Typical Day by Gary K. Wolf
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Futuristic, Suspense/Mystery, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (144 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
Every morning Joyce Williams plays a game called LifeMaster. In one hour, LifeMaster takes him through his day. Joyce then goes out and lives exactly the day he’s played.
Until the day his game cube gets destroyed.
His life goes into default mode. LifeMaster plays the game. Joyce lives the life.
Joyce expects life will get worse. Instead it gets better. Way better.
He’s making more money than he can spend. He’s hanging out with his favorite sports hero. He has a gorgeous girlfriend. He partners up with Herculisa, a crime-fighting superheroine. He becomes Jayhawk, a superhero himself.
Life is good! Life is perfect.
Then LifeMaster changes from a game of life to a game of life and death!
Have you ever wished you were a superhero? Until the accident Joyce is fairly content with his steady (if boring) job at an insurance company. His biggest wish is to afford an upgrade to a nicer hotel on his next vacation. Little does he know how much his life is about to change.
The best way to describe Typical Day is to say it’s a graphic novel without pictures. From the first time Joyce attempts to navigate life without the guidance of LifeMaster his adventures, sidekicks and nemesis are larger than life. One day his life is perfectly ordinary and the next he’s pole vaulting over an electric fence with a pink, seven foot tall woman named Herculisa. What endeared me to Joyce was his reaction to the unbelievable things happening around him. As surprised as he is by certain events he slowly grows accustomed to his new life and it becomes his new normal. I’ll admit that I was not a fan of some of the negative character traits that emerge when Joyce faces additional challenges but I completely understand why they would occur. In his shoes I would almost certainly have had the same reaction.
Arthur C. Clarke once said, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The concept for this story isn’t something I’ve read about before. I would have preferred to learn more about how LifeMaster works. Is it powered by a magical spell or a computer-generated algorithm? Based on how Joyce reacts to the world around him I would assume it was the latter but this is never explained.
Typical Day’s vision of the future is as fresh as it is fascinating. This is a good choice for anyone who has ever wished they could know what surprises a new day holds or go on autopilot during a particularly dull meeting.