Simply by being young and casual and undisciplined, you were ushering in a new utopia. The machine has begun to destroy itself. The machine did not destroy itself. But Reich was half-right. Instead, Consciousness III was just one early iteration of the anything-goes, post-reason, post-factual America enabled by the tsunami.
Granted complete freedom of thought, Thomas Jefferson and company assumed, most people would follow the path of reason. I remember when fantastical beliefs went fully mainstream, in the s. In came a sensational autobiography by the young spoon bender and mind reader Uri Geller as well as Life After Life , by Raymond Moody, a philosophy Ph. The book sold many millions of copies; before long the International Association for Near Death Studies formed and held its first conference, at Yale.
Many of the pioneers were thoughtful, their work fine antidotes to postwar complacency. The problem was the nature and extent of their influence at that particular time, when all premises and paradigms seemed up for grabs. Reality itself is a purely social construction, a tableau of useful or wishful myths that members of a society or tribe have been persuaded to believe.
The borders between fiction and nonfiction are permeable, maybe nonexistent. The delusions of the insane, superstitions, and magical thinking? Any of those may be as legitimate as the supposed truths contrived by Western reason and science. The takeaway: Believe whatever you want, because pretty much everything is equally true and false.
These ideas percolated across multiple academic fields. Meanwhile, over in sociology, in a pair of professors published The Social Construction of Reality , one of the most influential works in their field. Not only were sanity and insanity and scientific truth somewhat dubious concoctions by elites, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann explained—so was everything else. When I first read that, at age 18, I loved the quotation marks. The book was timed perfectly to become a foundational text in academia and beyond. A more extreme academic evangelist for the idea of all truths being equal was a UC Berkeley philosophy professor named Paul Feyerabend.
Science, he insisted, is just another form of belief. It is the principle: anything goes. This was understandable, given the times: colonialism ending, genocide of American Indians confessed, U. Who were we to roll our eyes or deny what these people believed? If all understandings of reality are socially constructed, those of Kalabari tribesmen in Nigeria are no more arbitrary or faith-based than those of college professors.
Her assigned task was to send her mind or soul out of her body while she was asleep and read a five-digit number Tart had written on a piece of paper placed on a shelf above the bed. He reported that she succeeded. Other scientists considered the experiments and the results bogus, but Tart proceeded to devote his academic career to proving that attempts at objectivity are a sham and magic is real. The rules of the scientific method had to be revised. Later he abandoned the pretense of neutrality and started calling it the consensus trance —people committed to reason and rationality were the deluded dupes, not he and his tribe.
They had so well learned that … research is subsidized and conducted for the benefit of the ruling class that they did not believe there was such a thing as simple truth. Ever since, the American right has insistently decried the spread of relativism, the idea that nothing is any more correct or true than anything else. Conservatives hated how relativism undercut various venerable and comfortable ruling ideas—certain notions of entitlement according to race and gender and aesthetic beauty and metaphysical and moral certainty.
Yet once the intellectual mainstream thoroughly accepted that there are many equally valid realities and truths, once the idea of gates and gatekeeping was discredited not just on campuses but throughout the culture, all American barbarians could have their claims taken seriously. The term useful idiot was originally deployed to accuse liberals of serving the interests of true believers further on the left. In this instance, however, postmodern intellectuals—post-positivists, poststructuralists, social constructivists, post-empiricists, epistemic relativists, cognitive relativists, descriptive relativists—turned out to be useful idiots most consequentially for the American right.
Neither side has noticed, but large factions of the elite left and the populist right have been on the same team. As the Vietnam War escalated and careened, antirationalism flowered. In his book about the remarkable protests in Washington, D. At that point the war in Vietnam would end. In , Students for a Democratic Society adopted its founding document, drafted by year-old Tom Hayden.
Then, kaboom , the big bang. Anything and everything became believable.
One Word Kill
Reason was chucked. Dystopian and utopian fantasies seemed plausible. Its members believed that they and other young white Americans, aligned with black insurgents, would be the vanguard in a new civil war. Officials at the FBI, the CIA, and military intelligence agencies, as well as in urban police departments, convinced themselves that peaceful antiwar protesters and campus lefties in general were dangerous militants, and expanded secret programs to spy on, infiltrate, and besmirch their organizations.
This furiously, elaborately suspicious way of understanding the world started spreading across the political spectrum after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Surely the Communists or the CIA or the Birchers or the Mafia or some conspiratorial combination must have arranged it all, right? Elaborate paranoia was an established tic of the Bircherite far right, but the left needed a little time to catch up. In , a left-wing American writer published the first book about a JFK conspiracy, claiming that a Texas oilman had been the mastermind, and soon many books were arguing that the official government inquiry had ignored the hidden conspiracies.
Kennedy complicit in the cover-up. The notion of an immense and awful JFK-assassination conspiracy became conventional wisdom in America. As a result, more Americans than ever became reflexive conspiracy theorists. Of course, real life made such stories plausible. The infiltration by the FBI and intelligence agencies of left-wing groups was then being revealed, and the Watergate break-in and its cover-up were an actual criminal conspiracy. Within a few decades, the belief that a web of villainous elites was covertly seeking to impose a malevolent global regime made its way from the lunatic right to the mainstream.
