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Justina Robson

Author of Keeping It Real

32+ Works 3,481 Members 134 Reviews 15 Favorited

About the Author

Justina Robson was a teacher (2002,2006) at the Arvon Foundation in the UK.

Includes the name: Robson Justina

Image credit: Danie Ware


Works by Justina Robson

Associated Works

Year's Best SF 11 (2006) — Contributor — 234 copies
Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge (2007) — Contributor — 129 copies
Futures from Nature (2007) — Contributor — 113 copies
The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures (2005) — Contributor — 95 copies
Farscape Forever!: Sex, Drugs and Killer Muppets (2005) — Contributor — 94 copies
Infinity's End (2018) — Contributor — 70 copies
When It Changed: Science into Fiction (2009) — Contributor — 55 copies
Space Opera (2007) — Contributor — 53 copies
Letters to Tiptree (2015) — Contributor — 53 copies
Fearsome Magics (2014) — Contributor — 47 copies
Burning Brightly: 50 Years of Novacon (2021) — Contributor — 32 copies
Myth-understandings (1996) — Contributor — 29 copies
Constellations (2005) — Contributor — 29 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2019 Edition (2019) — Contributor — 25 copies
Mother of Invention (2018) — Contributor — 20 copies
Night, Rain, And Neon (2022) — Contributor — 17 copies
The 1000 Year Reich (2016) — Introduction — 17 copies
The Big Book of Cyberpunk (2023) — Contributor — 14 copies
Postscripts Magazine, Issue 15: Worldcon 2008 Special (2008) — Contributor, some editions — 13 copies
The Alsiso Project (2003) — Contributor — 12 copies
Bio-Punk: Stories from the Far Side of Research (2012) — Contributor — 11 copies
Legends 3: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell (2019) — Contributor — 10 copies
Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 17 • October 2011 (2011) — Contributor — 8 copies
The Reinvented Heart (2022) — Contributor — 7 copies
Digital Dreams: A Decade of Science Fiction by Women (2016) — Contributor — 7 copies
Elasticity: The Best of Elastic Press (2017) — Contributor — 2 copies


Common Knowledge



Very poorly constructed and written novel. The worldbuilding is badly thought out and described, the internal logic inconsistent, the plot dismal and the protagonist has no depth whatsoever. The writing pretentious and unclear.
All in all an annoying waste of time.
amberwitch | 31 other reviews | May 23, 2023 |
I had read Justina Robson's first novel, 'Silver Screen', and been unimpressed by it. But this, her second novel, turned out to be a beast of a different stripe. From the outset, we had a selection of well-rounded characters, and a situation that was quite novel - a research project into using nanoware and brain scanning techniques to build a therapeutic tool for psychiatric disorders. But of course, having mapped the interface between the human mind and the actual neurological structures within the brain, the work comes to the attention of various players who see the opportunity to use the tool for nefarious purposes - nothing less than being able to exercise mass mind control over a population.

We are introduced to one of the scientists leading the research; her flat-mate; an FBI agent investigating the whole project because it touches on other areas that he is investigating, either officially (who is the mysterious Russian defector who does not appear to have a past - or has too many of them?) or unofficially (why was the agent's sister attacked on the reservation where she lives by neighbours who she grew up with?); and a fellow agent who has multiple layers and seems to be playing at least two games for different bosses simultaneously; plus a lot of walk-on characters who are more than just bit players.

The setting is also unusual - a lot of the action takes place in the UK city of York, which is quite well drawn, and the setting of a research institution has a ring of authenticity about it. The race to control and understand the wetware is well-described and the outcome always in doubt.

The book was slightly spoiled for me because of some sloppy editing, which in turn allowed some sloppy writing through. These were all details, rather than anything that would derail the plot, but I stumbled over them nonetheless. For example, York is some distance from any major airport (an hour to Doncaster Robin Hood, and hour and a half to Manchester) from where one of the protagonists is due to get a suborbital flight direct to Washington; yet everyone talks as though "the airport" is just down the road, and when another character follows, they give themselves 30 minutes to get to the airport and make their flight. The thing is that Justina Robson is a northern Brit and ought to be expected to understand these things. And there is a character (the FBI agent's sister) called "White Horse", which I persisted in reading as "White House" nearly all the way through, which seeing as the book involves plottings in the US military was quite possible. (In fact, the last instance in the book really was "White House", which took me completely by surprise.) And for a thriller about conspiracies in the US and British governments, Robson shows little sign of understanding exactly how these bodies work and are organised.

But these are minor issues. What really struck me was this: in 2001, when the book was written, an author could only imagine achieving mass thought control through complex and potentially dangerous nanoware infestation. Twenty years later, we seem to have achieved that through the far simpler vehicle of social media. The arguments are all there: a boon to humankind vs. a threat to freedom and democracy; how people identify with groups/tribes and how they react to new ideas or cleave to old ways. And bad actors from all sides are active in the novel as in real life. I found the whole thing rather chilling and quite compulsive reading.
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1 vote
RobertDay | 4 other reviews | Jan 6, 2022 |
Read the paperback edition when it first came out an 2000 and enjoyed it very much.
SChant | 8 other reviews | Apr 12, 2020 |
Cyborg woman must find her lover Zal (who is a demon?) …complicated story line
JohnLavik | 11 other reviews | Mar 29, 2020 |



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