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In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

Review copy provided by First Second.

This story will be familiar to Doctorow’s short story fans as “Anda’s Game.” It’s adapted to the graphic novel format, but if you read primarily for story and have already read “Anda’s Game,” this will not present you with new story.

For those not familiar, “Anda’s Game” is the story of a girl who gets involved with an online gaming guild and its anti-gold-farming exploits, only to find that the situation of gold farmers in China and other countries is a great deal more complicated than she previously knew.

The comics adaptation does interesting visual things with contrasting Anda’s choices “in real life” with her choices in the game world, only to bring them close together as Anda realizes that the game world is part of her real life, part of everyone’s real life, and that the distinctions between them are pretty arbitrary. I didn’t find the illustrations gorgeous, but they served their purpose and fit with the style of other graphic novels I’ve read that are pitched to that demographic. While this is no longer ground-breaking, I expect that it has a fairly large audience that it should find easily.

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