For YA novelist Marie Lu, Warcross, her latest novel, is more than a book.
“It’s basically a love letter to all of my favorite things,” says Lu.
The novel follows a young hacker and bounty hunter, Emika Chen, tasked with finding petty criminals in ‘Warcross,’ an internationally loved virtual reality video game. Looking to make more cash, Emika hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championship … only to glitch and be discovered by the world. But rather than being arrested, Emika is enlisted by the game’s creator to spy on the inside of the game’s tournament. But all is not as it seems, as Emika unwittingly finds herself in the midst of a sinister plot that could change Warcross forever.
And yet, despite its advanced tech and futuristic setting, Warcross was inspired by Marie Lu’s own life and experiences.
“I used to work in the video game industry before I became a full-time writer,” Lu explains. “A lot of the anecdotes that I have from that time made its way into Warcross in some form. There’s a lot of my old history in the gaming world, and my teammates, and fellow interns in there.”
This week on the MashReads Podcast, we are joined by Lu herself to chat about video games, writing sci-fi, and her new novel Warcross.
Then, as always, we close the show with recommendations:
Marie recommends Force of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. “It is a fantastic, East Asian retelling of the Snow White story but from the Queen’s perspective. It is so good, and it is dark, and lush, and awesome. I can’t believe it’s a debut.” She also recommends Bob’s Burgers. “That’s my happy show. I always leave that show feeling good.”
Aliza recommends the TV show Outlander. “It is essence a period soap opera, but it’s so much more than that … the writing on that show is amazing, and the way they portray people dealing with drama is really, really good.”
MJ recommends Adam Silvera’s new novel They Both Die At The End. He also recommends reading The New York Times “Modern Love” essay “Who Is Allowed To Hold Hands.” “It’s this heartbreaking, impassioned essay about who is allowed to hands and when and where and why.”