Call of Duty meets Diablo in this fast-paced, action-packed LitRPG novel from the author of GALAXY’S EDGE.

Gamer PerfectQuestion fights for ColaCorp in WarWorld, an online combat sport arena where mega-corporations field entire armies in the battle for real world global advertising-space dominance. Within the immense virtual battlefield, players and bots are high-tech grunts, using drop-ships and state-of-the-art weaponry to wipe each other out.

But times are tough and the rent is due, and when players need extra dough, there’s always the Black, an illegal open source tournament where the sick and twisted desires of the future are given free rein in the Wastehavens, a gothic dungeon fantasy world.

And all too soon, the real and virtual worlds collide when PerfectQuestion refuses to become the tool of a mad man intent on hacking the global economy for himself.

Soda Pop Soldier is available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. A Castalia House paperback will be available from Castalia Books Direct later today.

From the reviews:

  • I half-expected a light-hearted romp through modern video games. What I got was something completely different. Something telling about how many of us live our lives online and the anonymity that we expect…. Throughout it all, we see the real world, but in many ways Cole presents this as almost more fantastic and ridiculous than the online worlds that PerfectQuestion plays in. There are scientific advancements that take humans to other planets and planes that seemingly traverse around the world without stopping, but most of that is unavailable to the average person. The more the book explores those areas – the areas inhabited by the rich and powerful – the more the reader finds themselves in foreign territory. In many ways PerfectQuestion is more at home in the war and fantasy of his online games than in the real world.
  • This is a seriously well-crafted book, full of twists, loads of pop culture references, and a remarkable treatise on integrity, conviction, good versus evil, hero versus villain and several other themes. He picks up on everything that was (and is) fun about gaming, problem-solving and the creativity and story-telling that great games AND books have in common, and lectures in a good way about the joy of reading. This is a great story. If you played Pong and other games up to the current genre of first-person shooters, and enjoy a good story, with characters that you can identify with, buy this book. Read it. Share it. If you aren’t a gamer, but rather a well read bookworm, buy this book. Lose yourself in it, and enjoy something that is exceptional.
  • This book blew me away. I went into it expecting little, because it’s from an indie publisher. Big mistake. It feels like a blend between Catcher In The Rye, Blade Runner, and Warhammer 40K. It started off a bit slow and I wasn’t sure where it was going, but it morphs into a compelling story that I could not get enough of. I’d think about this book while I was working, waiting to get home. I went out and bought three more of his books just so I’d have some ready when I finished this one.
  • I love Cole’s work and SPS is probably my favorite one to date. 
  • It’s in my top ten favorite novels of all time, and it’s just wonderfully good.

This book is an absolute must-read for any gamer. People not unreasonably tend to think of Nick Cole as a pulp author due to the success of Galaxy’s Edge, but he is actually one of the better science fiction authors around, and there is no one currently writing who is more adept at playing on the emotions of the reader.

LitRPG has been around since Joel Rosenberg created it in Guardians of the Flame; my abortive first attempt at a novel was a Guardians imitation that very cleverly utilized Traveller instead of D&D. But the invention of the MMO and subsequent blurring of reality and game reality in the real world has transformed and popularized the genre, and Soda Pop Soldier represents the very best of it. If you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy and do so.

Castalia House will also be publishing the next two books in the Soda Pop Soldier series.