man with face mask separated from head

“Grounders” by Jon McGoran

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Munroe is growing weary of his job, and who can blame him? He has the task of keeping tabs on how long people keep themselves in the Game. The longer they stay online, the less capable they are of controlling their avatars, or even their body, which waits for the mind to return topside before it’s too late. Munroe has had some strange encounters when someone has been in the game for hours on end, but nothing so strange as the man who has maintained a perfectly lucid avatar for five straight days. This man has a secret, and Munroe’s job just became a little more interesting.


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About the Author
Jon McGoran is the author of the Doyle Carrick thrillers Drift, Deadout, Dust Up, and the novella Down to Zero, from Tor/Forge Books, as well as the forthcoming YA science fiction thriller Chimerica, from Holiday House. Writing as D. H. Dublin, McGoran is the author of the forensic thrillers Body Trace, Blood Poison, and Freezer Burn. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies. Find him at,, or at
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