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He committed the murders and by the end of the book their sympathies for the killer will be fully engaged Riffing on the tropes of crime fiction the country house murder the locked room mystery and imbued with the feel of golden age SF this is another bravura performance from Roberts Whatever games What a wonderful thing this book is Roberts himself describes it as arising from a desire to collide together some of the conventions of Golden Age science fiction and Golden Age detective fiction He does that beautifully but he does so much Does the book satisfy as a mystery One hundred per cent I d say Of course there are three mysteries and each of them articulates in a different way And each of them pays off beautifully But it s not even scratching the surface of the novel to say that when the narrator promises both to give us the answer in advance and to surprise us with the final revelation it s no idle boastIn Jack Roberts has created a truly uniue protagonist a monster whose pathology we not only understand but applaud and whose bloody crimes we celebrate He also gives us a fascinating and fully realised future whose internal logic opens to us organically with a bare minimum of exposition and then once we ve got the big picture continues to develop and to be enriched with and detail and revealsI also loved the book for its prose style which was elegant and hugely evocative One example when Diana Argent goes to the police station on Korkura to uestion the suspects in the provocatively named FTL Murders we get this description of the placeThey were at a suat white flanked building without windows Jong Il went first then Diana climbed awkwardly out and stood for a moment The grassy odour of olive oil The sound of the cypresses hushing her Beside the building was a swimming pool ten metres across filled it appeared with green tea The shadow from the building printed a trapezoid over the dry grass and dipped its apex into the waterDiana is another of the book s major selling points for me She sees everything with this hallucinatory clarity because it s all new to her She s not only unfamiliar with the Greek islands she s unfamiliar with Earth as a whole She s just come down from the orbital habitats known as the uplands and she s investigating a murder while trying to adjust to the appalling debilitating local gravity Oh and she s sixteen Almost After Jack she s the most vivid and most fully realised character and Roberts draws their relationship the duel of wits between a child savant and a ruthless killer with great subtlety and ultimately with great warmth and tenderness That s my opinion anyway For most of the book you re kept at a certain emotional distance from what s going on the intellectual puzzles and the amazing ideas being important than the characters inner lives But by the end you feel both for the monster and for the innocent which is an astonishing featI agree with the earlier reviewer that this is the sort of book that gets in the way of you doing anything else I finished it in two days when I really needed to be doing other things sucked in tantalised played with false footed blindsided and finally moved

