Adam Roberts: Jack Glass

This is still the best book I ve read this year I know it s only April and I read this in February and there s still a lot of time But I bloody loved it And I haven t even ot to lend my copy out yet which is a travestyI found it in a way that usually turns up a lot of dross but has actually done me uite proud in the last few months which is to say in the comments section of a Guardian Online article this time on locked room mysteries Every so often I discover that someone has written a book specifically for me and they didn t even TELL me three choice Christmas Countdown (Lost-Inc., golden age detective stories set in theolden age of sci fi It took me about forty five seconds to order it on and when it arrived about the same amount of time to Clay Yeagers Redemption (Trinity Street West, get extremely excited about the prologue Tell me you don t loveood Dark Desires genre savvy fiction Tell me you don t love it when someone looks you in the eye tells you they re about to trick you and does it anywayThe thing aboutolden age crime fiction and The Corporate Raiders Revenge (Suite Secrets, golden age sci fi is that the former relies on very strict rules and Getting Shit Past The Radar of readers like me who are busy being eagle eyed and trying to spot the trick in a very narrow set of variables whereas the sci fi is based onoing to places and doing things that the reader isn t so familiar with In a way they ought to be at odds at any rate they should be pretty difficult to combine without betraying somebody s favouriteDon t worry Adam Roberts hasn t betrayed your favourite What Jack Glass does that makes me so happy is to tread the very fine line between them in an effort to surprise readers Course of Action golden age crime often ends up resorting to pulling solutions out of its own ass so in a way bothenres prime you or at least me to say Of COURSE Of course the answer is faster than light travelevil twinsthe Illuminatievil butler It s the only solution Both Christmas Masquerades genres train you to view the impossible as if there s a loophole in it and I really adored the deft enthusiastic respectful way that Roberts exploits the hell out of any loophole he can findHe tells you who the murderer is in the prologue Then he promises you ll be surprised Well I was surprisedAnd besides and if anything this is the important bit it was reallyood fun to read I enjoyed being in this book Why has it not Skylars Outlaw got recognition Why have I never heard of it or its author before Why am I not right this minute seeking out other things he s written which by the way I m absolutelyoing to do MORE OF THIS SORT OF THING PLEASEPlease someone else read this because I want to talk about it and I ve not Blades Lady got anyone to do that with Also Adam Roberts please write some things so I can buy them in hardback preferably with covers this pretty so I can prop them up on my mantelpiece when I m done What a wonderful thing this book is Roberts himself describes it as arising from a desire to collide together some of the conventions of Golden Age science fiction and Golden Age detective fiction He does that beautifully but he does so much Does the book satisfy as a mystery One hundred per cent I d say Of course there are three mysteries and each of them articulates in a different way And each of them pays off beautifully But it s not even scratching the surface of the novel to say that when the narrator promises both toive us the answer in advance and to surprise us with the final revelation it s no idle boastIn Jack Roberts has created a truly uniue protagonist a monster whose pathology we not only understand but applaud and whose bloody crimes we celebrate He also Learning Yii Testing gives us a fascinating and fully realised future whose internal logic opens to us organically with a bare minimum of exposition and then once we veot the big picture continues to develop and to be enriched with and detail and revealsI also loved the book for its prose style which was elegant and hugely evocative One example when Diana Argent oes to the police station on Korkura to uestion the suspects in the provocatively named FTL Murders we et this description of the placeThey were at a suat white flanked building without windows Jong Il went first then Diana climbed awkwardly out and stood for a moment The Stigum& grassy odour of olive oil The sound of the cypresses hushing her Beside the building was a swimming pool ten metres across filled it appeared withreen tea The shadow from the building printed a trapezoid over the dry Communicating Effectively grass and dipped its apex into the waterDiana is another of the book s major selling points for me She sees everything with this hallucinatory clarity because it s all new to her She s not only unfamiliar with the Greek islands she s unfamiliar with Earth as a whole She s just come down from the orbital habitats known as the uplands and she s investigating a murder while trying to adjust to the appalling debilitating localravity Oh and she s sixteen Almost After Jack she s the most vivid and most fully realised character and Roberts draws their relationship the duel of wits between a child savant and a ruthless killer with The Philosophical Journey great subtlety and ultimately withreat warmth and tenderness That s my opinion anyway For most of the book you re kept at a certain emotional distance from what s Asset Protection going on the intellectual puzzles and the amazing ideas being important than the characters inner lives But by the end you feel both for the monster and for the innocent which is an astonishing