When reformed dream hacker Nix Nighthawk's sleep chip malfunctions, he is forced to seek help from a world he is trying to avoid - his old friends in the pirate dream network. But that world has changed, and Nix soon finds himself at the center of a complex plot to overthrow the vast corporation that controls every aspect of society. Betrayed by his lover, his friends, and even the technology that defines him, he has to choose: go back to living his safe and controlled existence, or be the hero and join forces with the revolutionary known only as The Somniscient.
©2016 Richard Levesque (P)2016 Richard Levesque
SI-FI at its best. I loved this book. The dystopian setting coupled with-tech gone amok was just the ticket to keep me glued to my ear phones. Steven Jay Cohen's narration was spot on clearly delineating the characters both male and female in a novel way. This book caught me from the very beginning, no warm up, just full speed excitement to the satisfying conclusion. I want more of this story line and I will definitely be looking for Steven Jay Cohen's work. In all honesty, I have not been this satisfied with an introduction with an author's work since I discovered Robert Silverberg. Thank you Richard Levesque.I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher but will gladly pay for more work of this caliber.
This narrator has such a calming voice! I found this audio book to be very easy to list to and really enjoyed it. The story is original and well thought out. I look forward to more.
“This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.”
The detail of the author (Richard Levesque) coupled with the extraordinary talent of Steven J Cohen's narration brings to life every emotion. An enjoyable read.
A reader of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and non-fiction Christian books. A reviewer for Audiobookboom.com
The Somniscient is a well-written gritty, futuristic, science fiction novel written by Richard Levesque and narrated by Steven Jay Cohen. The book places the reader in a future time where hard currency is no longer exchanged but instead replaced with sleep credits. These credits are not transferable from one person to another like cash, but the credits and their flow are controlled by a large corporation that knows everything about nearly everyone; think Google or Facebook. People work so they can earn the privilege of sleeping or have leisure time, all the while the corporation is deducting credit after credit for ones use of resources such as lighting, air, electricity, etc. All the while people are becoming more indebted to the company. It makes for a very grim and unpleasant world, however many of the people in the book grew up knowing nothing but this reality, and when they get a taste of what the world should be the story unravels.
People are tied into the corporation and all other aspects of the world via a “loop” that is surgically implanted behind the ear. This technology allows the wearer to view their credit status, receive map data, augmented reality, get paid by the company, communicate with other looped users, etc. This of a heads-up display projected on the user’s eye from within. One can also buy any number of items from clothing, food, and even dreams produced by the corporation; and others approved by the corporation. Dreams in this world are made available like videos are on YouTube. People can even make a living by recording and posting their dreams for others to watch. As with anything else in this world, the corporation takes a cut of the profits.
Things get interesting when one of the characters locates and plays a rogue (non-corporation sanctioned) dream opening a who new world and ideas not controlled by the corporation. This starts a chain reaction of events leading people to revolt against the company and the discovery of many dark secrets still yet to be uncovered.
The book was very interesting and I liked the author’s descriptive writing as it permitted me to feel like I was a part of the world. Although it was placed in a future time, it was not overly futuristic and often seemed plausible with some of today’s technology. If not today, the items people add to their social networks will be used by the corporation when the time comes. Today’s social networks are more a means of collecting data to imprison people when the time comes. The book is not only for science fiction fans, but includes a fair amount of action, mystery, clandestine activities, etc. that nearly anyone can enjoy it.
I must give the author credit for not using foul language in a book that could have been filled with it. I do not remember a single vulgar word being used, however I could have missed one. I will say that I would not recommend the book to younger audiences as there are some scenes containing discussions of sex, and sexual topics. Again, the author does not focus on these parts, but I believed uses them to portray the world the characters live in. It was more dark and gritty like The Fifth Element.
The book’s audio narration was done by Steven Jay Cohen. He has narrated over 20 books covering several genres on audible at the time of this review. I have not listened to any of his other works, but I have had “Strictly Analog” in my wish list for a future listen; same author and narrator as this book. Most people have rated his other narrations works by Steven between four and five stars, and that is where I would rate the narration for this book; four stars. It was by not bad, in fact very professionally done, but I have also listened to some narrators that were better. I listened to the audiobook at 1.5 times normal speed as I felt the pace of reading was a bit slower than I enjoy listening at. The audio itself was clean and contained no noticeable artifacts or errors. Audio volume and character voicing was consistent throughout the book.
