Warning: self-congratulatory post ahead (with yet more stuff about posting reviews).
I’m currently putting together an all-in-one compilation of the five AFK novels. Although this will be available in Kindle format, I’m creating this one with print in mind for anyone who has read and enjoyed the series and would like a print copy, but who doesn’t have the space/cash to buy each one individually. In doing so, I’ve run up against a limit I’ve never had to deal with before: the printing company I use – lulu.com – imposes a 740 page limit on paperbacks; squeezing nearly 300,000 words into this space has proven to be quite a challenge.
In the end, I managed to get all five novels to fit with five pages to spare. What to do with these extra pages? I’ve noticed that novels recently often come with a couple of pages of review quotes at the front, so I decided to use up two of my five in this way. Cue a very pleasant hour of browsing through the many reviews left over the years for my novel, at Amazon, Smashwords, on various blogs and right here on What the Huck.
I know I go on about reviews a lot, but I don’t think it’s possible to overstate just how important these are to me. Knowing that my work is being read and enjoyed means everything. I don’t think I would have written much more under the name of Huck had it not been for the overwhelming response the first AFK novel got.
So, if you’ve ever read any of my novels and enjoyed them, but never found the time to leave a note about it, it would pleasure me immensely to read your words. Reviews at Amazon and Smashwords are great, but I love blog reviews and comments left on my own website too. You’ll see below that the selection I chose takes quotes from all of these sources.
Now. What to do with those last three pages?
Praise for the AFK series
“I found this series entirely by accident, I can’t even recall how, but I fell right into it. The story, the writing, the.. I don’t know words, they’re all fantastic. I almost wish they were a little worse so that I could put the books down now and then, make it last longer rather than shooting right through it. But it’s been such a ride. Recommended to anyone who loves virtual worlds, murder, mystery, romance, suspense, crime…” (Amazon review).
“It’s crisply written and immediately engaging, with enough SL-specific details that fellow Residents will immediately relate to.” (Wagner James Au, author of ‘The Making of Second Life’).
“This had everything I could ask for in a story; great plot with surprising twists; good setting; good characters. It is compelling and you will not want to put it down. A must for anyone in SL or other metaverses as it pulls all of these items into a metaverse setting.” (Smashwords review).
“You’re brilliant. 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.” (Blog post comment).
“AFK, a novel by Huckleberry Hax, is a wonderful combination of noir PI novel, spot-on picture of at least some aspects of Second Life, and impressively insightful musings about virtual worlds and what we do in them and why.” (Dale Innis).
“How can a book based in and around SecondLife be so heartbreaking, and so thrilling? I’m seriously at a loss. You know that feeling you get that we’re all so familiar with these days, after you marathon through a TV series you’ve become enthralled with – and you watch the last episode that’s listed? That feeling of sadness, emptiness, what are you going to do with your life, now? Where did those characters go? I can’t stand not having them in my life, after being taken in like that. That’s how I felt after I finished this. I’ve never really felt that way at the end of a book.” (Amazon review).
“I defy anyone who loves SL not to enjoy this novel.” (Zoe Parness).
“A brilliant story, one of the best I’ve read! I used to play an MMO with a lot of social aspects (nothing like SL), and this story resonated with me, planted new thoughts in my mind, and took me along for a ride. The depth of it at the start might be a bit too much for people that aren’t into MMO’s or SL specifically, but I found it nice still. The ending was absolutely perfect, I never saw it coming and it made me look back on what I’d thought reading it before.” (Smashwords review).
“What a rush, what an exceptional novel! I couldn’t put it down. 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.” (Blog post comment).
“It totally engaged and enthralled me from the first page. The story follows the SLife of Definitely Thursday, an in-world detective, who shares his thoughts and experiences of being a detective in SL. But it’s more than that, it’s an engaging thriller/mystery while at the same time, an insightful and meaningful expression of what SL means to so many of it’s users.” (Carrie Lexington).
“Following Thursday’s exploits on the run was fast paced and ‘edge of your seat’ style of writing. I loved the obvious research into the details of how someone would live on the run from the law. The thought processes in Thursday’s head was fascinating. More AFK please….!!!! The metaverse implications are staggering, brought to life vividly in this novel.” (Amazon review).
“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.” (Blogpost comment)
“The best series I have read in a long time. I have been in the Second Life virtual world, so maybe it made it all that more thrilling for me. At any rate, the writing was stupendous and I did not want to stop the adventure.” (Amazon review).
“Reading these books feels like being back in SL which feels great. And the story is so good; I love all the twists, turns and surprises. You never know if a person is who you think he or she is or will do what you think he or she will do and although the clues are there I prefer to just read and be surprised when the truth is revealed. The main character is also very likable and believable.” (Amazon review).
“Please write more. You are helping to define the infant metasphere for those who will follow us.” (Blogpost comment).