I'm always surprised and flattered when someone asks for my assistance with something they're working on. It's happened a lot more often than I ever imagined it would and is usually limited to providing feedback on blogs or user reviews. Every now and then something a little more peculiar will come up...one time a community member asked me to review some of their fan-fiction for a story that had nothing to do with video games and another time someone asked me to read something at a completely different website. While I make every effort to support all of my fellow gamers with their endeavors, obviously I can't always lend my assistance due to a lack of time and my own personal obligations and commitments.

A few days ago I was approached by a gentleman who asked if I would be interested in doing a book review for a novel he is working to get published and using Kickstarter to help with the funding. Of course I was surprised...maybe a little intrigued...a smidge nervous. Anytime I've ever agreed to help someone with their work I'm always concerned how I will respond if the material is rubbish and I have to be honest with them. Hah, now maybe you're thinking I could lie to them or blow them off, but I have hard time doing either of those...especially after I've agreed to the task. Anyway, my dream of publishing a novel one day and my curiosity got the better of me, so I responded with an indication that I would help. I provided an email address where he could deliver the digital draft version of his story and the next day I had the file waiting in my Inbox.

Weighing in at over 350+ pages, I knew there was no way I could finish reading the draft in its entirety before the Kickstarter project went live. Please keep that in mind when I share my thoughts about the story, the author and the Kickstarter project.

The Story

The title of the story is Double Jump. Personally I thought it was kind of catchy and had a video game vibe to it. The inside of the cover would read something like this...

Jeremy Chin has loved video games all his life, but will they be enough to save it?

Jeremy Chin sees his entire world scrubbed away in a twinkling dust. His attempts to escape it land him in the lattice, a collective of remnant world fragments and their survivors. This tattered universe is held together by The Engine, and understanding it is the key to survival. When Jeremy realizes that everything in the lattice is governed by video game rules and logic, it puts him in the path of an enemy determined to rebuild the universe, even if it means starting from scratch.

I told myself to at least read the first chapter which was a fairly easy achievement since it was only 8 pages. But as I finished the last word of Chapter 1 with an ending that left me wondering the fate of the main character, I couldn't help but read on. Before I knew it I was finished with Chapter 2.

It's an interesting story, to say the least. There are a number of references to video games and pop culture I find entertaining. The story is easy to read and has a great flow to it. Chapter 1 had sort of an Ender's Game meets The Langoliers feel to it for me, but by Chapter 2 I couldn't help but think of Tron (the classic movie from the 80s). Overall I felt the story was intriguing and the dialogue appealing. I don't quite understand what is happening yet, but that is part of the mystery luring me in and tempting me to keep reading the story. I suppose I'll have to do that if I want to know what happens or how it ends.

The Author

The author's name is Jason Glaser and he's from Mankato, Minnesota. As far as I know, I don't know him and never met him. Why he'd ask me to read his book, I have no idea. I've read a little bit about him and he seems to be every bit the geek I am.

His professional bio reads,

Jason Glaser is the author of over sixty books for kids, dating back to 1997.  His long-awaited first fiction book will be coming out Fall 2011. He has also written textbook materials, classroom materials, and standardized test materials. There is a fair chance he may have helped contribute to your school-age child's education.

While his Kickstarer bio states,

I was a nerd and a geek way before it was cool (it is cool now, right? maybe?) during the hair-defined 80s. I tore myself away from roller skating to Pac Man Fever long enough to try my hand at a few attempts at programming games in Advanced Basic on a TI 99-4A. After deciding that graphics were hard, I mostly made Interactive Fiction games. About other games. For reals. I think I still have my "Dragon's Lair" IF project on an audio cassette around here somewhere.

I suppose in a sense, we are a lot alike. We grew up roughly the same time...we like video games and have a passion for writing. I applaud him for pursuing his dream and want nothing but the best for him and his project.

The Kickstarter Project

The project officially kicks off tomorrow but the page is up and running now, and runs until August 16, 2013. With a goal of $16,384 (which the author explains is representative of 16K), he'll need all the support he can get to ensure this book gets published. It's certainly an achievable goal and I appreciate the cost breakdown for getting a book published he provides to explain how the money will be spent. Like all Kickstarter projects, there are various levels of donations up for offer and some of them are pretty cool. Some of them are fairly steep, but there are plenty of low and mid-range contribution levels too.

Check it out here - Double Jump

Now, let's be clear. I am not endorsing or asking you to contribute to this Kickstarter project - I don't know the author and haven't finished reading the book to decide for myself, so I'm not asking you to do something I haven't committed to yet either. But I am trying to at least bring it to your attention for you to maybe take a look at it and decide if it's something you're interested in supporting or not. I know there are plenty of aspiring authors out there, myself included, who would love to be the one pursuing this dream, so personally I will probably donate some for a chance to help a fellow gamer and for a chance to be a part of published novel. Heck, who knows...maybe when it's my turn to publish my own book, Mr. Glaser will remember me and return the favor (or refer me to his agent and/or publisher when he's rich and famous).

If you don't know whether you'd be interested in this project or the book in general, the author has included the first 3 chapters (36 pages) completely free and available to anybody. You can find it here.

Preview of Double Jump

I think this is one of the great things about Kickstarter. Not only does it help individuals pursue their dreams and offer an alternative funding source, it can bring like-minded people together who would've probably never crossed paths before while providing the opportunity for everybody to be a part of something pretty cool.