Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,
Rowyn
rowyn

Non-Player Character, by Victoria Corva

Non-Player Character* is a charming, low-stakes, gamelit portal fantasy.

Back when V ran the Kickstarter for this book, I read the first three sample chapters and instantly wanted to read the rest.

It's rare for me to be hooked on a book from the start anymore, but Non-Player Character resonated with me. The main character and narrator, Tar, is autistic with an anxiety disorder, non-binary, fat, asexual, self-deprecating, snarky, and 100% delightful. They are drained by their day job, hide in their room playing video games, and are exhausted by social events. SO RELATABLE.

While Tar does resort to self-deprecation, it's humorous and gentle, rather than harsh or cruel. Tar is often frustrated by their difficulties in interacting with the world, but for the most part this is presented as "ugh SO DIFFICULT" rather than "this is why I suck and/or the world sucks." It's not about judging things as Right or Wrong, it's about coping. 

Tar's friends likewise represent a mix of identies and intersectionality: nonbinary, trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, aromantic, autistic, ADHD, disabled, Black, White, probably more that I'm forgetting. And it all flows naturally: of course these queer, neurodiverse people will be drawn to and befriend other queer, neurodiverse people. They're all gamer nerds, too, even the one who feigns disdain for gamer nerds. 

There are a lot of fun little touches. One of the characters, Pauline, has chronic pain and uses a motorized wheelchair on Earth. Pauline's wheelchair doesn't come with them to the fantasy world, so she searches for a new mobility aid. She ends up with a hexclimber, a six-legged one-person vehicle that can negotiate every kind of terrain. It's pretty great. 

And I enjoyed that the narrative centered on coping mechanisms and accommodation, rather than cures. (This is not to say that there's something wrong with stories about people seeking and receiving cures; they're just a lot more common.)

The first several chapters of Non-Player Character take place on Earth, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this part of the novel. The scene of Tar doing their day job as a guide at a tiny museum was especially funny. But the entire book is great: lots of heart and humor, full of wonder and magic. Highly recommended!

  • Also available at other stores, see Corva's page for the list.


This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/2021/10/08/nonplayercharacter.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: book review, review
Subscribe

  • October 2021 in Review

    Health/Fitness Managed exercise 20 times this month, mostly the bare minimum. But I haven’t quit! \o/ Writing As of October month-end, A…

  • September 2021 in Review

    Health/Fitness I scraped my way to my "exercise 20 times" goal in September, putting in my 20th session on the last day of the month. \o/ Records…

  • August 2021 in Review

    Health/Fitness I took another trip in August, this time to visit my sister and attend my nephew’s wedding. It was pretty great. I ate too much…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 0 comments