In Beta – Prescott Harvey

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So yeah, have you ever thought you were living in a simulation? Like the world isn’t real and is just some computer program and we’re all characters in it. I know I have. This one time I did some shrooms with my buddy Kyle. I punched a hole in the wall and saw the green scrolling code from the Matrix behind it. I punched more holes and there was more Matrix code. I was seriously freaking out but not as much as Kyle’s mom when she saw all the holes in her basement wall! I’m still not allowed to go back over to their house. Anyways, I don’t know if I experienced the real world or if I was just trippin’ balls, but that’s the premise of this book. The world is a simulation, there is no spoon, whoa!

Jay is this mega dweeb living in mid-90s small town Oregon. He’s got one friend named Colin and their lives revolve around playing video games. They eat junk food and pull all-nighters trying to beat the toughest bosses. His favourite game is Sim City and he loves building and running the town. As I was reading this, I was beginning to get worried that I was Jay, bro! We both eat cheeze puffs and play video games all-night, but our Sim City styles differed. I’d use the cheat code ‘FUND FUND FUND FUND FUND FUND’ to buy this rad city and then send in like eight Godzilla’s to destroy it. So, I guess I’m only partly like Jay, what would that make me? A dork? I dunno man, after reading this I’m definitely not as cool as I thought, but chicks dig me, so I got that going at least.

Anyways, on his birthday, Jay gets a floppy disk included with his video gaming magazine. It’s called ‘The Build’ and at first looks like a Sim City knockoff. Jay then discovers that this game actually controls the town. Changes made in the game take effect in his world, so Jay begins to play God and changes things to make his life better. He fills his bank account, cranks up his strength and intelligence, humiliates the jocks, sends a tornado after the bully who took his gal. Dude, that power would be insane! I’d probably pump up my muscles, load up the bank account, take a couple inches off *wink wink, nudge nudge*, fill my house with babes and beer. We’d party so hard dudes!

Jay’s having a blast until he pieces together that this world is a simulation and its creator, Hal, wants Jay to inflict pain on the jocks and be a real fucking douche. Jay faces a big-time dilemma. Does he live like a god or be good and get rid of this douche Hal but risk getting deleted? Duuuude, live like a god!! Go for it! Doooo it! But nah… Jay is a good dude even if he’s a spaz. So this epic battle sets up at Prom night between the creator and his creation. It’s like a battle between Neo vs Agent Smith in Sim City at prom!

We dip our toes into some pretty deep philosophical elements on sentience, simulation theory, and other big brainy areas. But really, it’s more of a fun romp through 90s geekdom. Bit of a big heads up though bros, this book is heavy on 90’s nostalgia. Like problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull type heavy. I think there was a quota of at least five 90s references on each page. As a bit of a 90s child it was amusing but a little overkill.

Anyways, that’s about all I got, adios amigos!


In Beta will be published on July 13, 2021 and you can pre-order a copy here. A huge high five to Inkshares and NetGalley for the ARC.

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