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Halfskin | [Tony Bertauski]

Halfskin

Biomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body. No more kidney failure, severed spines, blood disease or cancer. Pharmaceuticals become obsolete. With each dose of biomites, we become stronger, we become smarter, prettier... and better. At what point are we no longer human? Nix Richards nearly died in a car accident when he was young. Biomites saved his life. Ten years later, he's not so lucky. The Halfskin Laws decree a human composed of 50% biomites is no longer human.
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Publisher's Summary

Biomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body. No more kidney failure, no severed spines or blood disease. No cancer. Pharmaceuticals become obsolete. With each dose of biomites, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier.

We become better. At what point are we no longer human?

Nix Richards nearly died in a car accident when he was young. Biomites saved his life. Ten years later, he's not so lucky. The Halfskin Laws decree a human composed of 50% biomites is no longer human. Halfskins have no legal rights and will have their biomites shutdown. It's not called murder, merely deactivation.

Cali Richards has been Nix's legal guardian since their parents died. She has lost far too many people in her life to let the government take Nix. She is a nanobiometric engineer and will discover how to hide him. But even brilliance can succumb to the pressure of suffering. And technology can't cure insanity.

Cali and Nix keep a slippery grip on reality as they elude a maniacal federal agent dedicated to saving humanity from what he calls "The Biomite Plague"?

©2013 Tony Bertauski (P)2013 Tony Bertauski

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  •  
    med c 12-11-14
    med c 12-11-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Halfskin"
    Any additional comments?

    An interesting, believable premise. A well paced, easy audiobook to listen to. A lot of unanswered questions,. I wish the ending was better.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valeria 08-22-14
    Valeria 08-22-14 Member Since 2014

    The Mad Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting and Thought Provoking"

    The plot of this story is very original. I mean I’ve read other books which deal with genetics but not quite as this book does. Basically the story takes place in a future where science has evolved in such a way they’ve created synthetic cells called biomites. The only problem is they reproduce so fast they take over everything organic so when people reach 50% of biomites they shut them down.

    I liked that it raised so many moral questions which really border on a line. It’s not black and white. We could really be discussing this subject for a while so why don’t you read the book and we can discuss it later? But honestly, I love thought provoking books as this one. Plus, the world building is amazing. It feels like a plausible future, so it was easy to get sucked into the tale.

    There were some weird stuff though, or maybe unresolved. Like this fantasy world Nix’s created or maybe it was real? The plot is definitely unfinished and I’m really hoping to get all my answers in the next book.

    As real as the world was, the characters were very human. So imperfect and driven by emotion. It’s so easy to understand what motivates them. They are so flawed it’s beautiful.

    I loved Nix and Cali. They were such an amazing team and have gone through so much. Seriously, can a single person endure so much pain in one life? But nevertheless they kept going, kept fighting, and that is what’s so brilliant about them.

    I also liked Marcus Anderson. As a character that is, not as a person. He is the perfect villain, but you can see the human in him. Very creepy guy though, just despicable, which made him an excellent character. The best thing about him is that in his mind he was the actual hero, the only with pants enough to do what’s right.

    The story’s point of view was alternately Cali and Nix’s, but some time it added some data collected from the Mother database, which was this machine who controlled everyone. Even if those excerpts did add to the story, it was weird for an audiobook narrative. The way you follow a story when you read is different when you listen, you need to be more attentive. So even if I loved this story, for the way it was written maybe it wasn’t as suitable for an audiobook.

    Overall, it was an excellent read. I think I’d read rather than listen the next book, but will be keeping an eye out for it. I only wished the author would redo this cover though. It is horrible, scary and creepy! Drives people away from this great story.

    Despite my statement above, I think the narrator did a pretty good job. He got the voices right, man and woman, even Mother (the machine). But I thought he did Avery, Cali’s daughter, sound sooo annoying when in fact she was a very sweet girl, and he spoke too loudly at the microphone sometimes. I get that he had to emphasis sometimes, but please, there are people listening to this with headphones. It wasn’t good to turn up and down the volume all the time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Owens Music City, USA 03-29-15
    Barry Owens Music City, USA 03-29-15 Member Since 2015

    I love to read and working on my first book. Maybe it will be on Audible someday.

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    "I didn't like the way this book ended!"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I don't mind cliff hangers in a book that set up the next book in the series, but this one left me totally hanging having resolved nothing. There was no sense of closure for this book. Lots of questions but no answers1


    Would you be willing to try another book from Tony Bertauski? Why or why not?

