Zimmermit.moe has an article up on Jimbocho - the place you go when instead of picking up anime and manga stuff, you want to pick up a whole bunch of books. I kind of admit, while I don't read a word of Japanese in any alphabet, I'd be tempted to just go in there, peruse the SF section and look at the covers, because Japanese SF book covers are pretty fun.
For example, here's the Japanese cover of the second half of A Clash of Kings, featuring Sansa Stark on the cover. (Sblocked for size, not content)
In this very interesting alternate take on a genre like Sword Art Online, our main character Kanata is sent an invite account for a popular VRMMO Alt Atlas - from someone he hasn't been in contact with for years, Hinaka. Last he heard, she'd been hospitalized for a chronic illness, but that was 3 years ago!
The good news is, yes, Hinaka's playing the game and quite happy to see him again.
Bad news - the account generated a female avvie for our MC.
Worse news - Hinaka claims that she has not been able to log off for quite a long time now; she's been in the game for perhaps years; every time she tries to log out she simply respawns. Now that's odd.
Even worse news - As Kanata's trying to figure out the problem, both suddenly find themselves in IRL meatspace - as their avatars!
And they're not the only ones. They quickly see that anyone logged on to Alt Atlas at the time is also affected. The local city is now an Alt Atlas location, a final parting gift from the CEO of the game's developing company, who died just a couple of days ago.
As part of this event, logout has been disabled - to the extent that "pulling the plug" on a VR kit won't wake the player. Yeah - they tried. All it does is make the player's avatar disappear until the VR kit is reconnected. All players have no choice but to live their normal lives as their in-game avatars. Good thing this isn't lethal.
The players came to be known as "Holos".
While this isn't Sword Art Online and in-game deaths are temporary, there are catches to living as a Holo, aside from being constantly seen as your in-game avatar.
Holos can see the real world - but their ability to interact with reality is limited. For example, they can't even sleep in their own bed. They need to use a cash shop item called "bed"! At least virtual dungeons spawn so they can earn the necessary funds to, y'know, live - and anyone who's lucky enough to still be "awake" can't be affected by game elements (although walking into a virtual dungeon is still harrowing).
The only way to end this event? Find the well hidden admin password seeded somewhere in the city, and take control of Alt Atlas. Since this isn't immediately achievable, we now have a society that is slowly becoming accustomed to having half the population be Holo, juggling IRL responsibilities with earning necessary in-game currency.
There's still one outstanding issue tho - the real bodies of all registered in-game avatars have been placed under government national protection, with constant nutrition provided to ensure no one actually dies as a result of remaining a Holo. But Hinaka's real body is not in the government's name list at all - it wasn't at the hospital on that fateful night...