Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett.
HarperCollins Publishers: NY, 2004.
First edition 1992.

I would guess this has to be one of the first stories to have the character living a computer game. Johnny, when playing the game Only You Can Save Mankind, is contacted by the leader of the aliens/enemy. Their leader surrenders and requests safe passage to their home. While it is a game to Johnny and his friends, the aliens are dying for real. The dilemma results in many sleepless nights for Johnny, odd conversations with his friends, wrestling with his conscience, and new friends.

The book was written during the Gulf War, a time when there was daily TV coverage of bombings for the first time. No carnage was shown; it looked like a video game. This story is a reminder that the killing is real, that it isn't a weakness to want to avoid bloodshed, whether it is of foreigners or aliens. Pratchett twists a serious subject into a quirky and compelling plot. It is a good story, with important commentary, but without beating the reader over the head with the message.

related-computer games, war, conduct of life, sci fi
RL=4th & up, publisher says ages 8 and up

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