    I might be willing to listen to another book, but if the next one ends as badly as this one did, I doubt there will be a third book of his that I read or listen to.


    Was Halfskin worth the listening time?

    Yes and no! I was not at all crazy about this book. I would most likely return it but I received it for free from the narrator (who was the one saving grace for this audio book). I don't think it was a fair first book to listen to of David Dietz because the material he had to work with with was not all that good.


    Any additional comments?

    My chief complaint about David Dietz's narration is that he use the same voice for multiple characters. The only reason he got away with it was because the characters never spoke to each other so it was not difficult to tell who was doing the talking. Personally, I would rather narrators use no different voices at all and just read what the characters are saying to each other, but that is just a personal preference.

    I received this book from the narrator in exchange for an honest review!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amiesbookreviews 03-28-15 Member Since 2014

    I am an avid reader and an avid and enthusiastic reviewer of both books and audiobooks. Check out my blog amiesbookreviews.wordpress. com

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A terrifyingly realistic vision of humanity's futu"

    HALFSKIN

    Author: Tony Bertauski

    Type of Book: Audiobook - Unabridged

    Narrator: David W. Dietz

    Length: 7 hours, 31 minutes

    Genre: Science Fiction

    Release Date: May 20, 2013

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    * I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

    Biomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body.

    Nix Richards nearly died in a car accident when he was a young child. He was seeded with Biomites and they saved his life.

    Imagine being able to cure any disease, even cancer. Imagine having the ability to recover from any injury. What an incredible boon to mankind.

    However, there are always those who will oppose any medical advancement as an affront - either against God or against mankind.

    The government decides that anyone with 50% Biomites are no longer human. At 40% you are "detained and observed" at 50% they shut you off.

    When Nix is detained his sister, Callie, a brilliant biomite researcher is determined to find a way to save him.

    Meanwhile a religious fanatic who happens to be a federal agent is equally determined to shut Nix down forever.

    This book is brilliantly written and is so realistic that readers cannot help but see this as an inevitable invention. There is the perfect amount of tension and suspense. The author has done an incredible job of detailing the difference of opinion between those who want to use any technology necessary to prolong human life and those that believe that any tampering is going against God's will. It brings to mind the belief of some religious groups that exist today who would rather let their child die than to allow a life-saving blood transfusion.

    This book will stay with listeners long after the audiobook ends.

    Narrator David Dietz was the perfect choice for this book. His tone of voice and pacing was just right and he draws the listener into the story. He differentiates easily between characters and is able to convey emotions with ease.

    I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars and I am looking forward to listening to "Clay" which is the follow-up to this audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Gordon 03-12-15
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    "Good Premise but not enough follow thorough"
    Would you try another book from Tony Bertauski and/or David W. Dietz, III?

    I'm less likely to try another Bertauski book.


    What could Tony Bertauski have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    If the book explored more the machine vs. human aspect that may have made for a better book. The story was more about action than philosophy, and this one needed a little more of the later.


    What does David W. Dietz, III bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    For me having an audio book means more time is found for reading. I might not have tried this book if it wasn't an audio version. David Dietz gave me a free copy for an honest review, and I do appreciate that. I was disappointed in the story line, not with the narration.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I was disappointed with the story. I like the idea behind the story and some might think we humans are leading towards this, which is nanotechnology inside our body to fix where the biology goes wrong. In the book they call the tech biomites. And sometimes is isn't the biology that goes wrong, it's just someone wants to change something about their body, like maybe eye color. The book explores, perhaps and not very well, where is the line between human and machine. In the book they shut people down, i.e. kill, when they become half-skin, or have 50% biomites. There isn't any consideration on why a particular human was seeded with biomites, but once they do they seem to replicate, much like cancer. This, as a story was interesting.

    But there was something about the book, about the writing style that annoyed me. In the beginning it was the repetition of information. As the story went on it didn't seems so obvious, but still there was something about this book that just didn't work. The occasional drop in of someone else’s story maybe. Put there for some unknown purpose but didn't really help overall. The extra dreamland of the main character also seemed to have no real purpose. Perhaps these aspects made the story weaker.

    Also, I didn’t think the book ended well. It felt like the story wasn’t over. I get that authors do this to begin a series, get you hooked to keep reading. But I just read another book by a classic SF author, and it was also the first in a series as well and it didn't leave you hanging. It didn't resolve everything, of course, but there wasn't this huge obvious ploy to get to the next book. To me it's a sign of weak writing. The author can't trust the reader will stick around for the next book unless there's a big cliffhanger or nearly everything is unresolved.


