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Steppe (Trade Paperback)

****( ) (based on 3 ratings)

Our Price: $14.99

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by Piers Anthony, with an introduction by Chris Roberson

The Most Dangerous Game

From Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author of the Xanth series, comes an exotic tale of time travel and space adventure.

After facing a brutal death at the hands of enemy tribesmen upon the Eurasian steppe, the 9th-century warrior-chieftain Alp awakes in a world of “demons”—sinister businessmen who have brought him fifteen hundred years into the future to make him a soulless pawn in a ruthless game that spans the stars. Based on secret records of Earth’s past, the Game sets players in the roles of historical figures, pitting them against one another in a decadent and deadly fight for supremacy. For Alp, however, war is never a game. With his own execution imminent, Alp must adapt quickly to both his new century and the strange rules of the Game world, facing off in bloodthirsty battles against the most notorious figures in history. For if Alp doesn’t emerge victorious, he’ll never live to claim the woman he loves...

Introducer Chris Roberson (Paragaea: A Planetary Romance, Iron Jaw and Hummingbird) provides an introduction to the book and its formative effect on his own successful writing career.

First printing in 16 years!

128-page softcover trade paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-182-4

About the Author

A New York Times bestseller many times over, Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob (1934– ) is one of the most prominent and prolific science fiction and fantasy authors of all time. In addition to over a hundred unrelated novels, his wildly popular Xanth series is currently 34 books long and growing, its unique brand of lighthearted fantasy remaining a high-profile staple of the genre since its inception in 1977. As a result of his enormous body of work, Piers can claim to have published a book for every letter of the alphabet, from Anthonology to Zombie Lover. Many of his popular novel series have been optioned for film, and the Xanth series has spawned both computer and board games. 

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Product Reviews (3)

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 3 ratings)

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A Clever Concept

****( )

Steppe is a Piers Anthony science-fiction/fantasy novel from the mid-1970s that anticipates, in a surprisingly accurate way, some concepts that have become commonplace today. The story involves a 9th century Uigur warrior from the steppes of central Asia being abducted into the future in order to play a role in a vast game. The game, run by a powerful central computer, allows people to take on roles in a historical simulation and tracks their progress (and rewards) by how well they succeed. If a character "dies", the player exits the game but can pay to come back in with a role that could be better or worse depending on how well the player did with the previous role. In short, it's the idea of a massively-multiplayer online RPG about twenty years ahead of its time! Anthony's story has a clever way that the computer anthropomorphizes entires countries as individual people in order to teach players history before they enter the game. The story drags a little in the latter half and could have a more interesting conclusion, but the basic concept is really cool. A good add to the Planet Stories line.

****( )

An interesting story that is a precursor of work like Larry Niven's Dream Park, but on a bigger scale.

A very settled Galactic Society uses a live action roleplaying historical scenario as entertainment and an outlet for those that seek adventure. The game scale has compressed time to allow for different eras to be played out. Interestingly this Galactic society is displayed as largely post-literate, from a book from 1976.

A group of players decides to gain an advantage by time travel - but snatching a Uigur man just about to die from the 800s to use his knowledge to tactical advantage.

However, he is intelligent and cunning, and decides to use his knowledge for himself, getting into the game - as staying in Galactic society is better than being a dead Steppe dweller. So time for alliances, raids, etc.

The other nice twist is that the game substitutes spaceships and stunners for the historical weaponry, so the scale is interstellar, while still talking about 'bows' and 'horses', and this actually works.

And if you know a bit of your Asian nomad barbarian history, you might have some inkling of what is coming.

3.5 out of 5

I thundered across the Steppe

****( )

Admission: this was the first time I ever read a Piers Anthony novel. I was pleasantly surprised--to be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. It's based on ideas we've seen done many times since 1976, but done much better. It's divided into two parts that make it convenient for a two-sitting read. The action is exciting, the treatment of the concept not at all dated, and the story flies along, fast as a space-horse. There is also more character depth than is often present in such stories. The illustrator is also to be commended for the cover and interior--I was initially a little unhappy with the change of format in PS, but it lends itself very well to being illustrated. Gift Certificates
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