Paranoia Novels on Amazon

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Allen Varney is editing a series of Paranoia e-book novels (despite my advice to find more remunerative ways to spend his time), and the first two are up now.

They are set, obviously, in the Paranoia universe, where everyone lives in a vast underground city controlled by The Computer, a well-meaning but deranged AI that wishes to keep everyone safe and happy, but is convinced that vast conspiracies are working to destroy its utopian order. Paranoia fans will obviously be interested but so perhaps may others be: As Allen says, "In these books we're hoping to continue a tradition of smart science fiction satire in the mode of Philip K. Dick, Robert Sheckley, John Sladek, and Pohl & Kornbluth."

Reality Optional, by long-time UK game designer Gareth Hanrahan, follows Jerome-G, a Green-clearance worker for the Threat Obfuscation Department, whose job is is to invent imaginary menaces to keep the population on their toes -- until the things he created start coming true: there really are pirates in the transport tubes, and rogue robots really are conspiring to rebel. This, of course, places Jerome-G under immediate suspicion -- and to avoid being used as reactor shielding, he volunteers for the Troubleshooters -- and finds a pair of augmented reality glasses that reveal the truth behind everything he sees...

Stay Alert, by Allen himself (designer of the most recent edition of Paranoia), is the first of a projected three novels under the name "The Troubleshooter Rules;" naturally, the others will be Trust No One and Keep Your Laser Handy. It follows the adventures of Fletcher-R, a new Troubleshooter recruit who has the problems of all Troubleshooters (traitorous and untrustworthy team mates and his own hidden treasons), but has an additional problem: When doing paperwork or dealing with bureaucracies, he sometimes blacks out, and when he comes to, all the paperwork is perfect -- and he has navigated the bureaucracy to perfection. This is useful, but troubling, and unreliable.

I've read both, and enjoyed them; I modestly like Gareth's book better, but possibly because the full story Allen is driving toward won't be revealed until the future volumes.

Both are currently available only for the Kindle, though versions for other e-readers are forthcoming; there's no DRM. Both have covers from Jim Holloway, who has done most of the art for Paranoia throughout its history.

Allen is publishing under the rubric of Ultraviolet Books, and blogs about them here. $4 a pop puts them in the cheaper-than-a-paperback range.

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No Paranoia Gamebook?

Would love Paranoia gamebook on iOS.