A game like Baldur’s Gate II requires not just a master wordsmith but a dungeon master.

Enter award-winning novelist Matt Bell, author of the surreal domestic novel In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods and co-author of the Dungeons & Dragons novel The Last Garrison.Upon its release in 2000, BioWare’s PC role-playing epic Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn was hailed as a paragon of its genre and named “RPG of the Year” by IGN, Gamespy, and Gamespot. Bell’s book explores BG2’s immersive narrative and complex mechanics, unpacks how RPG systems enable our emotional investment in characters, investigates the game’s non-linear story, and relates his own struggle to reconcile being a “serious” adult with his love of D&D and video games. Dig in, geek out, and go for the eyes, Boo! 



“Over and over again, Bell asks us to think of games as they might translate to prose; perhaps as a way for the author to explore his own sense of accountability as it relates to media consumption, or perhaps as a wider critique—common these days—of accepted micro-notions of race, gender, and violence, in pop culture. His sword, as a writer, cuts both ways, carving into an ambivalence that many consumers of genre fiction tend to glaze over." —Samuel Sattin, The Rumpus

"The manner in which Bell writes about these events feels so surprising to me: with straightforward clarity, full of anxious prevarication… This voice is altogether a different thing, more conventionally ‘normal’ but also disturbingly open and honest. And disturbing in a good way: Bell clearly still struggles to reconcile these two selves—writer and gamer—and struggles too to figure out why it’s so hard for him." —Molly McArdle, Brooklyn Magazine

Baldur’s Gate II illustrates the way in which a writer’s life, identity, and personal pursuits are inextricably linked. Bell reminds us that to write well—and to live well—we must remain true to our hidden, buried selves.“ —Kaj Tanaka, Fiction Advocate




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