    Any additional comments?

    When the character showed anger the volume on the recording got way too loud. And there were several spots where you could hear the puff into the microphone, which pulls you out of the story a little.

    Also, it's nice to have a chapter break at the end of the part. Sometimes the part ended in the middle of a chapter.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A 02-21-15
    A 02-21-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Halfskin- I nice treasure"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I received an audiobook credit to review this book and wow what a treasure this was. Tony Bertauski has created a new fan in me. The story pulled me in, to my surprise. As someone who proclaims “I’m not a fan of Sci-fi,” I enjoyed this book. The premise of biomites intrigued me. Artificial cells that heal the human body, cells that boost intelligence and correct defects. How far will the human condition go to find their definition of perfection? I truly enjoyed it and Tony took the story in directions I didn’t expect.

    The struggle between science and faith added another layer that kept me involved in Bertauski’s world.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The narration & production of this audiobook was nice but there were some issue with the editing. As footage was mixed there were noticeable jumps in volume. I’d give the production 3 stars because even though it was okay, the gaps were noticeable enough to distract from the story.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lance Frazon Bantam, CT United States 12-16-14
    Lance Frazon Bantam, CT United States 12-16-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Science Fiction mixed with real Life!"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The climax or twist is a little tough, although it feels real, just heart breaking!


    Would you recommend Halfskin to your friends? Why or why not?

    For Science Fiction readers who like a story that might be real, this is the story for you!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Khristopher M Decker 11-04-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Futuristic and Thought Provoking"

    This book surprised me in a good way! I was not sure from the title if it was going to be my kind of sci-fi (I tend to like the fantasy end of the genre). This story of human nature, scientific advancements, and the line between human and machine is timely. The news is full of stories about human genomes and robot guided surgery. While a fiction piece, the author has shown enough restraint that the descriptions in the book are quite imaginable. The character's motivations are each flawed and uniquely human and there are a couple of good plot twists I did not see coming. The book's pace is about right and keeps you wondering what will happen next. Overall, a good experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deedra United States 11-03-14
    Deedra United States 11-03-14 Member Since 2014

    I am at that half a century mark in years. I enjoy audiobooks,cats,rats and most days my family,not necessarily in that order!lol

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    "Halfskin"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes.Most of my friends like the science gone wrong kind of thing.


    Has Halfskin turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no


    Have you listened to any of David W. Dietz, III’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    yes.He does great voices aside from his 'screeching girls'...lol


    Did Halfskin inspire you to do anything?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    This book was ok.It is about what is really human in a world where 'biomites' can cure things but build up in the body making people without them uneasy.The narrator did a good job w/all the voices.He is a pleasure to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pemberley Proud 11-01-14
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    "Halfskin, All Heart"
    If you could sum up Halfskin in three words, what would they be?

    Great sci-fi choice.


    Any additional comments?

    Disclaimer: I received this audio book through the narrator's call via GoodReads for listeners in exchange for an honest review of the narration. This review will remain spoiler-free -- please read the book blurb and other well-written reviews here at GoodReads if you would like plot summary information.

    Honestly, I tend to shy away from sci-fi -- in terms of fantasy/futuristic fiction, I gravitate to dystopian societies, focusing more on future societies and the proverbial "Big Brother" and less on science and technology.

    With that understanding, one should never say "never".

    In terms of the audio book version of this story, the book is about seven and a half hours long and the narrator, David W Dietz III, performed well. His different voices were clear and identifiable, there was no errant background noise to distract, the pauses and pace was good.

    In terms of the story itself... Wow! An interesting proposition for philosophical discussions. A seemingly plausible imaginary (hope it remains that way) scheme for human "evolution". As I listened to the story, I cannot comment on editing needs, but the story line, the three alternating POVs, the pace of reveals, the character development, the passage from reality to illusion and back and from present to past/memory and back again all flowed well.

    The only drawback I found was the last 5 minutes, confusing and not seeming necessary for the story. For the most part, opened questions are resolved, the reader knows how and why the "bad" guy won't pursue our brother & sister heros, but the purpose of the final couple pages - relating to real world vs imaginary -- eludes me. Quite possibly, this is the hook for a next book (Clay), though not a cliff hanger, just info that clearly states that this is not truly where the story ends.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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