Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow | Gabrielle Zevin

Summary of: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A novel
By: Gabrielle Zevin

Introduction

In Gabrielle Zevin’s novel ‘Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow’, readers are immersed into the world of video game creation and the unique bond that forms between Sam Masur and Sadie Green. The story follows their journey from being two kids meeting by chance in a hospital to becoming successful co-founders of the gaming studio, Unfair Games. The novel intelligently weaves complex topics such as identity politics, trauma, ableism, and misogyny into the narrative, using the medium of gaming as an exploratory lens. As you delve into the summary, expect to encounter the highs and lows of their friendship, the history and principles of contemporary game design, and thought-provoking questions on creativity and its intersection with identity.

A Meaningful Collaboration

In Gabrielle Zevin’s novel, two kids meet in a hospital games room and start an unlikely friendship. Sam, who has closed himself off after a car accident, finds comfort in video games and mazes, which seems familiar to Sadie. They grow closer, but a misunderstanding leads to their separation until years later they reconnect and start working together on video games. Despite professional and personal struggles, their collaboration brings out the best in each other, and their friendship becomes a rare and meaningful partnership. In the end, they realize that, as true collaborators, they are greater than the sum of their parts.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow: A Tale of Second Chances

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow tells the story of Sam and Sadie’s decades-long relationship, which began with a chance encounter in a subway station. The novel explores the themes of luck and second chances, both in the world of gaming and in real life. Their childhood games are a metaphor for life where second chances are not guaranteed, and the consequences of choices and missed opportunities are explored. The title of the book, taken from Macbeth, hints at the infinite possibilities of the gaming world versus the finite chances in real life.

Gaming and Society

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is an eye-opening novel that sheds light on different aspects of society through the gaming industry. It addresses issues such as identity politics, trauma, ableism, and misogyny, revealing the power that video games hold in portraying social and personal dilemmas in an appealing way.

In this novel, the protagonist, Sam, is introduced as an eleven-year-old boy who is disabled and often in pain as a result of a car accident. The games he plays in the hospital waiting room are much more than just escapes from reality. They serve as a medium through which he can work through his trauma and connect with the outside world again, especially when playing with his friend, Sadie. Later in life, when Sam becomes a game designer, he creates characters who perform dazzling physical feats, giving him an escape from his unreliable body. Additionally, he insists on making Alice Ma, the protagonist of his game, disabled, breaking the stereotype that able-bodied people convey.

On the other hand, Sadie, being a female game designer in a male-dominated industry, has to face continuous misogyny. She has a relationship with her older male tutor, but rumors circulate that she leveraged that relationship for professional success, causing her to pay a larger professional price. Despite this, both Sam and Sadie strive to create games that are inclusive and diverse, such as Mapletown, where same-sex marriages are legally recognized and Ichigo, the genderless character with the pronouns they/them, becomes the protagonist of their first game, marking a groundbreaking moment for non-binary representation in video games.

However, even with the staggering success of Ichigo, Sadie wonders if such a game would be approved in this current climate of exclusion. She recognizes the need for authentic representation in gaming but questions whether the current cultural climate limits creative experimentation and risk-taking.

Sam also raises the issue of cultural appropriation in the gaming industry during his interview with a gaming magazine. He emphasizes that the alternative to appropriation is a world where creators can only draw on their own cultures. With blended cultures, Sam mulls over what room artificial creativity has for a person like him.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow stays true to its name, as it explores the importance and unresolved question of how identity politics should play a part in creativity. Nonetheless, the power of gaming in depicting social dilemmas and building inclusive, diverse, and meaningful spaces for players of all backgrounds is undeniable.

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