Justin Cord is the only unincorporated man in the world, a true stranger in this strange land. Justin survived because he is tough and smart. He cannot accept only part ownership of himself, even if that places him in conflict with a civilization that extends outside the solar system to the Oort Cloud. People will be arguing about this novel and this world for decades.
©2009 Dani and Eytan Kollin; (P)2009 Tantor
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
The authors had a compelling premise here, but spoiled it by imposing a good versus evil showdown on top of what could have been a fascinating moral issue.
The protagonist wakes up in world where everyone is incorporated at birth, and where they own less than a majority of their own stock. Our hero is startled at the perceived lack of liberty that these people have, though it is pointed out to him again and again that this system eliminated poverty and war, creating an overall quality of life that is much better for everyone on average.
If the book had taken time to let the readers explore the pros and cons of this new system, and make up their own minds about it's validity and morality, then this could have been a great book. Instead, we are immediately confronted with a too-evil bad guy who ends up representing all of incorporation (metaphorically and literally). Because he is such an evil jerk, we, as readers, are forced to align ourselves against him, in spite of the fact that his arguments are extremely convincing. We are told what to think instead of letting us make up our own minds.
The writing feels pretty amateurish in that the protagonist is way too smart/prescient at the beginning, though that seems to taper off steeply as the story progresses. There are other places where the writing is half-baked: entire plot lines, which seem vital to the story, are abandoned completely. Also, their is this really contrived will-they/won't-they romance based on a ridiculously unbelievable and artificial taboo. This taboo seems sacrosanct until it is broken, at which point everyone important acts like it is no big deal at all--totally inconsistent.
The authors did paint an interesting picture of future society and technology, which is largely why I've given them 3 stars instead of just 2.
Ultimately I'm left unsatisfied with this book, largely because I was very swayed by the pro-incorporation arguments, and the anti-incorporation argument really boiled down to feelings, rather than any articulated points against it.
Avid listener of SciFi and Fantacy.
This book brings us to a world that looks like the best of our possible futures from now with one glaring exception. Everyone in this world is personally incorporated. That means that everyone has stock in themselves and it can be bought and sold like any other stock. 5% of your stock goes to the government, and 20% goes to your parents. The governments stock can never be sold or increased. I would say that the 5% is basically a 5% flat tax but in this world TAX is the most foul of words. All of the rest of your stock is yours to do with as you please, of course if you want to go to school the school will expect a percentage of you, and so will pretty much anyone or anything you want. And the real kicker is that when you give up 51% of Personal Corporation then the shareholder can call a vote for anything you want to do, after all they have a vested interest in making sure you make as much money and stay as safe as possible. Want to go sky diving, we don’t think so, want to take leave to see friends or family, well that’s fine but we will tell you when it would be best for us not for you. The system seems to work well and one character, the man villain of the piece, even gives a rather compelling argument for why it’s better than our system. I really did like this book but you can tell just from this description and the title what happens next. Into this perfect system come one man who has very incorporated, the rest is inevitable. I could have told you what was going to happen at virtually any stage in the book. There was one twist with AI’s in the web but that seems to have been a tangent that was never followed up on. I don’t want to give anything away because I do recommend it to anyone who likes sci-fi and alternate realities/futures but if you find yourself putting pieces together very early in the book, don’t look for unexpected twists or turns, you probably guessed right the first time. TTFN
I found this story very well done. The author wrote it in such a way as to make you think that the story is very predictable, but then all of a sudden he takes you in a very different direction. He also does it in such a way so that when you look back at the story it all fits. He doesn't just throw things in. He really does a good job of it. Another thing done well is the construction of the world in which he places you. It is very believable and hopefully in the not to distant future some of the tech described will come about. Lastly the description of the political environment will and should provide many hours of thought and discussion for those interested in such things. And I would highly recommend it as a good read for a political science class to stimulate discussion.
I absolutely love the story in this, the pacing. The second book, The Unincorporated War is a completely different style, but they all tie in so beautifully. I love this book and I have been suggesting it to family and friends big time ever since.
The performance is fantastic. Todd McLaren did Halo: Fall of Reach as well and is fantastic.
Whether you like philosophy, sci-fi, or just a damn good story, you should check out this entire series.
I typically listen to about a half dozen sci-fi audio books a year but for some reason this one stands out as the most memorable in about 2 years. The basics have been covered well in sci-fi with the exception of the economic strain of individual incorporation and what happens when you have a disruptive agent. It worked for me. I also enjoyed to subplot related to the AI agents in the cloud associated with individuals through the use of ipads of the future.
I found this book to be fun, original, and a quick listen. I found myself making time to listen because it was so enjoyable. The reader is good, and the writing is fantastic. I will definitely purchase another book written by this team! I loved the concept and the world they built. I can't wait to listen to the 2nd book and hope to see many more from these guys. Overall, a raging success and a book I could recommend to friends and to my family.
I got started reading science fiction when the only SF available was science extrapolated beyond science but still plausible with real characters, action and humor that was so close to science fact that one could really "see" the plausibility of the constuct. That was before anything "social" or pertaining to society was considered of the sciences.
This book has taken the social sciences and extrapolated from them some very plausible possibilities that with the characters, action and humor, present an excellent story well worth investing time and dollars into.
I rated this a full five stars and that is something I very rarely do. It broadened my scope and understanding of an aspect of society by compairing it to another very interesting possibility. It is an enjoyable excercise in expanding concepts.
But, there is yet more! Some of the physical "hardware" the characters interact with expands beyond sliding doors and adds to the SF aspect of the story without going so far as beaming people from place to place. When a story goes too far beyond reality, it should be classed as science fantasy. I have read some good science fantasy and don't distain it. I just would like it to be labeled as such.
There are some plot holes and the writing style isn't great but I really enjoyed the concepts. The authors have inspiring imaginations.
I wanted to finish this book, and I will, but I'll actually read it. The concept of this novel is fresh (even if the dialogue is a bit stilted) but the voice actor (Todd McLaren) completely ruins it for me. His intonations are so over the top as to almost sound like he's mocking audio books in general. Get the novel, forget the audiobook.
The basic premise is an interesting one; humans as corporations. But it's handled so poorly here that one wonders why the attempt was even made. The authors seem to be trying to make some kind of statement about the nature of corporations, yet they get basic details wrong, and the scenario is so far-fetched it's hard to see how one could extract any meaningful comparison to our own society.
These would be quibbles if the story and characters themselves were interesting, but alas we're treated to an endless array of cardboard cutouts. One soldiers through, hoping to find a story taking wing, but instead all one gets is an endless parade of one-dimensional, unbelievable characters. The villain might as well be twirling a waxed mustache, and an attempted love interest subplot is ruined by hackneyed attempts at foreshadowing.
This is one stock to be dumped.
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