featI agree with the earlier reviewer that this is the sort of book thatets in the way of you doing anything else I finished it in two days when I really needed to be doing other things sucked in tantalised played with false footed blindsided and finally moved 25 5Jack Glass by Adam Roberts is a book that tries too much to be many things but ultimately fails in most if not all of them Here s my personal view and opinion why this is so and why I was disappointed As usual I will avoid Enzymes Enzyme Therapy going into too much detail describing what this book is about you can read the synopsis up there Instead I willo straight into my review Be wary this review will probably contain light spoilers but nothing too revealing uick summary A book with a very ambitious plot and ideas that suffers from frustrating characters occasionally bad writing really sketchy science and uneven paceFormatIn my e book version the book had 373 pages It is comprised of 3 parts which in effect are 3 different but eventually interconnected stories The 2nd and 3rd part contain many shorter subchapters One of my early Blindsided gripes has to do with the lack of chapter waypoints in my ebook version I don t know if this problem is present in all ebook versions It made navigating back and forth a lot of trouble At the end alossary is included very useful along with a very extensive extra part with poems and songs of the book s universe which was a nice and original feature for a SF book The narration is in 3rd person perspective and entirely in the past tenseCharactersThe main character as one would expect is Jack though he shares the spotlight for the most part with Diana Jack s character is always presented with an air of mystery and surrounded with a lot of uestion marks We are never really sure of what he is like nor even who he is in each story though that s uite easy to At Land get after a point Even though this character is never fully developed and detailed this in a way is a bit acceptable because he is supposed to be mysterious and unknown a stranger throughout the whole novel Unfortunately Roberts fumbles big time with Jack s character at the final subchapters with a reveal and justification that I personally found totally weak and disappointing More on that later as this is also part of the plot and uite spoilerishDiana is the other main character and in a way the protagonist for most part of the novel I don t want toive away too much so I will be a bit vague but suffice to say that her characters is very weak and unbelievable in a negative way Now you see Dia. Golden Age SF meets Golden Age Crime in this British Science Fiction Award winner for best novel from the author of Swiftly New Model Army and Yellow Blue Tibia Jack Glass is the murderer we know this from the start Yet as this extraordinary novel unfolds readers will be astonished to discover how.

Adam Roberts Ò 9 CHARACTERS

pdf epub Jack Glass –

E tone or content of the book What you re On the Run getting is a dark rather nasty series of interlocked stories set in a future of corporate dictatorships widespread poverty and minimal concern for human rights So um kind of like now actually only with advanced technology and drugs Because I read the blurb and some reviews I wasn t expected a fun optimistic tale a la the early days of science fiction but I was hoping for at least some nods in that direction You know maybe a rocket ship made oflass rather than a space vessel made of view spoilerthe butchered bodies of murdered convicts hide spoiler BewareDon t The Price Of Blood (Phil Broker, go to Adam Roberts looking for utopian visions of the future If you want harmonious co operation post scarcity paradises or futures where humanity has forged it s nobler instincts into the foundations of Brave New Worlds look elsewhere most of Robert s books willive you screaming nightmaresIn On Earth s Russian Winter gravity has literally flipped ninety degrees and it s a hardscrabble borderline medieval dump In new Model Army the world is ravaged and broken by conflict wrought by cheap democratic armies And now in Jack Glass the solar system is arim dictatorial dystopia for most ruled by a family known as the Ulanovs who keep the reat mass of people living in decrepit dome habitats hanging in space living off barely palatable algae and collecting cancers from the radiation they are exposed toI don t want to live in these places but damn Roberts makes me want to read about them Roberts tells an intense tale in most of his novels and does so again here although intense is a pretty mild description of the beginning of Jack GlassThe first of two starting narratives begins with six men all prisoners dumped into the freezing cold of a sealed over crevasse on an asteroid with nothing than a small air enerator a tiny heater some digging machines some edible algae spores and a packet of biscuitsDesperately cold crazed with thirst and packed into a tiny space only a meter or so across these men have to survive an eleven year sentence together and to do so they must hollow out their asteroid and find ice to drink and make air At the end of their stay the asteroid they have hollowed will be scrubbed and sold as accommodation for the rich its new owners caring not about the suffering of it s creatorsThere is no way out of this prison floating abandoned in space The men Pregnant Man go through despair anger and then far dangerous than either boredom The establish brutal hierarchies of dominance the top men using and abusing the weaker men as they please violence breaking out and threatening to end them allOne of the weaker men Jac is different