The second of three LitRPG/GameLit ideas I have on the brain. This one's less "to-market" than Astral Falls and it's more like a fusion of a cartoon with a video game. Whereas Astral Falls is a broody and cerebral story, like if someone recreated Shadowrun to Radiohead and Daft Punk songs, I've always envisioned this story being complete unrestrained 16-bit cyberdelia. I also decided to go with AF for NaNoWriMo because I wanted my first LitRPG novel to at least get my foot in the door and learn the ins and outs of the genre by fire. It would have been even better if I played it perfectly safe and went the Cyberpunk Real World/High Fantasy VRMMORPG route, but again, I want to play it safe and it seems like there's been a bit of pushback to the dominance of the High Fantasy VRMMORPG route. The more reviews I read, the more I see "Ugh, another generic fantasy world!" in increasing numbers. And since Yahtzee Croshaw lamented about how doublethink the concept of "standard fantasy" really is, I figured that I didn't want to start off on a broken step. But 58th State is something that's definitely not a rational call if you want it to be your first LitRPG novel. Much like Astral Falls, the maypole of the plot is the end of the world. But in this case, the end of the world is more like a time limit (think Majora's Mask) than the "fight to save yourself" in AF. Also, this EOTW is purely in-game, not something that's happening in real life. Now I want you to try to follow me on this one, because it gets stupid. The world is completely f**k't because some race of aliens (name withheld for now) has turned a supercluster of galaxies into supermassive black holes by accident. Because of this, reality is falling apart. Cause and effect become unchained, and the impossible starts becoming the impossible and reality. It's like quantum physics on a macro scale at times. Magic becomes possible. The video game actually becomes like a video game, if that makes any sense (the game explaining why it's a game, essentially). Because the world is definitely doomed, a group of doomsday dealers decided to live it up. Except it's possible that these same fools might have the key to reversing the apocalypse. That's entirely up to you to find out if you so wish. Or you could just go to the end game and win your freedom. That's the other thing: IRL, the players are kidnapped outcasted youths at risk of death if they fail, allthewhile their game is being broadcast to the world under the much lighter pretense of them competing to win a special prize. Naturally when they're introduced to the game, they're completely freaked out and frantically trying to get out of there, but since there's no escape, they have to get used to their new "lives". It's actually somewhat easy to get invested because the nature of the game rewards petty acts of criminality. I somewhat hesitate to even call this "LitRPG", but that's for the exact same reason as people have been debating— is 'LitRPG' essentially just RPGs? Because this story, while it has RPG elements (a lot of leveling up and different classes), it bears just as much in common with platformers. In fact, a lot like Astral Falls. Except it's drawing inspiration from a few particular platformers— namely Jet Set Radio Future. I imagined this story as having the art style of Scott Pilgrim and various conventions of JSR/JSRF. Among other games, of course. The character in my avatar is also one of the main characters from this story, in fact. And as with Astral Falls, I do have a subreddit up. Holy hell, that went on too long! Yeah, I guess you can say I'm a bit invested in this concept. This one is also already being planned, though I prolly won't get around to it this year.