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Jack Glass

He plays with the genre whatever uestions he asks of the reader Roberts never loses sight of the need to entertain Filled with wonderfully gruesome moments and liberal doses of sly humor this novel is built around three gripping HowDunnits that challenge notions of crime punishment power and freedom 25 5Jack Glass by Adam Roberts is a book that tries too much to be many things but ultimately fails in most if not all of them Here s my personal view and opinion why this is so and why I was disappointed As usual I will avoid going into too much detail describing what this book is about you can read the synopsis up there Instead I will go straight into my review Be wary this review will probably contain light spoilers but nothing too revealing uick summary A book with a very ambitious plot and ideas that suffers from frustrating characters occasionally bad writing really sketchy science and uneven paceFormatIn my e book version the book had 373 pages It is comprised of 3 parts which in effect are 3 different but eventually interconnected stories The 2nd and 3rd part contain many shorter subchapters One of my early gripes has to do with the lack of chapter waypoints in my ebook version I don t know if this problem is present in all ebook versions It made navigating back and forth a lot of trouble At the end a glossary is included very useful along with a very extensive extra part with poems and songs of the book s universe which was a nice and original feature for a SF book The narration is in 3rd person perspective and entirely in the past tenseCharactersThe main character as one would expect is Jack though he shares the spotlight for the most part with Diana Jack s character is always presented with an air of mystery and surrounded with a lot of uestion marks We are never really sure of what he is like nor even who he is in each story though that s uite easy to get after a point Even though this character is never fully developed and detailed this in a way is a bit acceptable because he is supposed to be mysterious and unknown a stranger throughout the whole novel Unfortunately Roberts fumbles big time with Jack s character at the final subchapters with a reveal and justification that I personally found totally weak and disappointing More on that later as this is also part of the plot and uite spoilerishDiana is the other main character and in a way the protagonist for most part of the novel I don t want to give away too much so I will be a bit vague but suffice to say that her characters is very weak and unbelievable in a negative way Now you see Diana has supposedly been raised and trained to be a problem solver one of the cleverest and wisest young persons in the whole system Well guess what Diana is very stupid for a clever problem solver and can t really solve anything As a matter of fact she s very ignorant of many important things like system politics and physics and sociology on the most basic level That level of lack of education is inexcusable for a high society person trained since kindergarten to be smart and know it all In a novel where she is supposed to be the main brain force the puzzle s unscrambler and the riddle s solver she is constantly out of ideas and clues relying solely on intuition and external help and guidanceSo sadly as both main characters are rather distant unrealistic unlikable and extremely hard for the reader to connect to the novel comes out short on any real attachment to the protagonists and suffers from indifference and incredulityWorld buildingLuckily world building is good enough to stand apart from the novel s other deficiencies Roberts has imagined a future where humanity is spread but still restricted to the limits of our solar system Strict hierarchical levels exist and control all life everywhere Humans have evolved sufficiently to posses many technological and biotechnological capacities and abilities though as it can be imagined those can be found in different levels and abundance throughout the social castes and classes Also as humanity has taken off Earth and most of its population lives in space in low or no g gravity the human physiology has also changed and degenerated to a suited state which presents problems to those going to 1g gravity environments All those and many are very well presented and documented by Roberts making world building the most glowing part of this novelPlot storyAnd we arrive at the plot Here is the thing Jack Glass is essentially a SF howdunit As such it is supposed to be made mostly of two major ingredients a base of typical crimemysterymurder howdunit that is the main engine and pushes the plot forward with suspense guessing and gradual revelations and a big dose of science fiction to give the novel an original and fresh taste something to amaze and awe the reader I m sorry to say that both are found lacking thought for different reasons eachThe plot the whole mystery and the way it s presented feels like a huge mess Roberts tried for something much ambitious that he could handle In a recent interviewpost Mark Charan Newton mentioned some tipsrules for writing good and proper whodunits Among those were the following 6 Don t short change the reader7 Don t make your method utterly ridiculous Roberts disregards both He continuously tries to deceive and distract the reader from guessing with erroneous information and needless tactics At the end the uestions are answered in unceremonious and bland ways often revealing either uninteresting or incredulous solutionsI also felt that occasionally there are some big holes in the plot Why some things happen and why then Not all uestions are answered or can be answered by the provided information by the end of the novel SPOILER followsview spoiler And of course how can I not mention the gravest WTF moment of the whole book the love reveal As far as justifications for actions go this one was absolutely disappointing Here is a guy who is the greatest most wanted criminal in the solar system trying for years to evade capture enduring the worst envisioning and planning system wide revolution for billions of people against the tyrannical overlords having killed many many people for the good of mankind and why does he risk so much all that at the end Because he SAYS he is in LOVE with an immature girl read kid he hardly knows BOOM There goes the rating down sorry not my fault blame Roberts There was absolutely no need whatsoever to throw that in there as a major reasonexcuse hide spoiler