Overall I would say this book as a hidden gem that people should pick up and read. It is engaging, felt believable, and contained a number of twists and turns to keep it interesting.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.
“The Somniscient ” is a very interesting science fiction story that depicts a world taken over by technology in a way that enslaves human beings without them even realizing it. Corporations are the slave masters and people work not for money, but for sleep credits. Nix Nighthawk is a reformed dream hacker who gets caught up in a complex plot to take down a super powerful corporation that controls pretty much every aspect of modern society. I really enjoyed “The Somniscient, ” but I felt the story structure was a little unusual. Then after the book ends, the author gave some background information about his story that explained why the structure was unusual. It seems the novel was originally a short story that was expanded into a novel. I think you will be able to tell where he added on to the story, but I don’t think that will take away from your enjoyment of the story.
Finally, this audio book was provided by the author at no cost in exchange for an honest review courtesy of Audio Book Boom.
The snippet of description for this audiobook piqued my interest. I didn't get too far into it before I lost interest. It's not really my kind a story, but the narration is superb.
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”
I was offered a copy of this book in audio format from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.
The story takes place in a near future. Money has been vanquished and people are paid in "z's", being one Z equivalent to one hour of sleep. "Z's" are not only needed to pay all the essentials in life but also sleep time. Workers are sleep deprived and see how their credits decrease with any little action on their part. Some need to work harder without enough sleep just to be able to earn a couple of hours of rest. Switching from money to "z's" was initially done to give people more freedom but in the end they just became slaves.
Our phones and digital feed are substituted by the Crawl and head implants which provide a digital interface with the world. This technology made possible for people to share their dreams, and Enlightenment has the monopoly to sell them. There are some clandestine dreams, being the most notorious the ones produced by the called Somniscient, somebody that Enlightment would like to catch. Nix Nighthawk, an average programmer, gets accidentally involved in it, risking his life for something he does not even know. But there will be surprises for everybody in this book.
I loved the premises of this book. I have a soft spot for dystopian societies, and thinking how possible would be for ours to become something like that. They are social experiments, and I love it. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the technology in this world, and how people made use of it. In a way I found it similar to the use we give to our smartphones nowadays, but without the need of carrying and holding a device. I found weird though, the evolution of offices, with no desks in them, but I guess that since nobody had enough "z's" for any luxuries, and they did not need a desk, why bother with it.
I liked the characters in the book, but I would have appreciated to know a bit more about them. Each of them was correctly presented, but then things changed fast for us to be able to know more of them. This made it a bit difficult to connect to any of them. With the one we spend most time was Tabby, but her complacent nature prevented me from getting too attached to her.
There were several twists in this book, some expected, others not, but the whole story was greatly enjoyable, even though I am not 100% convinced about the end of the book. I just want to believe that there are many positive aspects in technology, but this story tells us that even though this is true, mankind is just too greedy to avoid spoiling it in the end. This is maybe why, even though I really liked this book, it left me with a bit of a bittersweet aftertaste.
Steven Jay Cohen did a good job transmitting the characters' emotions, their desperation. I found the narration though, a bit monotone, and I think the intelligibility and clarity could have been improved in postproduction. I just found it a bit dull and would have appreciated it to be a bit 'brighter'. For the rest, I found no issues or artifacts. It was a job well done.
I am very happy that Cohen has offered me this book, since I did not know about its existence, and now in hindsight I know I would have missed a masterpiece, which I consider at the same level as 'Brave New World' or 'Neuromancer'.
The book is filled with Science Fiction and a bit of Mystery and it covers technology that controls dreaming and sleeping.
In this world, the reward for being productive is the ability to sleep and dream which is seen as a form of entertainment.
Overall, a very thought provoking book.
If you are a science fiction buff, than, this book is for you and I highly recommend it.
Steven Jay Cohen did well with the narration.
"This audio book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review."
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