Over at the Washington Post, Paul Di Filippo has some nice things to say about 88 Names:
Ruff presents his story in John Chu’s first-person voice, and the creation of this engaging, engrossing persona is his first major achievement… [Chu’s] relationships with his crew, with Darla, with his dad, and above all with his brilliant, ruthless mother, offer the reader a chance to savor a kind of well-done family drama… Ruff’s second major victory is in making the reader care about virtual reality. Whenever a novel plunges too deeply into this kind of artificial turf, it risks losing the reader’s interest because of a lack of sensory grounding and the notion that when anything can happen, nothing matters. Ruff overcomes this by making his adventures fashioned from electrons and bytes read as authentically as any naturalism… Ruff’s fast-flowing, fascinating narrative is full of amusing topical and pop culture referents without being overburdened by allusiveness. His witty, often snarky dialogue crackles, and every aspect of the gaming experience—which Ruff has been immersed in for 40 years—is sharply rendered and explicated… Any novel that can bridge these disparate worlds and appeal to gamers and literary fans alike is a treasure greater than the loot in a cyber-dragon’s cave.
Full review here.