Marie Lu’s New Book Packs a Videogame With Refreshing Heroes – WIRED
Sci-fi author Marie Lu sets her trilogies in shadowy realms, from a militarized police state (Legend) to a hunted secret society (The Young Elites). But as a former videogame designer for Disney Interactive Studios, Lu was conjuring up dark, fantastical worlds long before her books became best sellers. In Warcross, out this month, Lu embraces her gamer roots.
Marie Lu’s Work
Lu publishes her first dystopian young-adult novel. The trilogy sells 3 million copies.
2014: THE YOUNG ELITES
The series follows Adelina Amouteru, a pandemic survivor with godlike superpowers.
Lu illustrates the YA best seller, set in a space station at the edge of the galaxy.
Hacker-heroine Emika Chen battles dark forces in a dangerous videogame realm.
2018: BATMAN: Nightwalker
Lu unravels the superhero’s psyche in this YA spin on a DC Comics icon.
The novel is set in a global videogame controlled by a secretive tech CEO. Creating the immersive digital realm was a dream job for Lu, who infuses the Warcross universe with all the futuristic capabilities she longed for as a player. “I approached the writing process like a game studio with an infinite budget,” she says. Though the book takes inspiration from the insularity of Silicon Valley, Lu’s virtual world is low on bros—it features a rainbow-haired, Chinese American hacker-heroine, as well as disabled and gay characters.
Next up, the hit-maker is finishing a novel exploring the life of teenage Batman, scheduled to be published by Random House next year. For Lu, whose belief in righteous resistance was formed while growing up in China (she was 4 at the time of the Tiananmen Square protests), the project was a chance to inhabit the conflicted mind of the Dark Knight. “I love that Bruce Wayne is this nuanced character who literally lives in the shadows,” she says. “Now I can actually say, ‘I’m Batman.’”
Who: Marie Lu, YA sci-fi writer
Favorite Game: Journey. “It’s this sweeping ode to the vast unknown. I played it through twice and cried
Guilty Pleasure: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. “It’s so deliciously fun. I love the Renaissance Italy open world.”
Idol: Brian Jacques, the Redwall series. “I worshipped his work as a kid.”
Modern Hero: Sabaa Tahir, An Ember in the Ashes series. “Everything good fantasy should be: cinematic and epic.”
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