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"Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow Again" by Gabrielle Zevin - A Special Friendship Between Success and Failure in the Gaming Industry
Sadie and Sam. A gifted game developer duo, they inspired the entire gaming industry in the 90s and were celebrated by gamers worldwide. But they are not only a team professionally: since they met as children in a Los Angeles hospital, they have shared a special friendship and quickly realize that they share an enthusiasm for video games in general and Super Mario in particular. Gabrielle Zevin's novel Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow Again, which was published in 2023, tells the story of this friendship, with all its ups and downs.
After being out of touch since childhood due to a falling out, Sadie and Sam's paths cross again years later when they are both studying at Cambridge - Sam at Harvard and Sadie at MIT. Even after all this time, their passion for computer games hasn't cooled, and in their chance and brief encounter on the train platform, Sadie slips Sam a game she's programmed herself and asks her old friend for his opinion. Thrilled by Sadie's talent, Sam suggests they work together on a larger project. Without much expectation, the two of them plunge headlong into the development of their first joint game: Ichigo. They are supported on various levels by Sam's roommate Marx, who tries to make life easier for everyone, both in his friendship with Sam and with regard to the development project of the two friends, and becomes part of the team as a producer. The game proves to be their absolute breakthrough, they build an international community of enthusiastic fans and are able to establish themselves in the gaming scene.
"And that's the truth of any game - it only exists in the moment it's played. It's the same with acting. In the end, all we know is what game was played, in the only world we know."
During the ensuing period of success, the trio of Sam, Sadie and Marx not only face new challenges on a professional level, but the fronts between the friend:s also seem to harden on an interpersonal level. The founding of their joint company and their increasing fame are overshadowed by emotional and physical traumas and injuries. Sam, in particular, struggles with his past and withdraws further and further.
Sadie, on the other hand, struggles with jealousy as Sam, who becomes the poster boy for the company and the game, seems to take most of the credit, even though they were both equally involved in its development. But whether it's in meetings with larger corporations or in conversations with others in the scene, it once again becomes apparent that a woman has to assert herself more in a professional environment, especially in the tech industry. Finally, a severe stroke of fate puts a further strain on the relationship between the two friends and they seem to become increasingly estranged - until the question arises as to how and whether they can continue as friends and as a creative team.
The novel succeeds in drawing the reader completely into the plot by drawing multi-layered, dynamic characters that are impossible to penetrate at first glance, but whose life stories and experiences only gradually come together. The characters are confronted with real-life issues, with ventures, failures, setbacks, and successes - and so one feels along with Sadie and Sam in every situation. The time jumps between past and present gradually reveal why Sam has become the person he is today. The plot is rich with conflict, misunderstandings, and communication problems, which makes you as a reader:in to sympathize without clearly taking sides. This gives the novel a compelling and emotionally involving complexity.
"For demonstration purposes, Marx jumped on a kitchen chair and delivered the "Morning" speech. He knew it by heart.
And tomorrow again creeps in its short stride
From one day to the next, to the last letter
Letter of the time allotted to us,
And all our yesterdays fools
To the fashionable grave shone!""
Current issues such as feminism and cultural appropriation are also cleverly woven into the novel, adding further depth to the already complex plot in a pleasing way. The novel's particular dynamism is enhanced by the use of different perspectives in some chapters, allowing reader:s to immerse themselves in a computer game environment for a short time, for example.
"Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow Again" is, despite its 560 pages, a very entertaining novel that depicts the friendship of two very interesting and versatile characters in a true-to-life, emotional, melancholic way and with skillfully applied humor. Even if you are not familiar with gaming or pop culture, this novel is a great recommendation, as you embark on a wonderful journey through the decades of Sadie and Sam's lives - a life marked by creativity, daring, failure, loss, true friendship and above all: the love of video games.