I’m a Cory Doctorow fan. I loved Little Brother, and I was fascinated by For the Win, which examines the lives of “gold farmers” – people whose job it is – in real life – to acquire gold and magic/rare items in games, and sell them to players for real-world currency. The gamers – which include children – are from poor families in third-world countries: India, China, and Singapore, working in deplorable conditions, and exploited by sweatshop bosses who pay pitiful wages.
In Real Life is a graphic novel about a girl named Anda, who loves playing a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) named Coarsegold. She makes friends in the gamespace, ultimately falling in with Lucy, a more experienced gamer who takes Anda under her wing. They stalk and “kill” the “gold farmers” they encounter, believing them to be cheating by selling gold and rare items to fellow gamers. The farmers look small, almost childlike, and Anda – despite doing this in the gamespace – feels guilty. She strikes up a friendship with one of the farmers, a Chinese teenager named Raymond, who tells her about his life and his job – laboring under sweatshop conditions to farm so that he can help support his family – and Anda decides that something needs to be done.
Read the rest of my review at MomReadIt!