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The Memoirist (NewCon Press Novellas Set 1)…
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The Memoirist (NewCon Press Novellas Set 1)

by Neil Williamson

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I like the idea of this book but I don't think it was necessarily captured very well. In the end I was confused whether the author was for security or against. I felt the main character was a bit blah and didn't seem to have an opinion on the main subject of the book. The book started out a bit scary with the bees but the book lost it's steam and went downhill fast, which is surprising since it's only about 90 pages. I thought the writing was very good though and at times I felt drawn in but this probably isn't a book I'll remember in a year or two. ( )
  sophiemanic | Apr 21, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An interesting novella, obviously set (or setting up) a world for more of a novel exploration. The opening is very rocky, (overly grandiloquent vocabulary used slightly incorrectly) but the style quickly settles down within a few pages. It's a shame the editors didn't correct this for more of an immediate impact. The social commentary is always welcome in a science fiction setting, but the direct relevance to today's topics of interest means that it will date very quickly.

Rashia is a Memoirist of the title - she ghost writes memoirs for people unwilling or unable to write their own. But this is the future, so instead of interviewing them over many hours, she just scours all the public online records and creates their history from that. She is frequently more successful at scouring sordid details than the client wants, and these can be carefully elided. MOst of the story is not about Rashia or her client, but instead about the society she's living in. Specifically the WatchNet of artificial 'bee' drones, complete with cameras keep society as safe as it's ever been - at the price of constant surveillance everywhere of everyone. It's still possible to maintain a little privacy in the bedroom, but the shame of being reprimanded by consensus drivers everyone to balnd behavior - even swearing in public has vanished. However a collective of anarchists have other ideas.

Being a novella has many drawbacks and with such a grand agenda as this they are readily apparent. Mostly the lack of other characters, but also any exploration of subtlety in the technology. IN general authors should avoid attempting any explanations via quantum mechanics because it really doesn't help. (Note it doesn't work like that, not even as a what-if).

Probably an author to keep an eye on, along the lines of Stross. ( )
  reading_fox | Apr 15, 2017 |
Reminiscent of Gibson of at his best.... ( )
  AlanPoulter | Apr 15, 2017 |
Why are so many powerful people determined to wipe a poignant gig by a faded rock star from the annals of history? What are they so afraid of?

Near future SF set when surveillance culture has become ubiquitous via small flying drones that look like bees (hence the cover). Rhian writes memoirs and she is happy to take on a commission from an aging former rock star. However, the commission takes her down a dangerous path in this complex and thrilling exploration of privacy.

What would the world look like if no-one could keep a secret?

There’s a big idea in this small book and Williamson does a grand job in a short space. The characters are well-drawn and it certainly kept me turning the pages to gorge myself on it in one hit. It’s such a fascinating concept, both the story-world posited and the proposed antithesis.

I’ve been interested in Jeremy Bentham and his ideas for a while and it’s always interesting to see these explored, especially in a speculative work.

Recommended. ( )
  psutto | Feb 22, 2017 |
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