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The Games

by Ted Kosmatka

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2273295,180 (3.51)12
"This stunning first novel from Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist Ted Kosmatka is a riveting tale of science cut loose from ethics. Set in an amoral future where genetically engineered monstrosities fight each other to the death in an Olympic event, The Games envisions a harrowing world that may arrive sooner than you think. Silas Williams is the brilliant geneticist in charge of preparing the U.S. entry into the Olympic Gladiator competition, an internationally sanctioned bloodsport with only one rule: no human DNA is permitted in the design of the entrants. Silas lives and breathes genetics; his designs have led the United States to the gold in every previous event. But the other countries are catching up. Now, desperate for an edge in the upcoming Games, Silas's boss engages an experimental supercomputer to design the genetic code for a gladiator that cannot be beaten. The result is a highly specialized killing machine, its genome never before seen on earth. Not even Silas, with all his genius and experience, can understand the horror he had a hand in making. And no one, he fears, can anticipate the consequences of entrusting the act of creation to a computer's cold logic. Now Silas races to understand what the computer has wrought, aided by a beautiful xenobiologist, Vidonia Joao. Yet as the fast-growing gladiator demonstrates preternatural strength, speed, and--most disquietingly--intelligence, Silas and Vidonia find their scientific curiosity giving way to a most unexpected emotion: sheer terror"--… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
An interesting premise (genetically engineered monsters fighting as an Olympic event) that the author doesn't completely trust to be a story all by itself. He adds a related secondary story that just never felt quite right.

Worth reading but a story that took this premise and talked about the societal ramifications would have been better. ( )
  Skybalon | Mar 19, 2020 |
About a 3.5 really. For a first novel it has its flaws but I think Kosmatka has potential. "The Games" is reminiscent of Michael Crichton's work but not quite as mature. It was actually kind of scary in parts. I'd have liked to see the monster developed more as a character. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Silas Williams in the head geneticist conceiving the next United States's gladiator for the Olympic Games, in this futurist world where genetic manipulation is commonplace and a spectacle. But little does he know what a supercomputer has wrought for their new gladiator: a predator beyond their imagining.

I love this book. It takes place in a futuristic world that is not unbelievable with this amount of science.

I love the description of the gladiator and the slow progression of foreshadowed horror and fear as it grows up.

The pacing was fantastic - I never felt like the story bogged down, and I was eager to always get to the next page to see what would happen next.

Fantastic control of characters and plotline and innovative ideas. Aliens have been done before. AIs have been done before. But this sort of science melded with sports, I have not seen before.

Three and a half stars, rounded down because I don't think it merits a reread. But wonderfully written book.
Recommended for those who like a bit of aliens, science fiction, and dark themes in their books. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Silas Williams in the head geneticist conceiving the next United States's gladiator for the Olympic Games, in this futurist world where genetic manipulation is commonplace and a spectacle. But little does he know what a supercomputer has wrought for their new gladiator: a predator beyond their imagining.

I love this book. It takes place in a futuristic world that is not unbelievable with this amount of science.

I love the description of the gladiator and the slow progression of foreshadowed horror and fear as it grows up.

The pacing was fantastic - I never felt like the story bogged down, and I was eager to always get to the next page to see what would happen next.

Fantastic control of characters and plotline and innovative ideas. Aliens have been done before. AIs have been done before. But this sort of science melded with sports, I have not seen before.

Three and a half stars, rounded down because I don't think it merits a reread. But wonderfully written book.
Recommended for those who like a bit of aliens, science fiction, and dark themes in their books. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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"This stunning first novel from Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist Ted Kosmatka is a riveting tale of science cut loose from ethics. Set in an amoral future where genetically engineered monstrosities fight each other to the death in an Olympic event, The Games envisions a harrowing world that may arrive sooner than you think. Silas Williams is the brilliant geneticist in charge of preparing the U.S. entry into the Olympic Gladiator competition, an internationally sanctioned bloodsport with only one rule: no human DNA is permitted in the design of the entrants. Silas lives and breathes genetics; his designs have led the United States to the gold in every previous event. But the other countries are catching up. Now, desperate for an edge in the upcoming Games, Silas's boss engages an experimental supercomputer to design the genetic code for a gladiator that cannot be beaten. The result is a highly specialized killing machine, its genome never before seen on earth. Not even Silas, with all his genius and experience, can understand the horror he had a hand in making. And no one, he fears, can anticipate the consequences of entrusting the act of creation to a computer's cold logic. Now Silas races to understand what the computer has wrought, aided by a beautiful xenobiologist, Vidonia Joao. Yet as the fast-growing gladiator demonstrates preternatural strength, speed, and--most disquietingly--intelligence, Silas and Vidonia find their scientific curiosity giving way to a most unexpected emotion: sheer terror"--

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This stunning first novel from Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist Ted Kosmatka is a riveting tale of science cut loose from ethics. Set in an amoral future where genetically engineered monstrosities fight each other to the death in an Olympic event, The Games envisions a harrowing world that may arrive sooner than you think.

Silas Williams is the brilliant geneticist in charge of preparing the U.S. entry into the Olympic Gladiator competition, an internationally sanctioned bloodsport with only one rule: no human DNA is permitted in the design of the entrants. Silas lives and breathes genetics; his designs have led the United States to the gold in every previous event. But the other countries are catching up. Now, desperate for an edge in the upcoming Games, Silas’s boss engages an experimental supercomputer to design the genetic code for a gladiator that cannot be beaten.

The result is a highly specialized killing machine, its genome never before seen on earth. Not even Silas, with all his genius and experience, can understand the horror he had a hand in making. And no one, he fears, can anticipate the consequences of entrusting the act of creation to a computer’s cold logic.

Now Silas races to understand what the computer has wrought, aided by a beautiful xenobiologist, Vidonia João. Yet as the fast-growing gladiator demonstrates preternatural strength, speed, and — most disquietingly — intelligence, Silas and Vidonia find their scientific curiosity giving way to a most unexpected emotion: sheer terror.

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