Twitch is a high-energy sci-fi novel that looks at the extremes of gaming, virtual immersion and social networking. More
After getting plucked from the legacy forest, Twitch gains access to the beta partition, a competitive domain frequented by high-scoring kids. But once he gains access, he is shunned. Nobody makes friends with him, he scores zero bonus points, and the majority of kids filter him out. As Twitch gets ready to escape, he receives an encrypted message from Kisme, a cute high-scoring girl. The boy starts to jitter.
Why does Kisme, the girl with the most traffic in the beta partition, communicate with such a low-scoring boy? And why does she assign Twitch a bee-bot, a miniature flying device to track all his movements? “Something is weird about that boy,” Kisme confesses. “He connects with me, but in a not-so-nice way. It’s like he’s using a hidden protocol. How rude!”
Kisme is not the only one irked by Twitch. A group of admins have put the boy on a critical path. They want to scrub his brain. When the admins invade the beta partition, Twitch discovers he has a secret skill. He has direct access to the low level, a hidden communication network that few kids understand. To escape the admins, Twitch taps into the low level and befriends a wily boy named Simon. Together, the boys run back to the legacy domain and are forced to cross a virtual battle zone where everyone is lagged.
What happens when the admins finally catch up with Twitch? Who is the mysterious hologram following the boys across the battle zone? And what daring decision will Twitch make when Kisme is kidnapped and also taken into the legacy domain?
Mark Bailen, the author of Twitch, has written short stories, non-fiction, and graphic novels. He has published work in the Cimarron Review, the High Plains Literary Review, and the Sonora Review. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with his wife and five-year-old son.