

I suggest that if we, through force of imagination, were to dilate time to experience it as the Pac-Man does, and increase the resoulution to allow us to read as much into each pixel as the Pac-Man must, we would not see the identical dots as identical at all. When the microscopic differences in each pixel are made large, each dot will possess a snowflake's uniqueness, and the acquisition of each-no, the experience of each-will bring the Pac-Man a very sepceific and distinct joy or sorrow. The dots all rack up points equally, of course; in retrospect, however, some are revealed as wrong choices, links in a chain of wrong choices that trace out a wrong path leading to a withering demise beneath the adorable and utterly unforgiving eyes of Blinky, Inky, Pinky or Clyde.

Lucky Wander Boy D. B. Weiss Plume 2003

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