Moral complexity is a hallmark of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, which takes its title from Shakespeare, not Nintendo...But even while alluding to that anguished soliloquy about the brevity and meaninglessness of life, Zevin has her hand on the joystick...In a moment, she flips Macbeth’s lament into a countervailing celebration of the endless possibilities of rebirth and renewal, the chance to play again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...In the story that develops, Sam and Sadie become legendary founders of a company called Unfair Games, and questions about the fairness or unfairness of who gets the credit, who bears the responsibility and who makes the final decisions continue to churn off-screen as their many fans keep clamoring for more, more, more...Zevin provides alluring descriptions of the products that Unfair Games creates, and she includes just enough technical detail to make us feel as if we may understand what a graphics engine does, but she rarely exploits the gaming structure much in this conventionally told novel...In her acknowledgments, Zevin describes herself as 'a lifelong gamer'...That level of experience could very well have produced a story of hermetically sealed nostalgia impenetrable to anyone who doesn’t still own a copy of 'Space Invaders'...But instead, she’s written a novel that draws any curious reader into the pioneering days of a vast entertainment industry too often scorned by bookworms.
It's impossible to predict how, exactly, you'll fall in love with Gabrielle Zevin's novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, but it's an eventuality you can't escape ... spellbinding and layered with details. Her artistic, inclusive world is filled with characters so genuine and endearing that you may start caring for them as if they were real. Above all, her development of Sam and Sadie's relationship is pure wizardry; it's deep and complex, transcending anything we might call a love story ... Whether you care about video games or not is beside the point. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is the novel you've been waiting to read.
... whatever its subject, when a novel is powerful enough, it transports us readers deep into worlds not our own. That's true of Moby Dick, and it's certainly true of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, which renders the process of designing a great video game as enthralling as the pursuit of that great white whale ... as intricate as the games that Sadie and Sam devise, all of them stories-within-stories inside this novel. This is a sweeping narrative about a male-female relationship that's not romantic, but, rather, grounded on shared passions and fierce arguments ... There are also smart ruminations here about cultural appropriation ... satisfies the aspirations of both Sadie and Sam: It's a big, beautifully written novel about an underexplored topic, that succeeds in being both serious art and immersive entertainment.
... engrossing ... Though it contains plenty of nostalgia for the pioneer age of 1990s game design, this isn’t primarily a novel of nerdy insider references ... Ms. Zevin’s great strength as a storyteller is her easygoing nature, and she’s mostly content to advance the novel slowly and patiently with well-realized landmark events. But the spell of her narrative is broken by a random explosion of violence in the novel’s final third, which introduces the sorts of traumas and mawkish life lessons characteristic of young-adult fiction ... Which makes me wonder if it’s possible for novels involving videogames to ever fully mature, even as relationships built on them continue. What do gamers do together when they grow up? Ms. Zevin’s pleasingly immersive book is on surest ground when exploring the meanings and metaphysics of play, an inherently youthful activity.
... playing and reading are natural companions, and Zevin gracefully weaves together the two in language that is pleasingly accessible to non-gamers ... Zevin blurs the lines between reality and play, the one elucidating the other ... artfully balanced novel – charming but never saccharine. The world Zevin has created is textured, expansive and, just like those built by her characters, playful.
... delightful and absorbing ... What’s largely absent here, however, are the unadorned realities of game-making. The despair, for instance, that results from an idea that seems as if it should be fun, but isn’t fun, no matter what you do. There’s very little depiction of how central play-testing and quality assurance are to game design, or of nuking core design conceits because of cost overruns or talent underruns. For the most part, Sam and Sadie’s games tend to work out the way they imagine they will ... No one — trust me on this — wants an entirely accurate novel about game development, which would be a thousand pages of motionless ennui with an exciting 10-page coda, but if there’s a criticism to make of Zevin’s novel, it’s that the professional parts of her game creators’ lives seem far too easy, while the personal parts often seem far too hard ... Some readers will doubtless appreciate Zevin’s unflinching willingness to show how the cancer of American violence can strike down the gentlest and most admirable among us, but this event also turns the cultural problem of American violence into an aesthetic problem within the novel. Aesthetic problems might get your knuckles thwacked in a book review, but fiction can’t meaningfully address a cultural issue as significant as this one without making it absolutely central to the story the writer is trying to tell. It’s not as if the violent event depicted by Zevin isn’t believable. It’s all too believable. The problem is that, however horrifying and shocking, this violent event is just not as interesting as what’s around it ... But not everything in a story as expansive and entertaining as Zevin’s can be the best part, as they say, and we merry dozens of Literary Gamers will cherish the world she’s lovingly conjured. Meanwhile, everyone else will wonder what took them so long to recognize in video games the beauty and drama and pain of human creation.
It’s clear from the premise alone that Gabrielle Zevin loves games, but readers don’t have to be gamers to appreciate this story (though there are many Easter eggs hidden for people who have played even basic-level games) ... The detailed descriptions of the games themselves are artistic and layered and will make readers itch to pick up a console, even if they’ve never played before ... also covers themes of sexism, disability and pain, and loss and grief, somehow managing to tie everything together without ever feeling overly complicated. It’s a masterpiece that works on both a grand scale, and a minute, more intimate one.
... a fascinating fictional hybrid: a view into the intricate art and craft of video-game design, a poignant bildungsroman, and a love story. A prolific novelist, Gabrielle Zevin is equally comfortable with poetic language and computer coding concepts, and she excels at depicting the subtlest of human emotions ... This is the key to this novel’s wistful charm — the belief that 'tomorrow' is always possible, and that, within that endless future, 'Love is all there is.'
