Minecraft: The Island is in bookstores today!

Read the excerpt of the first Minecraft novel!

Our very first Minecraft novel is out today! It's called Minecraft: The Island and is written by world famous mega-author Max Brooks, who you may know as the author of the brilliant fictional history of the zombie apocalypse, World War Z. The Island is quite a lot cheerier, however, but no less dramatic. It's a castaway story in the vein of Robinson Crusoe - our protagonist waking up alone, off the shores of a strange land, forced into a struggle to understand the rules of this new world, to survive its perils and thrive!

It's a pretty clever piece of work - on the one hand it's a gripping tale of adventure, and on the other a meticulous guide to Minecraft itself. And then, on the mysterious third hand that I somehow now have, it's also a guide to life itself! No, really. Max was so inspired by the many hundreds of hours he'd spent in Minecraft that he wrote a book secretly all about how the game's lessons can turn you into a better person.

I was lucky enough to talk to Max all about the book and, among other things, fertilizer a few weeks back - you can read that here. Or just skip straight below and read this excerpt from the first chapter of the book!

You can order the book here or find it in bookshops today!

CHAPTER 1: NEVER GIVE UP

Drowning!

I woke up underwater, deep underwater, and this was my first conscious thought. Cold. Dark. Where was the surface? I kicked in all directions, trying to find my way up. I twisted and turned, and then I saw it: A light. Dim, pale, and far away.

Instinctively I shot for it, and quickly noticed that the water around me was growingbrighter. That had to be the surface, the sun.

But how could the sun be… square? I must be seeing things. Maybe some trick of the water.

Who cares! How much air do I have left? Just get to it. Swim!

My lungs ballooned, little bubbles escaping from my lips, racing me for the distant light. I kicked and clawed the water like a caged animal. Now I could see it, a ceiling of ripples coming closer with each desperate stroke. Closer, but still so far away. My body ached, my lungs burned.

Swim! SWIM!

CRACK!

My body writhed as a sudden jolt of pain shot from toes to eyes. My mouth opened in a choked scream. I reached for the glow, grabbing for breath, for life.

I exploded into the cool, clean air.

I coughed. I choked. I wheezed. I laughed.

Breathing.

For a moment, I just savored the experience, closing my eyes and letting the sun warm my face. But when I opened my eyes, I couldn’t believe them. The sun was square! I blinked hard. The clouds too? Instead of round puffy cotton balls, these thin, rectangular objects floated lazily above me.

You’re still seeing things, I thought. You hit your head when you fell off the boat and now you’re a little dazed.

But did I fall off a boat? I couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember anything, in fact; how I got here, or even where ‘here’ was.

“Help me!” I shouted, scanning the horizon for a ship or a plane or even a speck of land.

“Please, somebody! Anybody! HELP!” All I got was silence. All I could see was water and sky.

I was alone.

Almost.

Something splashed inches from my face, a flash of tentacles and a thick, black and greyish head.

I yelped, kicking backward. It looked like a squid, but square like everything else in this strange place. The tentacles turned to me, opening wide. I gazed right into a yawning, red mouth ringed with white razor teeth.

“Get outta here!” I hollered. Mouth dry, heart pounding, I splashed clumsily away from the creature. I didn’t have to. At that moment, the tentacles closed, blasting the squid in the other direction.

I floated there, frozen, treading water for a few seconds, before the animal disappeared into the deep. That’s when I let out a long, throaty, tension-draining “ughhh.”

I took another deep breath, then another, then a whole lot more. Finally, my heart settled down, my limbs stopped jerking, and, for the first time since I woke up, my brain switched on.

“Okay,” I said aloud. “You’re way out in a lake or ocean or whatever. No one’s coming to save you, and you can’t tread water forever.”

I did a slow, 360-degree turn, hoping to see some thread of coastline I’d missed before. Nothing. In desperation I tried one last scan of the sky. No planes, not even a thin white trail. What sky doesn’t have those trails? One with a square sun and rectangle clouds.

The clouds.

I noticed they were all moving steadily in one direction, away from the rising sun. Due west.

“As good as any,” I said, giving another deep sigh, and started swimming slowly west.

It wasn’t much to go on, but I figured the wind might help me along a little bit, or at least wouldn’t slow me down. And if I went north or south, the breeze might slowly blow me in an arc so I’d end up swimming in circles. I didn’t know if that was really true. I still don’t. I mean, c’mon, I’d just woken up, probably with some kind of massive head injury, at the bottom of an ocean, and was trying really, really hard not to end up back there.

Just keep going, I told myself. Focus on what’s ahead. I began to notice how weird my ‘swimming’ was; not the stroke, pause, stroke motion, but more like gliding across the water with my limbs along for the ride.

Head injury, I thought, trying not to imagine how serious that injury might be.

One good thing, I noticed, was that I didn’t seem to be getting tired. Isn’t swimming supposed to be exhausting? Don’t your muscles burn and quit after a while? Adrenaline, I thought, and tried not to imagine that emergency gas tank running out.

But it would. Sooner or later, I’d lose steam, cramp up, go from swimming to treading water, then from treading water to floating. Of course, I’d try to rest, bobbing up and down to conserve energy, but how long could I keep that up? How long before the cold of the water finally got to me? How long before, teeth chattering, body shivering, I finally sank back down into the darkness?

“Not yet!” I blurted out. “I’m not giving up yet!”

Shouting out loud was enough to perk me up. “Keep focused! Keep going!”

And I did. I kept swimming with all my might. I also tried to be uber aware of my surroundings. Hopefully I would spot the mast of a ship or the shadow of a helicopter, but at the very least, it would take my mind off my current predicament!

I noticed that the water was calm, and this gave me something to feel good about. No waves meant no resistance, which meant I could swim farther, right? I also noticed that the water was fresh, not salty, which meant that I had to be in a lake instead of an ocean, and lakes are smaller than oceans. Okay, a big lake is just as dangerous as an ocean, but c’mon, you got a problem with me trying to look on the bright side?

I also noticed that I could see the bottom. It was deep—don’t get me wrong, you could sink a pretty decent office building and never see the top—but it wasn’t bottomless like the ocean is supposed to be. I could also see it wasn’t level. There were tons of little valleys and hills.

That was when, off to my right, I noticed that one of the hills had grown so tall that its top disappeared beyond the horizon. Did it break the surface? I turned north, northwest, I guess, and swam in a straight line for the hill.

And before I knew it, the hill grew into an underwater mountain. And a few seconds later, I actually thought I saw its top sprout above the water.

That’s gotta be land, I thought, trying not to get my hopes up. It could be a mirage though, a trick of the light or some mist or…

That’s when I saw the tree. At least I thought it was a tree, because, from that distance, all I could make out a dark green angular mass perched atop a dark brown line.

Excitement propelled me like a torpedo. Eyes locked forward, I soon saw other trees dotting a tan beach. And then, suddenly, the green-brown slope of a hill.

“Land!” I shouted. “LAAAND!”

What's next? You'll have to get the book yourself to find out! You can order the book here or find it in bookshops today!