Join us for a live reading and Q&A by Matt Ruff from his new novel 88 Names.

Matt Ruff is the award-winning author of seven novels, including Fool on the Hill, Set This House in Order, Bad Monkeys, The Mirage, and Sewer, Gas & Electric. His novel Lovecraft Country is being produced as an HBO series by Jordan Peele, Misha Green, and J.J. Abrams.

In Ruff’s new novel, 88 Names, we meet John Chu, an online “sherpa” who provides ready-made characters and expertise to rich clients who wish to dabble in VR role-playing games. Chu suspects that his latest client, the pseudonymous Mr. Jones, may actually be North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, whose interest in VR gaming has more to do with power than entertainment. The ensuing cat-and-mouse game plays out largely in virtual reality, where everyone Chu interacts with—friend or foe—is an avatar whose true identity and motives he must constantly question. 88 Names combines a gripping and fast-paced adventure with a thoughtful exploration of the social implications of VR technology.

Publishers Weekly calls 88 Names “pure geek gold,” and Booklist writes in a starred review, “Ruff’s richly imagined world of next-generation internet is plausible and a bit frightening. The action inside the virtual gaming world is sleek and exciting, but the extrapolation of identity, friendship, and human relationships makes the narrative shine.”


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