from the others He has no legs and he spends time polishing a tiny round oflass he finds in the asteroid He means to escape this prison even though such an escape is impossibleThe second narrative concerns the two scions of a powerful family second only in stature to the rulers of the solar system who are holidaying on a summery European island when one of their servants is brutally murdered Diana the younger of the two sisters is an aficionado of murder mysteries and throws herself into investigating what has happened The case seems open and shut There were nineteen other servants in the building no one else entered or left and there is a clear motive for one of the nineteen There is of course to this killing than there first seems and as Diana solves it she will be introduced to a civilisation ending threatFrom these two narratives Roberts spins a story spanning the solar system and dealing with concepts that span a reat deal at the same time It s heady compelling stuff and I loved every minute of it Jack Glass is Adam Roberts at his best and his best is very very ood Roberts is a master of concept driven SF each of his books different from the last This novel is different from his other work and in some ways reads as a science fiction detective story although it soon Kawaii Manga grows to encompass far far than that The only thing holding me back from a five star wide eyed evangelical review is that Jack Glass s ending is both abrupt and unsatisfying I loved this story and I didn t want it to end so the way it did was particularlyalling There are some codas in the form of poems that add some supplementary insight into the Ulanovian solar system and some of the players in the background of the narrative but I still felt a little short changedIn saying that I still rate Jack Glass as one of my favourite reads this year and a novel worthy of inclusion in any serious SF collection Roberts has written several works I would consider to be twenty first century classics and when considered along with Bete Stone and New Model Army Jack Glass only further cements Roberts as one of the brightest supernovae in Science Fiction45 mysteriously exploding stars Roberts books are truly difficult to rate because there isn t anything else like them in the modern SF enre He writes beautifully really beautifully the kind of image dense well crafted sentences that you have to read three times just to savour the feel of them sliding through your neurons His ideas are magical and he s no imaginative slouch each novel he writes sports a new and freshly minted world of wondrous veracitySet in a future where humans thickly clot the space between the worlds of the Solar System and are ruled most oppressively Jack Glass is a story about a kind of cosmic terrorist but presented as a series of three murder mysteries the literary conceit here being Roberts take on the old country house Agatha Christie style whodunnit To a point this is what we have but the detective angle proves a surface loss to SF world buildery The murders take back seat and we re soon hip deep in Roberts usual concern of the unworthy swain courting the unobtainable damsel Who are we to complain All authors have their literary drums to beat but with the The Accursed gruesome first installment of Jack Glass it appears at first that we have escaped this particular obsession and it s something of a surprise and disappointment to be presented with it againGlass himself is a confident capable man much sure of himself than many of Roberts earlier protagonists Part of the book s draw is the slow revelation of the various layers to his character and the discovery of the romantic flaw in Glass is well judged if slightly disappointing by which I mean it fits this story perfectly but anyway see above The dividing up of the story into three undoes the pacing and the contrast between the first taut superbly claustrophic tale and the languid tone of the latter two unseats the reader There s a little too much time spent detailing the inner thoughts of teenageirls something Roberts already tackled brilliantly in By Light Alone He does it well admittedly but too much hereAlthough this is not his strongest work overall Jack Glass contains some of Roberts most artful writing and the first part of the book is among the best SF stories from one of today s finest British SF writers Holy wow I loved this bookThe book is in three sections and the first just sucked me in I was obsessed with the world Roberts created within nine pages Roberts s writing is marvelous tender yet precise dancing in rhythms then breaking out of step like a flaneur s pause The world he created is compelling and vast and utterly believable The second and third sections had a different focalizing character and so I couldn t relate to them as easily And then there is a plot development in section three which other reviewers have commented on which seemed unlikely And unnecessary And lowered my opinion of the eponymous hero But I don t care The writing and the worldbuilding alone scores this five stars from me And that moment that Pinkalicious: Merry Pinkmas! goddamn moment on page 94 when I realized the MC had been planning this the whole time view spoiler Rest assured Gordius I won t be leaving you behind hide spoiler. He plays with theenre whatever uestions he asks of the reader Roberts never loses sight of the need to entertain Filled with wonderfully Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency gruesome moments and liberal doses of sly humor this novel is built around threeripping HowDunnits that challenge notions of crime punishment power and freedom.

