AFK (2007) by Huckleberry Hax

cover-2016-medium“I defy anyone who loves SL not to enjoy this novel.” (Zoe Parness)

I look back and wonder when it all went wrong. I wonder when magical turned into mundane, when novelty turned into necessity. I wonder when it was that SL stopped being something I chose to do and became something I needed.

“Crisply written and immediately engaging.”
(Wagner James Au)

A Second Life® detective reflects on cases and confessions, on love, on anger, on understanding Second Life as perhaps the greatest liberator there has ever been, and on falling for the oldest trick in the book, just the same…

“Engaged and enthralled me from the first page.”
(Carrie Lexington)

“Impressively insightful musings about virtual worlds.”
(Dale Innis)

And now also read the sequels: AFK, Again, AFK, Indefinitely and AFK, in Pursuit of Avengement.
This book is free in all electronic formats.

Print: Paperback Hard cover
Online: Issuu
ePub: Smashwords Barnes & Noble Kobo
Amazon Kindle:  Due to the way that Amazon operates in different countries, it’s best if you obtain your copy of AFK from your ‘local’ Amazon website.  Also, please note that the Kindle version of AFK displays as having a cost (it’s not possible to list as free permanently at Amazon); due to Amazon’s price matching policy, however, the presence of AFK as a free download on other sites should mean you will not be charged. If in doubt, download the Kindle version from Smashwords.
UK: USA: France: Spain:
Canada: Germany: Italy: Japan:

Online reviews:

Zoe Parness – Virtual Writers’ World
Carrie Lexington – SLifeFantastic
Dale Innis – Dale Innis’s Weblog
Waagner James Au – New World Notes
For Lack of Paper

Smashwords reviews
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26 thoughts on “AFK (2007) by Huckleberry Hax

  1. Nice job Mr Hax. I thoroughly enjoyed AFK … it certainly resonates with this SL addict. However, my paranoia has increased significantly since finishing your novel … lol. Sorry, that is not allowed, is it?


  2. WONDERFUL! That was an incredible story! I agree a bit with the feeling of paranoia, but at the same time I have gained a level of caution and respect of/for other people in SL. I pass the link to the PDF to everybody I know that plays… lives a SL. Great job!J. Novi


  3. Thanks so much for this feedback. I’m so pleased that people are recommending AFK :) Would it be ok to pass on the link to this web page rather than too the PDF? That way people get to see the page, where they can leave comments if they want to.Huck.


  4. You’re brilliant. Please consider pulling this off of free download and finding an agent. Although your novel resonates particularly with Secondlife players, I think you’ll find that your story -and god what a story it is- stands firm on its own as a surrealistic tale that translates into futuristic for non-players. This is fully as good – and certainly more lively and engaging – than the last Willian Gibson novel I read. Congratulations.


  5. Mr. Hax you weaved an incredible tale. However, I did not care much for the ending. I am not in the least naive about the fact you do not truly know to whom you are talking, but I do believe the majority come as I do, to find pleasant company to fill their lonely hours. Thanks for the intriguing story.T. Felisimo


  6. I’m sure that you haven’t been following me around, but so many of the conversations that play out in your novel are eerily similar to conversations I’ve had in SL…I laughed through most of the book. I’m handing out the blog link to everyone I know. Great job!


  7. I tp’d onto your head in Caledon and so of course I just <>had<> to check out your profile. I’m glad I did – this was a fantastic read. I even delayed logging into SL to finish it. Brilliantly observed, and I really didn’t see the end coming!Of course as a dismal NaNoWriMo failure I am hugely jealous, LOL (sorry, Inch, but I DO laugh out loud). I’m giving the URL to everyone I know, but I echo a previous poster – take this off free download. By all means let people download it, but charge them <>something<>.Francesca Alva


  8. Regarding removing the free PDF, I’m not going to do that, at least for a while… If I did, AFK simply wouldn’t get read and I wouldn’t be having all of this lovely feedback. It’s important for me for my writing to be out there, ‘living’. It’s a principle I rather doubt I’ll stick to if a large, multi-national publishing company comes along and offers me a large sum of money for the publishing rights (there you go – you have been warned), but, for the moment, it will stand :)


  9. Hey, I wrote a SL novel during NaNoWrimo too, kind of. Yours was terrific, really captures what interactions are like.(Can I really make one of those watches?!?)I put a link to your book from my profile, hope that’s okay!


