Joshua Mason - Steam Whistle Alley

The powers of augmented reality are showcased in this fast-pace thrill ride in the hot new GameLit genre by debut author Joshua Mason. Blending elements of video games, table top games, and science fiction, the novel will delight anyone who liked Ready Player one, or who has ever picked up a joystick. 

Everyone on the street that day saw a lunatic wearing strange brass goggles, swinging an invisible sword on the sidewalks of downtown Seattle. But Jacob recognizes what the man is really doing—playing a game in augmented reality. When the game’s creator offers him his own goggles, Jacob enters a city he thinks he knows. But towering monuments of Victorian architecture have replaced the skyscrapers. Airships float between the buildings. Fearsome enemies, from steam-powered rabbits to clockwork werewolves lurk in every shadow.

But with the game comes a quest, and to the victors go the deed to Steam Whistle Alley, the social and financial heart of the game. Jacob, his biosynthetic monkey Banjo, and the rest of the team must face off against foes who want the alley for themselves. Some of his adversaries, however, aren’t playing games. They don’t want the alley. They want the company, and the death they bring is not the kind Jacob can respawn from.

Joshua Mason has done a little bit of everything. He worked for Nintendo as a game play counselor in its pre-internet heyday. He has a degree in archaeology from the University of Washington, and has been on digs spanning the globe, from the 24-hour sun of a northern Alaska summer, to the remote Spice Islands of Indonesia. During a five-year stint teaching English in Indonesia, he met his wife Francine. He spends his days writing, gaming, camping and cooking, when he's not managing a Seattle-area restaurant.