Na has supposedly been raised and trained to be a problem solver one of the cleverest and wisest young persons in the whole system Well Swing Sideways guess what Diana is very stupid for a clever problem solver and can t really solve anything As a matter of fact she s very ignorant of many important things like system politics and physics and sociology on the most basic level That level of lack of education is inexcusable for a high society person trained since kindergarten to be smart and know it all In a novel where she is supposed to be the main brain force the puzzle s unscrambler and the riddle s solver she is constantly out of ideas and clues relying solely on intuition and external help anduidanceSo sadly as both main characters are rather distant unrealistic unlikable and extremely hard for the reader to connect to the novel comes out short on any real attachment to the protagonists and suffers from indifference and incredulityWorld buildingLuckily world building is ood enough to stand apart from the novel s other deficiencies Roberts has imagined a future where humanity is spread but still restricted to the limits of our solar system Strict hierarchical levels exist and control all life everywhere Humans have evolved sufficiently to posses many technological and biotechnological capacities and abilities though as it can be imagined those can be found in different levels and abundance throughout the social castes and classes Also as humanity has taken off Earth and most of its population lives in space in low or no Dancing with Mr. Darcy gravity the human physiology has also changed and degenerated to a suited state which presents problems to thoseoing to 1g Lesca gravity environments All those and many are very well presented and documented by Roberts making world building the mostlowing part of this novelPlot storyAnd we arrive at the plot Here is the thing Jack Glass is essentially a SF howdunit As such it is supposed to be made mostly of two major ingredients a base of typical crimemysterymurder howdunit that is the main engine and pushes the plot forward with suspense Sharpes Trafalgar guessing andradual revelations and a big dose of science fiction to Punished give the novel an original and fresh taste something to amaze and awe the reader I m sorry to say that both are found lacking thought for different reasons eachThe plot the whole mystery and the way it s presented feels like a huge mess Roberts tried for something much ambitious that he could handle In a recent interviewpost Mark Charan Newton mentioned some tipsrules for writingood and proper whodunits Among those were the following 6 Don t short change the reader7 Don t make your method utterly ridiculous Roberts disregards both He continuously tries to deceive and distract the reader from His To Protect guessing with erroneous information and needless tactics At the end the uestions are answered in unceremonious and bland ways often revealing either uninteresting or incredulous solutionsI also felt that occasionally there are some big holes in the plot Why some things happen and why then Not all uestions are answered or can be answered by the provided information by the end of the novel SPOILER followsview spoiler And of course how can I not mention theravest WTF moment of the whole book the love reveal As far as justifications for actions o this one was absolutely disappointing Here is a uy who is the Babys First Christmas (Christmas Is For Kids) (Christmas Is For Kids) (Harlequin American Romances, 754) greatest most wanted criminal in the solar system trying for years to evade capture enduring the worst envisioning and planning system wide revolution for billions of people against the tyrannical overlords having killed many many people for theood of mankind and why does he risk so much all that at the end Because he SAYS he is in LOVE with an immature Ups, Kita Sudah Menikah? girl read kid he hardly knows BOOM Thereoes the rating down sorry not my fault blame Roberts There was absolutely no need whatsoever to throw that in there as a major reasonexcuse hide spoiler A uantity of blood is spilled in this story I m sorry to say and a ood many people die and there is some politics too There is danger and fear Accordingly I have told his tale in the form of a murder mystery or to be precise and at all costs we must be precise three connected murder mysteriesBut I intend to play fair with you reader right from the start or I m no true Watson So let 3 crimes scenes 1 manMass murderer Jack Glass is on loose and the