Regular price: $18.89

Free with 30-day trial Membership
Membership details Membership details
  • 30 days of membership free - plus an audiobook, on us.
  • 1 credit a month after trial - good for any title.
  • Easy exchange. Don't love book? swap it for free.
  • Exchange books you don't like
  • After your free trial, Audible is $14.95 a month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

In our rapidly-changing world of "social media", everyday people are more and more able to sort themselves into social groups based on finer and finer criteria. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities, this process is supercharged by new analytic technologies - genetic, brain-mapping, behavioral.

To join one of the 22 Affinities is to change one's life. It's like family, and more than family. Your fellow members aren't just like you, and they aren't just people who are likely to like you. They're also the people with whom you can best cooperate in all areas of life - creative, interpersonal, even financial. At loose ends both professional and personal, young Adam Fisk takes the suite of tests to see if he qualifies for any of the Affinities, and finds that he's a match for one of the largest, the one called Tau. It's utopian - at first.

Problems in all areas of his life begin to simply sort themselves out, as he becomes part of a global network of people dedicated to helping one another - to helping him. But as the differing Affinities put their new powers to the test, they begin to rapidly chip away at the power of governments, of global corporations, of all the institutions of the old world. Then, with dreadful inevitability, the different Affinities begin to go to war - with one another. What happens next will change Adam, and his world, forever.

©2015 Robert Charles Wilson (P)2015 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    43
  • 4 Stars
    55
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    52
  • 4 Stars
    53
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    49
  • 3 Stars
    29
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Compelling Concepts

This was the first R.C. Wilson novel I have read. I have a particular love of social science fiction of all types. The Affinities has a nice meaty premise; social personality matching taken to the extreme. It's a competently written book - not at all literary, style-wise, but good.

The overall structure of the plot was solid and goes along at a pretty fast clip, but I found the character development a little lacking. Especially when it came to antagonistic characters. They felt very cardboardish to me.

I'm also one of the few people who is not a massive Scott Brick fan. I find him over-dramatically emotive in his readings.

But if you like this narrator, and enjoy a clever, fast-paced alternative fiction thriller, I think this might hit the spot.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Originality: What Makes RCW's Works Stand Apart.

I loved this book. It's quite a trick to write something that is

1) Populated with characters who feel real, that we can connect to
2) Actually says something; make you think
3) Is genuinely original

The way 1 & 3 are artfully combined is what I think makes Wilson's books so enjoyable. Often originality is synonymous with 'weird' and hard to relate to. Not so The Affinities. The concepts of the novel are borne of a substrate made up of solid characters; indeed you could almost lose the science fiction aspect and still have a pretty decent book.

I agree with some other reviewers who have said that The Affinities could've been a bit longer. That's true, but the "fill in your own blanks" feeling one may be left with at book's end is I think even better. The reader is forced to think; in my case, not so much along the lines of "what happened next?" No, nothing like that. I was left in a place of newness; considering ideas new to me, some clear, others half formed, nicely coloured with an emotional aspect, also with its own unique flavour.

That, in my opinion, is science fiction gold.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

This could be amazing...

... if he'd given us the whole story, not just the first half. Once again, Robert Charles Wilson commits a home run in concept, if not in execution. It turns out that a 60% majority of humanity can be divided into one of 26 groups known as Affinities. An Affinity is a group where the members share a common psychological as well as genetic similarity. Some Affinities are larger than others, and our main character is a member of Tau, the largest Affinity. Over the course of the book, we see the Affinities go from a privately owned, Facebook like service, to something that is predicted to supplant governments and alter the trajectory of the human race.

Now the reason for the low review. The book only takes us to the point where we don't know specifically what is going to happen between governments and the Affinities but we know it is immanent, as the book stops rather abruptly. I know multiple book stories sell better than single books, but I would rather have a 12 hundred page complete story than wait a year for what is effectively the next page of the manuscript. Bad cess to the publisher, the editor, and Mr. Wilson. One of them should have put their foot down and published this as a single story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Class RCW, though a bit shorter, gripping story

