The supercenter is a massive all-purpose department store, whose inhabitants live in the store and never see the outside. Some of them have spent their whole lives there, which is pretty depressing to think about. I try to spend as little time in Wal-Mart as humanly possible. G.E., named after the company, and his sister Nestle(seeing a pattern here) are life-long inhabitants of the Supercenter. G.E. is a star in the siege arena, a high tech video game that simulates real life combat. He is under the belief that his people are at war with Schwags, fighting at the planet Pepsicon—until he leaves the Supercenter and finds out otherwise.
I had a hard time getting into Supercenter at first because the story seemed so absurd. The concept of the war was silly. They were supposedly fighting against hippy types who rebelled against commercialism and fighting it out on some foreign planet. The information didn’t jive with other pieces of information in the story. The moment of clarity for me came when I realized that G.E. was an unreliable narrator, because he had been fed misinformation his whole life. In actuality there was a civil war going on in the country, and the Supercenter was being used by the government to breed soldiers and create weaponry. There was a lot of complexity in this story, and it was far more than it initially seemed. The reality of what the government and military were doing to these kids was pretty cruel. The way that they were preparing them for war would lead them to certain death, because a simulated video game can no way prepare someone for the horrors of actual combat. In the end, this was an enjoyable novel that fans of science fiction will enjoy.
Carl Alves - author of Reconquest: Mother Earth