Edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Kerrie Hughes
DAW Books (309 pp, $7.99, July 2009)
Reviewed by Andrew Zimmerman Jones
Gamer Fantastic contains thirteen stories about games and gamers, taken in unusual fantasy and science fiction directions. Seven concern classic roleplaying games, while five are about computer gaming. (The other story, “Mightier Than the Sword” by Jim C. Hines, is harder to classify, more about authors and conventions than about gaming itself. Despite this, it was one of my favorites.)
A couple of the stories have no real “fantastic” elements at all. For example, in “Roles We Play” by Jody Lynn Nye, we are exposed to a historical narrative about how roleplaying games could have been used to develop an effective form of psychotherapy. Though aspects of the story are surreal, the “fantasy” is more psychological than literal, and the parallels between fantasy gaming elements and psychological elements are precisely what lend the story believability.