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Summary

Ten million active players. One Game Master.

Infinite Worlds is the most popular VRMMORPG on the market. Its maps are so vast, developer Hard Rock Data utilizes a network of highly advanced artificial intelligences to control it. But it’s not without problems.

That’s why Game Masters like Jeff Driscoll have jobs. The downside? He’s not allowed to play the game. Something about conflicts of interest and favoritism.

His very boring and tedious job is to help players deal with the occasional bug that slips through the cracks and ensure they enjoy their time playing enough to give a five-star rating. It’s a gig. It pays the bills.

However, when the AIs unexpectedly issue a rogue patch, the game becomes a buggy mess, and Jeff’s role radically changes. He finds himself as the only Game Master around, dealing with more problems than he can handle. It’s up to Jeff to return Infinite Worlds to normalcy...but will the AIs let him?

Manufacturing Magic is a unique spin on the LitRPG genre, not just providing the perspective of the players but also of one of those mystical, magical, all-powerful GMs we all dream of being. Perfect for fans of Luke Chmilenko, Dakota Krout, and Shemer Kuznits. 

©2021 Aethon Books LLC (P)2021 Podium Audio

What listeners say about Manufacturing Magic: A LitRPG Adventure

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

VRMMO with low stakes but an excellent page turner

TLDR;
VRMMO with low stakes but an excellent page turner.
What's it about?
Jeff works as a GM for an MMO. His role is to make sure that the players are happy, when they glitch or get stuck in a tile he has to get there and try to solve their issue in 15 minutes, writing hot fixes using an intuitive interface, he doesn't even know how to code properly.
The game is called Infinite Worlds and uses AIs to just help maintain the system and all is going swimmingly until one of the AIs decides "You know what, I could write better plot than these humans. The players keep complaining the games to easy, well lets make it harder."
The next thing Jeff knows, all the other GMs are booted from game and he alone is left alone to try and fix peoples gripes, hopefully the game and save his pay check.
Why it's enjoyable.
The straight honest answer is that it is a fun (but not funny) Litrpg. There is no need for trigger warnings, its just an entertaining adventure in a VR world.
The story switches between the perspective of Jeff, a set of adventurers and some other characters as they deal with the change of pace.
Jeff having to solve bugs (and thus learn to manipulate the code) reminds me slightly of Asmiov's short robot stories where the two people are called into bug fix broken robots (though this is less detailed).
I'm assuming that both Jaime and Troy have clocked up a large number of hours in MMOs because the world is nicely designed, but also when the AI is constructing it's own plot, there is a nice reflection on what makes real life MMOs actually fun to play and that what people complain about isn't necessarily what they want.
Jeff strikes as a very real person, he complains about things, he knows when to role his sleeves up and sometimes he is just overwhelmed and does what most of us do and just knuckle down with job. He doesn't come off as whiny, just someone caught in his own bubble with a fair few pressures on him. Taking most problems as a puzzle to be solved, rather than relying on grit and determination, he feels like a good everyman.
Nick Podehl as always is a terrific narrator.
Why might you not like it?
Honestly much the same reason as to why I find it enjoyable. Sometimes I need the more serious reads, sometimes I want something more stats heavy (I'm looking at you Brooks) and sometimes I just want a solid story with low stakes that I can get lost in. If that's not you or you are not in that mood currently, then its likely not the story for you.
Overall,
I've enjoyed it, I've picked up book 2 and look forward to delving in.

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an interesting twist on the lit rpg genre

an interesting insight into both sides of gaming.
wonderfully written an skillfully performed this story has it's share of twists and turns and a fair few WTF? moments.

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  • Willis Burns
  • 04-05-21

Together, they’re better!

I’ve read Osgood and Castle separately, but this is their first work together. Received an ARC and devoured it. This was unique. I’ve never seen a LitRPG from the perspective of the Game Master (though I’m not saying it doesn’t exist). Jeff hates his job, which is relatable, would rather being playing the game, which is relatable, and loves cereal, which is relatable.

The story also gives us snippets into the POV of players and even the AIs who run the game.

The authors considered in game and out of game stories and weaved them well.

This all works together to build one of the best LitRPGs I’ve read this year.

Bravo!

PS: do I even need to say “Nick Podehl nailed it?”

