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One of Us by Michael Marshall Smith

One of Us (original 1998; edition 2009)

by Michael Marshall Smith

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478None21,554 (3.88)13
Title:One of Us
Authors:Michael Marshall Smith
Info:HarperCollins (2009), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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One of Us by Michael Marshall Smith (1998)

(2) 1990s (2) 1999 (2) crime (5) cyberpunk (16) dreams (6) English (2) fantasy (8) fiction (57) futuristic (3) horror (2) humor (2) memory (4) mooched (3) mystery (7) near future (2) noir (4) novel (12) own (2) owned (2) read (9) religion (3) science fiction (78) sf (31) sff (4) signed (2) suspense (2) thriller (7) to-read (5) unread (4)



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Showing 4 of 4
I really enjoyed this bizarre novel, a sort of modern hardboiled detective story narrated in an Archie Goodwin-esque voice, set in a near future where home appliances wander the streets and unpleasant memories can be removed and downloaded into another person's brain. The humour is irreverent, the worldbuilding random but entertaining (talking appliances, collapsing cars, coincidences in drug form), and the narrator's philosophy of life suitably cynical ('Deck is one of those people you can't help liking. I'm not. People find it enormously easy. Some of them don't like me several times a day, just to keep their average up'). But then the plot started to resemble an episode of the X-Files, before finally mutating into a semi-religious theory of higher, or other, beings, quirkily phrased like (how I imagine) a Terry Pratchett novel to read, and my enthusiasm plummeted. The final chapters mostly restored my faith in the narrator, and the author, and I will probably try another novel by Michael Marshall Smith, but I could have done without the trite existential blather. Less introspection, more talking appliances, please! ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Jun 29, 2012 |
I love this author, but this one is not his best. A better place to start would be with Spares on Only Forward. Nevertheless, his slightly shifted way of looking at even ordinary things comes through in this dated-feeling story of the near future. The story kicker doesn't *quite* work, but his characters are well drawn, and the futuristic elements have a likely quality. ( )
2 vote lost_in_pages | Mar 30, 2008 |
Not my favourite of his works, but still charmingly quirky in places. Contains one or two really great quotes.

Hap Thompson is woken up by his alarm clock. not a staggeringly unoriginal beginning maybe, but Hap is in a bar, and he last saw his alarm clock when he threw it out of a window of his car a long way away. Yep in this weird alternative future applicances are almost alive, they can move and think and talk. This leads to one of the greatest lines in the book, near the end - "Printers don't just hate humans they are generally contrary bastards". Anyone can agree with this sentiment.

Hap is a dream caretaker. If you're bothered by distracting dreams he will dream them for you (for a fee) leaving you refreshed in the morning. This affluent if borderline legal (hey it's quantum law) lifestyle quickly gets boring and Hap steps up to memory caretaking, and this quickly gets him into trouble. He doens't know just how much trouble!

Smith's masterpieces are always the worlds he creates, possible future societies featuring people being people, just with new and exciting technology. One of Us isn't set that far in the future, so isn't that exciting as a world. The social commentry on how people behave isn't too bad, though the characters are quite thin. Laura gets a bit of fleshing out but that's about it. The underlying religious subplot is just wierd. An interesting idea, but somehow it just doesn't quite hang together. I don't know if it's the idea or the writing style but it didn't really work for me. Not quite lighthearted enough. ( )
3 vote reading_fox | Dec 10, 2007 |
I you can't say something good about something.... ( )
  stackmouse | Feb 8, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
"L'invisible est la face cachée du visible"

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Pour Tracey,
soeur et amie,
et pour celles qui sont devenues invisibles,
Sue, Peggy, Betty, Clarice et Mabel.
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La nuit. Quelque part dans une dead-zone de L.A. Je ne connais pas le coin mais croyez-moi, mieux vaut l'éviter.
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Le seul fait de formuler la vérité la transforme en mensonge, à cause de tous les filtres qu'elle doit alors franchir.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 000649997X, Paperback)

If you like the brain-stretching work of William Gibson (author of Neuromancer) and Philip K. Dick (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep?, which was the basis for Blade Runner), you'll feel right at home with this latest futuristic thriller from the author of the well-received Spares (available in paperback). It's 2017, and the first time we meet Hap Thompson he's being hassled in a bar in Ensenada by his alarm clock, which not only talks but walks and has a bad attitude. Hap, a prodigious computer hacker with a pretty bad attitude himself, works for an outfit called REMtemps, which offers a unique service--removing clients' bad dreams by sucking them into the heads of paid professionals. (Could Smith have been influenced at all by the title of one of Dick's best stories, "I Can Dream It for You Wholesale?") Unfortunately, one of the bad dreams Hap is called on to swallow involves a real murder, and the search for the woman who dreamed it in the first place takes him--and us--on a literally mind-bending journey of scientific and philosophic discovery. But there's plenty of action, gadgetry, and snappy noir dialogue to make it all go down easily. --Dick Adler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A cybernetic fantasy on Hap Thompson who rents space in his head to store people's memories, ones they would rather not carry. Problems begin when one memory is of a murder, making Thompson a target for a killer. By the author of Spares.

(summary from another edition)

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