Publication Date: April 29, 2012
Golgotha and Gameland: Deep Into the Game by Saul Tanpepper is a futuristic story in which New York City has been cordoned off as an infected zone. A group of teenagers plot to break into the zone … but just the outer shell of it. They seem to have no real intention breaking into the area where the Zombies probably are (they must all be dead by now, right?). Will the teens be able to break into Gameland and, if they do, will they come out alive?
These are two, essentially, very different stories and I was tempted to review them separately. Golgotha and Gameland: Episode 1 – Deep Into the Game is an extremely well-written horror story. The narrative flows beautifully and the reader gets the true impact through details that haunt. The scientist, who injects himself does so with a 12-gauge needle because of the viscosity of what he’s injecting. I read this short story last week and that detail has stuck with me as well as the visual of the hole the needle would make. My stomach just did a little, horrified flip writing this. The reader is listening to this recorded message along with a group of advisors to the President and the telling is vivid. The ending is a beautiful twist and I was eager to read on to find out what would happen next. I highly recommend this story and, I believe, it’s appropriate for a YA audience.
The second story in Golgotha and Gameland: Episode 1 – Deep Into the Game is not so appropriate for a YA audience. The book is not recommended for kids under the age of 16 and if you have kids who are younger, read the story first to see if they’re ready to read this sort of horror. The book not only contains a lot of violence (as a book of this description would) but the group of teens is highly sexualized. The teens, as teens can be, are also pretty annoying and full of their own self-importance in a way that, at times, made this reader cheer for the baddies. The reader has to understand, to believe this story, that the characters are not fully cooked as people and so they aren’t using the best logic or fact-finding in what they’re doing. Even after someone nearly dies during the preparation process, they push on.
The main characters; however, are fully realized. The narrator, Jessie Daniels, is the daughter of one of the main characters in Golgotha and Gameland. She is fully realized as are the group of hackers with whom she’s involved. The author brilliantly lets us know right from the start the personality of each of the people involved and how they fit into the storyline.
There are lots of twists and turns and the writing is outstandingly good. Tanpepper has a way of getting his point across in big fashion with an economy of words, and the horror aspects are often beautiful in their narration.
I do think that there are readers who will be sucked on and read on in this series, but that reader wasn’t me. Despite a cliffhanger ending, I’ll be setting this series aside and moving on to the next read.
Read an excerpt and buy Golgotha and Gameland: Episode 1 – Deep Into the Game by Saul Tanpepper on: