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PopCo by Scarlett Thomas
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PopCo (2004)

by Scarlett Thomas

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8504116,088 (3.63)57
  1. 10
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (daysailor)
    daysailor: Same kind of edgy writing, intertwining cryptography history with good story-telling
  2. 00
    Pattern Recognition by William Gibson (LaPietraDiLuna)
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» See also 57 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Very disappointing compared to Scarlett Thomas's other novels - all build up and no payoff. ( )
  plumtingz | Dec 14, 2017 |
It's been years since I've read this book, but I really liked it.

I received it when I was about 13 or 14, a time in my life when I was in the awkward in-between stage of young adult / children's books and adult books and read it really quickly, even though it's quite a large book.

I really liked the writing style, I liked the main character. I like that the main female protagonist was very wry and witty and not overtly feminine.

This book has a bit of a dark side, but more importantly I think it also has a dark sense of humour. I don't really remember the plot very well, but I tend to read books for the writing and not for the plot, anyway.

I enjoyed this book's self-awareness, its cleverness and the way the plot slowly unwound like a clock.

I'd be interested to read the rest of Thomas' writing and see if it's any similar to this piece. ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
Oh dear Scarlett Thomas, one of your more infuriating efforts. Self-indulgent, pretentious, verbose and so sixth form in its attacks on corporate elites that it might just be self-satirising (but sadly I doubt it). ( )
  m_k_m | May 26, 2016 |
This is the best Scarlett Thomas book I've read so far (I loved The End of Mr Y as well, was not quite so keen on Our Tragic Universe - it had its good points, but not enough to outweigh the directionless mish mash of a story).

I love the idea of it being set in a toy company. I love the protagonist. I love all the codebreaking stuff. This book appeals to all of my sensibilities. Yeah, it's a bit hammy in places, but that's part of its appeal. These kind of things are supposed to be hammy. The veganism/vegetarianism stuff sort of annoyed me, but not enough to take away from the fact that this is the most cohesively narrated of Thomas's books (of the one's I've read, rather) and that the central hook is both the most accessible (some of the thought experiment stuff in TEOMY would, I suspect, put people off) and most inherently enjoyable and applicable of her "gimmicks". As a piece of speculative fiction, this is... just. I can't explain it. Just read it, you'll see what I mean. Also, running theme in my reviews today, but Alice felt believable. She wasn't a Lisbeth Salander/Katniss/Whatever caricature, she completely seemed normal! Result!

I am FULLY aware of how terrible these reviews are, btw, but I go to Barcelona tomorrow and there is no way I'll remember anything I wanted to write after that. Sorry! If I EVER get a chance to reread any of these, I'll fix them, I swear. ( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
This is the best Scarlett Thomas book I've read so far (I loved The End of Mr Y as well, was not quite so keen on Our Tragic Universe - it had its good points, but not enough to outweigh the directionless mish mash of a story).

I love the idea of it being set in a toy company. I love the protagonist. I love all the codebreaking stuff. This book appeals to all of my sensibilities. Yeah, it's a bit hammy in places, but that's part of its appeal. These kind of things are supposed to be hammy. The veganism/vegetarianism stuff sort of annoyed me, but not enough to take away from the fact that this is the most cohesively narrated of Thomas's books (of the one's I've read, rather) and that the central hook is both the most accessible (some of the thought experiment stuff in TEOMY would, I suspect, put people off) and most inherently enjoyable and applicable of her "gimmicks". As a piece of speculative fiction, this is... just. I can't explain it. Just read it, you'll see what I mean. Also, running theme in my reviews today, but Alice felt believable. She wasn't a Lisbeth Salander/Katniss/Whatever caricature, she completely seemed normal! Result!

I am FULLY aware of how terrible these reviews are, btw, but I go to Barcelona tomorrow and there is no way I'll remember anything I wanted to write after that. Sorry! If I EVER get a chance to reread any of these, I'll fix them, I swear. ( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 015603137X, Paperback)

PopCo tells the story of Alice Butler-a subversively smart girl in our commercial-soaked world who grows from recluse orphan to burgeoning vigilante, buttressed by mystery, codes, math, and the sense her grandparents gave her that she could change the world.

Alice-slight introvert, crossword compositor- works at PopCo, a globally successful and slightly sinister toy company. Lured by their CEO to a Thought Camp out on the moors, PopCo's creatives must invent the ultimate product for teenage girls. Meanwhile, Alice receives bizarre, encrypted messages she suspects relate to her grandfather's decoding of a centuries-old manuscript that many-including her long-disappeared father-believe leads to buried treasure. Its key, she's sure, is engraved on the necklace she's been wearing since she was ten. Using the skills she learned from her grandparents and teaching us aspects of cryptanalysis, Alice discovers the source of these creepy codes. Will this lead her to the mysterious treasure or another, even more carefully guarded secret?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:37 -0400)

Alice is quietly becoming the star of PopCo's 'ideation' team. Now she's been called to a mysterious 'thought camp' in Devon where they are brainstorming over the toy market for teenage girls. Alice thinks she's cracked it, but suddenly she's not sure she wants to unleash it on the world.… (more)

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