Where does The Affinities rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

If you like Robert Charles Wilson's past books, especially the audiobooks read by Scott Brick, this will feel happily familiar. It's an interesting premise, though it feels a couple hundred pages shorter than I think it needed to be - more episodic than epic like his other books. Still it pulls you through and if you're already a fan, you'll love it. I finished this book in a little over a day - and can't wait for his next one. If you've not yet read Robert Charles Wilson, go read Spin, or the Chronoliths, Julian Comstock, or Darwinia - they're national treasures, especially Spin. This one feels more for fans, and tbh, as much as I love RCW's work, I think the sense of place was a bit too much. I lived in Vancouver and in Toronto, and I can see the little New West proletarian dive bar he's talking about, or the Rosedale mansion - but it felt almost a little too much - like if the book were set in LA or New York, I don't think the author would have felt the need to make the 'thereness' of it so intrusive. Which sounds critical, and yes, I suppose it is, but this is literally my favourite living author and this book is just awesome. A lot of the reviews talk about social media, and I don't know, I didn't see much of that - this is more the early-www idea of epistemic communities writ large, and merged with student movements and the illuminati. It's hard to say, because again, I think there are a couple hundred pages missing ... still ... loved the heck out of it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Intriguing Ideas, and a wonderful story.

What I love about this story is how it begins. The person who recommended this book to me hit the nail on the head with his review. This sci-fi novel starts in a world that could happen next week. The Affinities are a concept that could be in developement right now. It is a story of a man(Adam Fisk) who joins what anyone now a day would think to be a cult, which bears striking resemblence to the initial stages of joining scientology, albiet without a billion year contract. The articles, that denote a timelapse and section off the story, provide a great outside look into the near-dream like world adam lives int It keeps you engaged at two levels, one with Adam's personal story and the other with how the world and affinities are growing with each other.

The performace was good. Although I though the range of voices the narrator used was a bit limited.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good

I am continuously intrigued by social media and it's hold on the world population when there are so many more important issues, events, concerns that exist. This book hits on all aspects of this.
If you liked this listen to The Circle.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

please write a sequel!

interesting ideas and story and reading was great. I hope there is one to follow as I want to hear more about the future of the characters etc.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Tribal need to belong from a modern perspective

Fascinating premise but melancholy, almost heartbreaking, ending. This near future, soft SF book plays upon the realities of modern-day social networking and projects a time when tests can group people into affinity groups where you will find like-minded people with whom you are neurologically predisposed to mesh well with. The book takes that deeply human need to belong and spools it out with technology and how sorting people could simultaneously be a boon and be a wedge between those new groups and the rest of humanity. Exploring what it would feel like to find you have no affinity, what it would feel like to be expelled from your affinity group. It takes our tribal roots and brings it to the 21st century. Recommended.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Mediocre at best

*Contains spoilers*

The affinities is merely 'OK'. The concept of the Affinities is interesting on the surface but not very deep. People get tested in an unknown and unexplained test, find out they are part of a group, meet said group, feel a euphoric sense of togetherness then do whatever is asked of them on behalf of said group. It's not a cult or commune yet...that is exactly what the Affinities are.

World-wide social culture is changed by the Affinities but as the reader I just do not buy it. In my opinion, RCW does not create a believable case that of all things that can change our social construct, this personality test is that catalyst for change. He goes as far as creating the scenario that as soon as one joins an Affinity they suddenly have no idea how to interact with those outside their Affinity. "Adam, be our diplomat, you know how to speak with non-Tao humans." Come on.

Of course those who do not fall into a specific category are mad, feel left out and protest. At least RCW adds that as basically a footnote. Time passes and suddenly the different Affinities are at war with each other but only kind of and not for any concrete reason. The free loving pot smoking hippies vs the straight edge right wing Republicans. Everyone else be damned. Oh and nuclear war is a real threat in other parts of the world though totally unrelated to the Affinities.

Characters just accept what people in their Affinity tell them, fall in line and do not ask questions. The main character, Adam, is a cardboard cutout of someone who is lost in today's social world. Not a pariah but no real friends, has daddy issues and just floats by. Dude has zero emotions, none. Not like a guy who is cruel and lacks empathy but straight does not react to anything. So as the reader I honestly did not care what happened to him. When he is told in the 'twist' that he is no longer part of his Affinity he just says, "Oh, why did you not tell me?"...no anger, no sadness, nothing. Just accepted it and went about his horribly boring and mundane life. The only interesting character is his autistic step-brother. Everyone else just fits into the role of 'mean brother', 'nice step-mom', 'abused wife', 'first lover', 'alpha male', 'smart scientist', 'racist dad', 'psychotic and irrelevant to the story single mom'.

In the end this book seemed like a decent initial idea yet lacked the depth around which an entire novel could be created.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Meh

Meh. The story was okay, but I don't like the idea of the Affinities. Meh

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.