I read this book about 4-Sep-2004. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1981. This note was last modified Tuesday, 07-Sep-2004 22:07:30 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
By Larry Niven and Steven Barnes, in fact. No Pournelle anywhere in sight. Possibly the last interesting thing Niven wrote. I read an old SFBC edition that actually belongs to Pamela; I don't seem to have bought a copy.
It's a gaming novel. A gaming novel wrapped with a murder mystery. Set in a super high-tech gaming park that uses holograms, computers, forced perspective, and a large props department to try to make role-playing as real as possible.
I rather like the descriptions of how they make it work -- not all super-high-tech, they use more conventional techniques whenever possible. And the descriptions aren't always explicit -- for example they explain how they simulate climbing a high mountain by having a character notice that he periodically loses sight of the forest below, and when it comes back into sight it's always further away.
Like most authors, it kinda misses cell phones; which are one of the really big changes in society. It reads funny to have them not there -- though not as bad as in mysteries, where they spend half their time finding a pay phone and the other half not knowing what's going on. (In a historical setting that's fine, but it really grates in SF set in the future.)