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VIRTUAL WAR by Gloria Skurzynski

VIRTUAL WAR

By Gloria Skurzynski

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-689-81374-0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

 Members of the Nintendo generation gain a new perspective on electronic aggression in this taut, chilling, and finely crafted novel from Skurzynski (Cyberstorm, 1995, etc.). By the year 2080, plague and nuclear war have driven the two million surviving members of the human race into a handful of domed cities, where they eat synthetic food, sleep in cramped dormitories, and wait for the world to become livable again. A few, like Corgan and Sharla, however, are pampered. Both 14, they have been genetically bred to fight in a virtual war waged among the world's superpowers: The winner will take possession of the Hiva Islands, which have become fit for human habitation. In her depiction of a society that prefers virtual reality to the real thing, Skurzynski plays a nice riff on appearance and reality: Although Corgan's team members appear fit and healthy in the virtual realm, he secretly meets them in person and discovers that the third member, Brig, is actually a crippled mutant. This discovery prompts the three of them to explore the city and discover how its genetic mutants are treated. While Corgan's team eventually wins the war, only Corgan opts to live and work on the Hiva Islands; Sharla and Brig decide to remain behind and help those less fortunate than themselves. It's an engaging, frightening realm that readers won't soon forget. (Fiction. 10-14)