33 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-07-21

Makes little sense

Some good ideas but poor execution.

The personality of every character in the book (including the MC) is very flat, almost always some combination of selfish, angry, insecure, jealous, snobbish, whiner, or dumb. Everyone freaks out and stresses out over every little thing.

The book is full of very unnatural scenes. Each of them by itself is a minor thing, but there are hundreds, and eventually they take their toll on immersion.

For example, how do top guilds decide who will go first after a world event mob? They don't just rush it, they yell at each other to argue that they deserve to go first.

How does GM who can't code try to disable rogue AI? By creating lines of code that are thin enough to fit in between the rogue code.

How long does the best, fastest growing VRMMO have until bankruptcy if a small fraction of players unsubscribe? A month. (In reality, a modest fall in subscribers often happens for natural reasons, and no company would go out of business from that.) Incidentally, the number of total tickets is in the hundreds, and only some of them quit, so it's completely inconsequential.

How many tickets appear in a game with 10 million players after large chunks of the game stopped working (like teleportation orbs)? Hundreds. Why not millions of hundreds of thousands? Because it wouldn't fit into the plot.

23 people found this helpful

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  • IOTJ, Esq
  • 04-05-21

Solid First Entry

I picked up this book on a whim after reading the summary. I was pleasantly surprised.

Nick Podehl puts in another excellent performance. Every voice is distinct and fully emotive.

The story held my interest throughout. I believe jumping between the different viewpoints was very beneficial. Especially since every presented character has their own unique personality, which added to the world building.

Further, I like how reasonable the actions of the various characters are. The corporation employees and players are all depicted as acting in a realistic manner to the radical, ongoing changes to the game world.

I wish more time was spent with Jeff, our titular Game Master. It would have better paced his growth from mere cog to essential linchpin. Also, I do have leftover factual/world building questions, i.e. Jeff's age/background, the various AIs, etc., after the story has ended. Hopefully, they'll be answered in the second installment, which I intend to purchase.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Cory
  • 06-05-21

Let the games begin For new Game master

Before I start this review a little something that you might find humorous If you Choose to Read this book on the day that I'm doing this review its May the 4th let us beginIt's interesting how we deal with coding hands the psychology of gamingHow it sets up The singularity event without anybody realising what's going on and the effects of that the effects of the ai beginning to trying grasp its existence and deal with trying to keep itself alive and please people let's face it Gamers are not someone who are easily pleasedThis should be an interesting look into the gaming industry players and what will happen when sanctioned intelligence come into play

11 people found this helpful

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  • GrimReaperD13
  • 06-05-21

great story, but...

This story is well written, but doesn't focus on the MC and jumps around to multiple characters. In the sequel I hope for more focus with the ending we are given.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Persephone Kepler
  • 06-05-21

very enjoyable

great book with an amazing performance from Nick Podel, Jeff is a fantastic relatable character.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Nathan Parker
  • 03-06-21

Pretty decent

I hate the way that Audible labels its stars: I have to drop them down to two in order to get a "pretty good", but two stars seems pretty condemning. The story was just OK; entertaining, but none of the characters were particularly likeable. Nothing wrong with them, just bland.

I'm not normally a fan of Nick Podehl as narrator; his voice goes up and down in pitch too much, making him exhausting to listen to, but I didn't find him as annoying as usual in this book.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John M
  • 06-05-21

Great listen!

Great book from start to finish! I can't wait for the next books to be available!

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rob Bew
  • 05-05-21

Great first in series

Creative take on the genre. Great mix of humor and story. Can’t wait for the sequel

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • CuteAsADaisy
  • 02-11-21

interesting perspective but a bit jumbled


Narrator: decent differentiations
Language: moderate; no full Fbombs but iterations are present. Typical online gaming community language level.
Violence: moderately gorey, fairly descriptive
Sexual content: indirect reference to male genitalia
Parents: moderate to strong language would be my main warning, this is a lit rpg so the gore isn’t nonexistent by any means
Story: feels disjointed for the majority of the book and then things finally start to come together. Like one of the quests, this book took its sweet time to get to a consistent speed where the action was coming at an enjoyable pace—rather than a sprinkle here or there. I think this series has potential with better editing with cohesion of story in mind.

4 people found this helpful