‘Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;’
From Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s Macbeth speaks of life’s futility – however much you try it will always end the same. Although this quote is tragic in Macbeth, it allows for hope. There is always tomorrow, there is always a way to start again, refresh the page, restart the level. This seems to be the overarching message in Zevin’s book ‘Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow’. Two game-obsessed kids meet in a hospital and instantly become connected through their love of the virtual world. Although it's a book about boy meets girl, it is not a romance. They love each other deeply but are never lovers. As Sadie says: “Lovers are common… True collaborators in this life are rare.” These different forms of love are explored through the beautifully realistic characters Sadie and Sam meet along their journey to create video games that are both loved and respected.
Throughout this book, fictional video games are created which instantly make you want to power up your console and play that video game you were obsessed with as a child (or adult). Even if you haven't played video games, or have and weren’t hooked, this book still encourages an admiration for the pure labour and love that is put into creating a game. One of my favourite parts of the book was the chapters where the reader is in the game ‘Pioneers’, an online multi-player set in the Wild West, where you are a new character that exists in this virtual world. The way Zevin blend’s reading and gaming is impressive and something I have never come across before.
The book varies in tone and keeps you gripped from start to finish, I only put it down to see if I could log back into Stardew Valley and check on my crops after a few years of neglect. The two main characters frustrate you, make you fall in love and make you cry sad and happy tears. Interestingly, identity and disability are examined throughout the book, Sam thinks of his chronic pain as ‘a basic error in programming, and he wished he could open up his brain and delete the bad code’. This tech language is used throughout the book effectively to help the character's explain their experience sensitively and in an accessible way.
Most importantly, this book reminds you of the beauty of platonic love and finding connections; moreover, it shows the redemptive quality of play. After all, if you fail you can always go back to the start and try again.
Oh and Emilyblaster has been made into a real computer game – now for Mapletown and Ichigo!