  10. Had your url passed to me from an SL friend…and I have to say that AFK is a smooth and enjoyable read that kept me interested to the end… which I had to read twice! Great job!


  11. What a treat! I teach 7th grade reading and my poor students are always hearing about my game and all the wonderful things you can learn and do in it. (teen version for them of course) I just added write a book! LOL They were not expecting that one and a fun book to read no less. They don’t get to read it but I told them they had to take my word on it. Well done and please, please write more!Echo Kinsella ( who was a detective in game for a short while lol)


  12. What a rush, what an exceptional novel! I couldn’t put it down (figuratively speaking, because I have the e-version) and had to smuggle it to the office.Afterwards the story won’t leave my head and my mind grows tentacles that reach in all sorts of direction, speculating about What-ifs and testing my own assumptions.I was initially sceptical because I’ve given up SL text a while ago for the less time-consuming visuals, even though I love words. Fashion tips are fine, and, erm, perusing the AvaStar doesn’t count as reading. Blogs with their usual cycle of vitriol, mush, and weepy soul-stripping are rarely worth the electrons they’re written with (btw, cycle age ≈ 1 month). But AFK has all the components of a well written novel: plot striptease, twist, small details that prove to be significant later. And fleshed-out, unforgettable characters.I want a sequel but I am strangely happy that it’s unlikely to come :) And that must be a goddamned good story.Solange KorobasePS: a couple of times I come across the word loose when I think you mean lose, once as “loosing”, too I think ;)


  13. Wow, you certainly made fast work of that Solange. Thanks for the nice words and, erm, spelling feedback :)You’re quite right that a sequel is very unlikely. But stay tuned for something else coming soon…


  14. Wow! (I say, years later.) That is a wonderful read; I devoured it in a couple of hours today. :) I've also plugged it in my weblog, fwiw:

    AFK: the novel

    Now I'm torn between going inworld like I usually do around now, or starting in to read more of your stuff. :)


  15. Just brilliant. I really didn't expect much from an online novel about SL…maybe some fun observations. But this is a damned good novel, on any terms. And for an SL addict, just like your absolutely favorite candy: impossible to resist or put down. I downloaded it and couldn't do anything but read it until I finished (OK, I did manage to get more coffee.)
    Octavia Tiratzo


  16. We met once, in a SL Star Trek sim. You made an impression on me, although it took some time for me to realize that.

    Fantastic work. You encapsulated much of of SL's “oddity” in this piece; the strange, almost other-worldly sense of empowerment, paranoia and godlike enrichment. That Gibson-esque mix of fear and power, knowing that that you are aways dealing with real people, yet can only see a tiny part of their true nature. And them of yours.

    Please write more. You are helping to define the infant metasphere for those who will follow us :)
    They will know better whom they are, by works such as yours, that tell where we have already been.

    Too many times while reading “AFK” I looked over my shoulder, wondering if you had been somehow watching me the past few years. Please, let your muse free and give us more.


  17. I'm so thrilled people are continuing to read, enjoy and give such wonderful feedback on AFK. Keep your comments coming!

    And stay tuned to the blog for news about my next novel, which will return to the AFK style…


  18. I thought AFK was a fantastic novel – I couldn't “put it down” lol. So many things resonated with me, and it was great to read debates on issues I had discussed with friends inworld and find many of the same thoughts and ideas coming up in the novel.

    My only “constructive criticism” is that although I thought the twist at the end was great, and didn't see it coming, I felt that the actions of the protagonist right at the end of the novel were out of character with the rest of the novel. Up to that point, I identified with him completely. Otherwise an amazing read, and still relevant to SL today, several years on.

    Btw, I've put the link to the download page on my SL Profile Picks to recommend to others, together with my favourite quote about sitting sobbing on the side of the bed. Oh how I identify with that …

    Thanks and I look forward to reading more of your work! :)


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