... while fans of her more recent adult work seem, on the whole, to be surprised by the innovative emotional and formal somersaulting of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (out this week from Knopf Doubleday), anyone who’s at all versed in her YA work will immediately understand that everything she took such big teen-oriented swings at a dozen years ago—not just emotional themes and character types, but also temporally interwoven narrative devices, a deep interest in how people grow and change from childhood to old age, and an playfully circular theory of life—she’s pulled together into one expansive world with the emotional wallop of a tale that is Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow ... When I say I haven’t wept as long and as hard at any piece of media in recent memory, I’m not indulging in rhetorical hyperbole: for the last four hours of the book (which, as is my wont, I listened to on audio), I was a complete mess. But it’s not just the snot-provoking kind of devastation that Zevin proves so skilled at developing with this book. Wedged as they are into both the time and the industry that they find themselves in, both Sam and Sadie end up walking through some of the prickliest, most sociologically devastating landscapes of the last few decades, landscapes through which—Zevin being Zevin, and thus a master of the variably unlikable protagonist—neither acquits themselves particularly well ... ow able you are to stomach these darker moments will dictate how able to you are to get through Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow at all.
... a fascinating and cleverly written exploration of the relationship between two close friends, but it unfortunately struggles with handling its multiple plotlines in the book’s later sections ... It’s a lot of material to juggle in just one novel, and Zevin accomplishes this with skillful dexterity. A book about video games might seem daunting to those who have no knowledge about gaming, but this novel is more about human relationships than it is about video games. And in places where understanding the technical side of video game development becomes necessary, Zevin walks the reader through the process step by step ... The book’s strengths lie in its characters, though, and the plot ultimately takes a backseat to the relationships between its three main characters. Sam, Sadie, and Marx are all realistic and sympathetic characters who one can’t help but root for despite their flaws. Through them, the novel depicts a compassionate portrayal of the messy dynamics of a long, complicated friendship ... Zevin also does a wonderful job immersing the reader in the book’s multiple settings ... Unfortunately, around the halfway point, the book starts to drag. Tomorrow is over four hundred pages long, and the plot doesn’t quite justify its length ... pulls itself together at the end, though. The last fifty pages again show Zevin’s skill as a writer, as she brings together several plot threads to produce a poignant finale. Although the plot meanders on the way to its final destination, it does get there eventually, and the destination is exciting and emotionally satisfying ... Although its second half struggles with uneven pacing, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is worth the read. The book reaches unflinchingly into the messiness of our complex and often mysterious world, joyfully revealing to readers what it means to be human and to be a friend.
Teenagers of the 21st century are as likely to bond over video games as they are rock music or movies. Gabrielle Zevin’s exhilarating, timely and emotive book is perhaps the first novel to truly get to grips with what this means ... For those who don’t play or understand games, the lengthy descriptions of the development process may at first be trying. The novel explores, with considerable accuracy, the complex technological challenges, the inherent sexism of the games business (Sadie’s contribution is constantly underplayed by fans and journalists), and the compromises involved in meeting the demands of publishers. But throughout it all, Zevin’s avoidance of jargon and her descriptive skill ensure accessibility – and the narrative is grounded by the fragility and humanity of the characters ... Zevin has written young adult fiction and Tomorrow … leans towards the accessibility of that genre; the subject matter, too, will no doubt attract a younger audience. But this is not a YA novel about video games. Instead, it’s a novel where video games are a conduit for self-expression and emotional connection, and where play is the most intimate and important human activity there is. Game development becomes a compelling metaphor for the way in which we build our friendships and love affairs – a process of imagination, effort and shared myth-making.
Zevin creates beautifully flawed characters often caught between the real and gaming worlds, which are cleverly juxtaposed to highlight their similarities and differences. Both readers of love stories and gamers will enjoy. Highly recommended.
When Sam Masur recognizes Sadie Green in a crowded Boston subway station, midway through their college careers at Harvard and MIT, he shouts, 'SADIE MIRANDA GREEN. YOU HAVE DIED OF DYSENTERY!'...This is a reference to the hundreds of hours—609 to be exact—the two spent playing 'Oregon Trail' and other games when they met in the children’s ward of a hospital where Sam was slowly and incompletely recovering from a traumatic injury and where Sadie was secretly racking up community service hours by spending time with him, a fact which caused the rift that has separated them until now...They determine that they both still game, and before long they’re spending the summer writing a soon-to-be-famous game together...A lifelong gamer herself, Zevin has written the book she was born to write, a love letter to every aspect of gaming...Readers who recognize the references will enjoy them, and those who don't can look them up and/or simply absorb them...Zevin’s delight in her characters, their qualities, and their projects sprinkles a layer of fairy dust over the whole enterprise...Sure to enchant even those who have never played a video game in their lives, with instant cult status for those who have.
Zevin returns with an exhilarating epic of friendship, grief, and computer game development...In 1986, Sadie Green, 11, visits a children’s hospital where her sister is recovering from cancer...There, she befriends another patient, a 12-year-old Korean Jewish boy named Sam Masur, who has a badly injured foot, and the two bond over their love for video games...Years later, they reconnect while attending college in Boston...Sam is wowed by a game Sadie developed, called Solution...In it, a player who doesn’t ask questions will unknowingly build a widget for the Third Reich, thus forcing the player to reflect on the impact of their moral choices...He proposes they design a game together, and relying on help from his charming, wealthy Japanese Korean roommate, Marx, and Sadie’s instructor cum abusive lover, Dov, they score a massive hit with Ichigo, inspired by The Tempest...Zevin layers the narrative with her characters’ wrenching emotional wounds as their relationships wax and wane, including Sadie’s resentment about sexism in gaming, Sam’s loss of his mother, and his foot amputation...Even more impressive are the visionary and transgressive games (another, a shooter, is based on the poems of Emily Dickinson)...This is a one-of-a-kind achievement.