Death isn’t a big deal in the virtual world of online gaming, but after poking her nose where it doesn’t belong, Dakota Marx finds herself running for her life―and reality doesn’t come with a respawn.
At twenty-two, she’s still slinging coffee at an Amazon Cafe despite having a degree in programming. It’s not because she’s unlucky, unmotivated, or even that she fancies herself an underground activist crusading against evil corporations… hunting for a ‘real’ job would take time away from her game.
Axillon99 is the world’s most popular multiplayer online experience, with a universe containing billions of planets to explore. Ever since video games broke the screen barrier, plunging players fully into their characters, reality just can’t compete.
Cognition Systems International announces a ten million dollar prize to celebrate the release of the next generation Neurona 4 interface helmet. After her crew decides to try chasing the money, Dakota discovers a sinister intent behind the new technology. Going public threatens the lives of her friends, but keeping CSI’s secret could destroy the very fabric of society.
Publisher: Division Zero Press
Tropes: Interstellar Travel, Space Battles, Space Pilot
Word Count: 128000
Setting: Near future earth
Languages Available: English
In Axillon99 (A LitRPG novel), Matthew S. Cox wasted no time putting readers right into the action where we follow Fawkes, Dakota Marx’s alter ego in the popular multiplayer online game Axillon99, doing her solo mission in the opening chapter. With clear-cut prose and plenty of description, Cox paints a lucid picture of the protagonist; a pink haired, intrepid interplanetary infiltrator and thief in the virtual reality world, and a bored, nonconformist 22-year-old who works at Amazon Cafe in the real world. When Cognition Systems International (CSI) announces a 10-million-dollar prize to celebrate the release of the next generation Neurona 4 interface helmet, Dakota and her crew decide to try to win the prize, not realizing the danger that they’re about to discover.
The story concept reminds me of Sword Art Online anime. The futuristic world-building is not hard to imagine. With all the tech that we have today, I’m sure most of it will end up the way Cox described it, and the youth anti-corporation mindset in the story is nothing new. Most of the issues are depicted honestly and are very true to life. The interior art is eye-catching and complements the story well. The plot has enough high stakes and quick-paced action, which are well described. I’m not an avid gamer, but the story is engaging and entertaining to the very end. Perhaps the fact that it proudly wears its heart on its sleeve, a story written by an avid gamer for his fellow avid gamers out there－without alienating other readers who are not in that demographic－appeals to me. All in all, Cox’s Axillon99 is a solid read and leaves readers with a lot of interesting ideas on how advanced RPG games can be in the future.