Adam Roberts Ä 6 free read

Golden Age SF meets Golden Age Crime in this British Science Fiction Award winner for best novel from the author of Swiftly New Model Army and Yellow Blue Tibia Jack Glass is the murderer we know this from the start Yet as this extraordinary novel unfolds readers will be astonished to discover how This is still the best book I ve read this year I know it s only April and I read this in February and there s still a lot of time But I bloody loved it And I haven t even got to lend my copy out yet which is a travestyI found it in a way that usually turns up a lot of dross but has actually done me uite proud in the last few months which is to say in the comments section of a Guardian Online article this time on locked room mysteries Every so often I discover that someone has written a book specifically for me and they didn t even TELL me three choice golden age detective stories set in the golden age of sci fi It took me about forty five seconds to order it on and when it arrived about the same amount of time to get extremely excited about the prologue Tell me you don t love good genre savvy fiction Tell me you don t love it when someone looks you in the eye tells you they re about to trick you and does it anywayThe thing about golden age crime fiction and golden age sci fi is that the former relies on very strict rules and Getting Shit Past The Radar of readers like me who are busy being eagle eyed and trying to spot the trick in a very narrow set of variables whereas the sci fi is based on going to places and doing things that the reader isn t so familiar with In a way they ought to be at odds at any rate they should be pretty difficult to combine without betraying somebody s favouriteDon t worry Adam Roberts hasn t betrayed your favourite What Jack Glass does that makes me so happy is to tread the very fine line between them in an effort to surprise readers golden age crime often ends up resorting to pulling solutions out of its own ass so in a way both genres prime you or at least me to say Of COURSE Of course the answer is faster than light travelevil twinsthe Illuminatievil butler It s the only solution Both genres train you to view the impossible as if there s a loophole in it and I really adored the deft enthusiastic respectful way that Roberts exploits the hell out of any loophole he can findHe tells you who the murderer is in the prologue Then he promises you ll be surprised Well I was surprisedAnd besides and if anything this is the important bit it was really good fun to read I enjoyed being in this book Why has it not got recognition Why have I never heard of it or its author before Why am I not right this minute seeking out other things he s written which by the way I m absolutely going to do MORE OF THIS SORT OF THING PLEASEPlease someone else read this because I want to talk about it and I ve not got anyone to do that with Also Adam Roberts please write some things so I can buy them in hardback preferably with covers this pretty so I can prop them up on my mantelpiece when I m done


10 thoughts on “Jack Glass

  1. says:

    Beautiful cover but not at all reflective of the tone or content of the book What you're getting is a dark rather nasty series of interlocked stories set in a future of corporate dictatorships widespread poverty and minimal concern for human rights So um kind of like now actually only with advanced technology and drugs Because I read the b

  2. says:

    “A uantity of blood is spilled in this story I’m sorry to say; and a good many people die; and there is some politics too There is danger and fear Accordingly I have told his tale in the form of a murder mystery; or to be precise and at all

  3. says:

    This is still the best book I've read this year I know it's only April and I read this in February and there's still a lot of time But I bloody loved it And I haven't even got to lend my copy out yet which is a travestyI found it in a way that usually turns up a lot of dross but has actually done me uite proud

  4. says:

    BewareDon't go to Adam Roberts looking for utopian visions of the future If you want harmonious co operation post scarcity paradises or futures where humanity has forged it's nobler instincts into the foundations of Brave New Worlds look elsewhere most of Robert's books will give you screaming nightmaresIn On Earth's gravity has literally flipped ninety degrees and it's a hardscrabble borderline medieval dump In new Model Army the world is

  5. says:

    3 crimes scenes 1 manMass murderer Jack Glass is on loose and the Solar System is not safe Enveloping theoretical physics and power dynamics Roberts offers this suspense It uestions values from loyalty to the ever present does the ends justify the meansBroken down into three separate vignettes it's not immediate

  6. says:

    What a wonderful thing this book is Roberts himself describes it as arising from a desire to collide together some of the conventions of 'Golden Age' science fiction and 'Golden Age' detective fiction He does that beautifully but he does so much Does the book satisfy as a mystery One hundred per cent I'd say Of course there are three mysteries and each of them articulates in a different way And each of them pays off b

  7. says:

    Roberts' books are truly difficult to rate because there isn't anything else like them in the modern SF genre He writes beautifully really beautifully; the kind of image dense well crafted sentences that you have to read three times just to sa

  8. says:

    PrologueDear readers I fear I have to convey a terrible terrible tragedy to you The fifth rating star was murdered and now lies dead in front of you But the strangest thing is that we already know who did the killing It was a collarboration of the remaining four stars who have fled into this review It's like in the novel

  9. says:

    25 5Jack Glass by Adam Roberts is a book that tries too much to be many things but ultimately fails in most if not all of them Here’s my personal view and opinion why this is so and why I was disappointed As usual I will avoid going into too much detail describing what this book is about you can read the syn

  10. says:

    Holy wow I loved this bookThe book is in three sections and the first just sucked me in I was obsessed with the world Robe