Welcome to Seventh City, the birthplace of super powers. The First Wave heroes are jerks, but they have the best gifts: flight, super strength, telepathy, genius, fire. The Third Wavers, like bar-owner Keepsie Branson and her friends, are stuck with the leftovers: the ability to instantly make someone sober, the power to smell the past, absolute control… over elevators. They just aren’t powerful enough to make a difference… at least that’s what they’ve always been told. But when the villain Doodad slips Keepsie a mysterious metal sphere, the Third Wavers become caught in the middle of a battle between egotistical heroes and manipulative villains.
Playing for Keeps does a great job of showing what it might really be like to live it a world where some people have super powers. It does this not by focusing on the heroes and villains, but on the folks with lesser powers. But it’s not all “I wish I had a cooler power and people liked me” angst (although there is some of that). It’s about friendship, about the dangers of seeing things as black and white. It’s also an action packed romp that’s a whole lot of fun.
But wait, there’s more!
Playing for Keeps was first release as a serialized podcast (in both audio and PDF form). The unabridged audio version is available from Podiobooks.com where it currently has five star ratings across the boards. This is how I consumed the book, and I recommend you check it out.
The Theme Song (now with video)
The audio version also featured the books theme song, written and performed by Beatnik Turtle. Mur recently held a contest where fans sent in video clips of themselves dancing, or lip syncing, or acting out a scene, or whatever to make a music video for the song. The results can be seen here.
Stories of the Third Wave
One of the most interesting thing that was done to promote the original podcast, was Stories of the Third Wave, a companion podcast featuring fan created content2 . For the print release Mur has started a new season of Stories of the Third Wave featuring short fiction and in-universe radio programs. You can get them all by subscribing to the feed at PlayingForKeepsNovel.com. So far it’s quite the line up:
- Easter Egg Commentary 1 — featuring the Easter Eggs originally hidden in the PDF version of the podcast
- Manic Mondays #169 — a PfK themed episode of Tom Rockwell’s Manic Mondays
- Super 107! — featuring Casey Shultz of SciFi Surplus and Natalie Metzger of Radio Isopod
- Geek Survival Guide — a PfK themed episode of Zach Ricks’ Geek Survival Guide
- Political Heroes — from Christopher Lester and Bryan Watson
- The News from Bewilder Pond — from Matthew Wayne Selznick
- Faith Matters — from Dr. John Cmar
- The Cockroach’s Bite — fiction from DK Thompson
- Conversations About Things With Wheels — from Joe Mieczkowski of On The Podcast
- LoveLines — a full cast program, produced by Kimi Alexandre
- Knit Spirit — a PfK themed episode of Ivy Reisner’s Knit Sprit
- Gestalt — fiction from JC Hutchins
- Block Party! — a PfK themed episode of Jason Block’s Block Party
- This Seventh City Life — from Christiana Ellis
- A Klamath Home Companion — from Grant Baciocco
Still Not Convinced?
- Technically the book is available right now due to the fact that Amazon listed the books when they arrived, but just ignore that. You can also ignore it if Amazon says “Out of Stock” because it’s practically meaningless. [↩]
- I contributed to Episode 6 [↩]
- This story is intended to bridge Playing for Keeps with it’s planned sequel [↩]