Solar System is not safe Enveloping theoretical physics and power dynamics Roberts offers this suspense It uestions values from loyalty to the ever present does the ends justify the meansBroken down into three separate vignettes it s not immediately obvious that these are seuential events but the impetus for Jack s actions unfolds The first vignette In the Box I loved it was ritty science fiction and a big surprise Big My favorite easily The second part The FTL Murders was very slow in comparison and it spent a Baby Legacy (So Many Babies great deal of time developing two characters where the conflict of human versus science are anthropomorphized too much time is you ask me Dawdled The third vignette The Impossible Gun brings the stories full circle connecting them in the third crime scene I liked this better than the FTL but not as much as Box but that was probably because I d figured out the resolution or rather one version of possible resolutions and I liked mine better than the real ending Iot the science part 100% the human part not as much therefore I was disappointed in how it drifted and settled I uess the surprise in that one was one that I didn t see the basis for it existing but then again I don t think it was suppose to be rational Ended with me oing really JackSo the fluffy ending and saggy middle kinda deflated the joy from this one Eh PrologueDear readers I fear I have to convey a terrible terrible tragedy to you The fifth rating star was murdered and now lies dead in front of you But the strangest thing is that we already know who did the killing It was a collarboration of the remaining four stars who have fled into this review It s like in the novel Jack Glass where we are told who is the murderer in all three cases within the book right upfront in the prologue So follow me into this murder mystery review and help me catch all four stars One of them is hiding within each part of the review Can you spot and point out all the four stars If you want to play please point out the stars in spoilers so everybody can speculate on their ownEventually I m Langlais correct pour les Nuls going to reveal the location of the four stars in a spoiler comment later on Part 1 StructureJack Glass has a uniue build up It consists of three interlocking murder mysteries Part one acts as aeneral introduction of Jack Glass as a character the main story is told in parts 2 and 3 It s very interesting to see that the narrative changes a lot especially between part 1 and 2 and Roberts is able to introduce very distinguishable voices for his main protagonistsPart 2 CharactersThe characters are very well drawn The all male cast in part 1 is a bit confusing in the beginning but it works out in the end The man called Jac and Gordius a fattie who was worshipped as a sun Constantly Craving god by his followers have the most characterDiana the main protagonist of part 2 is completely different Her part is light hearted and she has likeable traits but also some aspects that make it hard to be completely on her sidePart 3 WorldbuildingRoberts shows us a very interesting vision of the future He doesn t spoonfeed his information to you and many of his made up words are never explained within the text so you have to refer to the appendixSo as you re putting together the pieces of the murder mysteries you re also putting together the pieces of the society Many people live in artifical bubbles orbiting Earth or the neighboring planets and having difficulties to adjust toravity when on EarthThe society seems to be matriarchal Beautiful cover but not at all reflective of th. He committed the murders and by the end of the book their sympathies for the killer will be fully engaged Riffing on the tropes of crime fiction the country house murder the locked room mystery and imbued with the feel of A Preface to Democratic Theory golden age SF this is another bravura performance from Roberts Whateverames.

See this thread for informationAdam Roberts born 1965 is an academic critic and novelist He also writes parodies under the pseudonyms of ARRR Roberts A3R Roberts and Don Brine He also blogs at The Valve a group blog devoted to literature and cultural studiesHe has a degree in English from the University of Aberdeen and a PhD from Cambridge University on Robert Browning and the Classics He teaches English literature and creative writing at Royal Holloway University of London Adam Roberts has been nominated twice for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2001 for his debut novel Salt and in 2007 for Gradisil