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The Memoirist

por Neil Williamson

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
207895,500 (3.79)1
In a future dominated by omnipresent surveillance, 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? When Rhian is hired to write the memoirs of Elodie Eagles, former singer with politically charged electro-rock band The HitMEBritneys, she has no idea of the dangerous path she is treading, nor the implications of her discoveries, which may well alter the course of human history... Completing the first set of NewCon Press novellas, "The Memoirist" is Neil Williamson's most ambitious work since his critically acclaimed debut novel The Moon King (shortlisted for the Robert Holdstock Award and runner up behind Anne Leckie for the BSFA Award for best novel). "Williamson's territories are the liminal experience and the murky corners of the psyche. He is a virtuoso of the fleeting glimpse, a laureate of loss." - Interzone "A talented writer who transcends genre, and should be bought, read and cherished." - Shaun Green, Yet Another Book Review… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 7 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
I enjoyed this story very much, but, as so often happens with novellas, I felt that the ending was too rushed after a very well-crafted setup. I would have liked it better if the author had taken more time to let the resolution develop.

At the beginning of the story, the protagonist/first-person narrator has fully bought in to the surveillance state that she lives in. She claims to be perfectly comfortable with having her every move observed and critiqued by society at large. I thought the author did a good job of conveying the feeling that the character has not really thought deeply about the larger issues involved in this near-total lack of privacy. Even when her mother expresses objection to it, the protagonist pooh-pooh's them (much as people have dismissed their parents' opinions since the dawn of human history). So in some sense she is willfully blind to the implications, which would have been interesting to explore a bit more.

By the end of the story, after everything that the protagonist has experienced, she does a turnaround; she comes to recognize the pitfalls of having everyone know everything you've ever done. But I felt that this evolution of the character's thinking was short-changed by the format. A novel-length story would have given the author more opportunity to really delve into the gradual process of the character's coming to understand the nuances of the situation. We also could have gotten more of a look at how the character's profession has affected her viewpoint; as a memoirist, her whole job is all about uncovering people's secrets, and in a world where it's harder and harder to keep secrets, obviously that changes how she sees things.

Overall an interesting and thought-provoking read. ( )
  mamajoan | Jul 5, 2017 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
The memoirist is quite well written.
It started off a bit slow, and I thought I wouldn't get into it, but by the end I was hooked.

Imagine a society where your every move outside the privacy of your bedroom is available 24/7 for anyone to watch.
Where privacy is a thing of the past.

This is the base premise of the book, and builds on this by introducing the main character, a ghost writer who is hired to write a memoir of an aging singer. In her hunts for elusive video evidence, the main character gets doxxed and is threatened with arrest.
Bring into the mass quantum universes and the ability to connect them all, and mix it all up with some great writing, and you have The Memoirist.

I originally thought this book was a stand-alone book, not the 4th book in a series! ( )
  daleala | Jul 4, 2017 |
This is the fourth and final novella in NewCon Press’s new series of novella quartets (I wonder where they could have got that idea from?). These first four are straight-up sf, so I will admit to some surprise at seeing Neil Williamson’s name, since he’s not known for straight-up sf. But, thankfully, The Memoirist certainly qualifies as that, and even better, it’s a pretty damn good piece of straight-up science fiction. A ghost writer is hired to write the memoirs of the lead singer of a long-since defunct rock band that had a Moment a couple of decades previously. That Moment was at a near-legendary gig in a small club, of which no recordings or footage exists. And yet the myth of the gig overshadows what meagre impact the band itself ever had. In this world, ubiquitous “bees” provide 24/7 surveillance… but it seems that mythical gig triggered something which led to a new type of “bee”… and to say any more would give the plot twist away. I’ll admit I thought the mystery dragged out a little, but the way the plot then shifted into left-field more than made up for it. I enjoyed this, a good piece of near-future sf, almost McLeod-esque in places, with an interesting premise and an in interesting, and nicely oblique, approach to that premise (okay, it was a little Espedair Street too, but that’s hardly a complaint). Good stuff. ( )
  iansales | Jun 22, 2017 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
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 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
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 |
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In a future dominated by omnipresent surveillance, 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? When Rhian is hired to write the memoirs of Elodie Eagles, former singer with politically charged electro-rock band The HitMEBritneys, she has no idea of the dangerous path she is treading, nor the implications of her discoveries, which may well alter the course of human history... Completing the first set of NewCon Press novellas, "The Memoirist" is Neil Williamson's most ambitious work since his critically acclaimed debut novel The Moon King (shortlisted for the Robert Holdstock Award and runner up behind Anne Leckie for the BSFA Award for best novel). "Williamson's territories are the liminal experience and the murky corners of the psyche. He is a virtuoso of the fleeting glimpse, a laureate of loss." - Interzone "A talented writer who transcends genre, and should be bought, read and cherished." - Shaun Green, Yet Another Book Review

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