Each camp, conspiracists on the right and on the left, was ostensibly the enemy of the other, but they began operating as de facto allies. Conspiracy theories were more of a modern right-wing habit before people on the left signed on. A mericans felt newly entitled to believe absolutely anything. We wanted to believe in extraterrestrials, so we did. What made the UFO mania historically significant rather than just amusing, however, was the web of elaborate stories that were now being spun: not just of sightings but of landings and abductions—and of government cover-ups and secret alliances with interplanetary beings.
Those earnest beliefs planted more seeds for the extravagant American conspiracy thinking that by the turn of the century would be rampant and seriously toxic. The first big nonfiction abduction tale appeared around the same time, in a best-selling book about a married couple in New Hampshire who believed that while driving their Chevy sedan late one night, they saw a bright object in the sky that the wife, a UFO buff already, figured might be a spacecraft.
She began having nightmares about being abducted by aliens, and both of them underwent hypnosis. The details of the abducting aliens and their spacecraft that each described were different, and changed over time. Thereafter, hypnosis became the standard way for people who believed that they had been abducted or that they had past lives, or that they were the victims of satanic abuse to recall the supposed experience.
The husband and wife were undoubtedly sincere believers. That book and its many sequels sold tens of millions of copies, and the documentary based on it had a huge box-office take in By the s, things appeared to have returned more or less to normal. Civil rights seemed like a done deal, the war in Vietnam was over, young people were no longer telling grown-ups they were worthless because they were grown-ups. Revolution did not loom. Sex and drugs and rock and roll were regular parts of life.
The sense of cultural and political upheaval and chaos dissipated—which lulled us into ignoring all the ways that everything had changed, that Fantasyland was now scaling and spreading and becoming the new normal. What had seemed strange and amazing in or became normal and ubiquitous. Relativism became entrenched in academia—tenured, you could say. This kind of thinking was by no means limited to the ivory tower.
The distinction between opinion and fact was crumbling on many fronts. Belief in gigantic secret conspiracies thrived, ranging from the highly improbable to the impossible, and moved from the crackpot periphery to the mainstream. Parts of the establishment—psychology and psychiatry, academia, religion, law enforcement—encouraged people to believe that all sorts of imaginary traumas were real. We had defined every sort of deviancy down. And as the cultural critic Neil Postman put it in his jeremiad about how TV was replacing meaningful public discourse with entertainment, we were in the process of amusing ourselves to death.
The Reagan presidency was famously a triumph of truthiness and entertainment, and in the s, as problematically batty beliefs kept going mainstream, presidential politics continued merging with the fantasy-industrial complex. In , as soon as we learned that President Bill Clinton had been fellated by an intern in the West Wing, his popularity spiked. Which was baffling only to those who still thought of politics as an autonomous realm, existing apart from entertainment.
American politics happened on television; it was a TV series, a reality show just before TV became glutted with reality shows. A titillating new story line that goosed the ratings of an existing series was an established scripted-TV gimmick. The audience had started getting bored with The Clinton Administration , but the Monica Lewinsky subplot got people interested again.
Just before the Clintons arrived in Washington, the right had managed to do away with the federal Fairness Doctrine, which had been enacted to keep radio and TV shows from being ideologically one-sided. Until then, big-time conservative opinion media had consisted of two magazines, William F. Buckley Jr. For most of the 20th century, national news media had felt obliged to pursue and present some rough approximation of the truth rather than to promote a truth, let alone fictions. With the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, a new American laissez-faire had been officially declared.
If lots more incorrect and preposterous assertions circulated in our mass media, that was a price of freedom. If splenetic commentators could now, as never before, keep believers perpetually riled up and feeling the excitement of being in a mob, so be it. Instead of relying on an occasional magazine or newsletter to confirm your gnarly view of the world, now you had talk radio drilling it into your head for hours every day. Fox News brought the Limbaughvian talk-radio version of the world to national TV, offering viewers an unending and immersive propaganda experience of a kind that had never existed before.
For Americans, this was a new condition. Over the course of the century, electronic mass media had come to serve an important democratic function: presenting Americans with a single shared set of facts. And there was also the internet, which eventually would have mooted the Fairness Doctrine anyhow. In , the first modern spam message was sent, visible to everyone on Usenet: global alert for all: jesus is coming soon. Over the next year or two, the masses learned of the World Wide Web. Before the web, cockamamy ideas and outright falsehoods could not spread nearly as fast or as widely, so it was much easier for reason and reasonableness to prevail.
Before the web, institutionalizing any one alternate reality required the long, hard work of hundreds of full-time militants. In the digital age, however, every tribe and fiefdom and principality and region of Fantasyland—every screwball with a computer and an internet connection—suddenly had an unprecedented way to instruct and rile up and mobilize believers, and to recruit more.
False beliefs were rendered both more real-seeming and more contagious, creating a kind of fantasy cascade in which millions of bedoozled Americans surfed and swam. Because until then, that had not been necessary to say. Reason remains free to combat unreason, but the internet entitles and equips all the proponents of unreason and error to a previously unimaginable degree. Particularly for a people with our history and propensities, the downside of the internet seems at least as profound as the upside.
On the internet, the prominence granted to any factual assertion or belief or theory depends on the preferences of billions of individual searchers. Each click on a link is effectively a vote pushing that version of the truth toward the top of the pile of results. Exciting falsehoods tend to do well in the perpetual referenda, and become self-validating. When I Googled chemtrails proof , the first seven results offered so-called evidence of the nonexistent conspiracy. Academic research shows that religious and supernatural thinking leads people to believe that almost no big life events are accidental or random.
Eric Oliver and Thomas J. Wood, confirmed this special American connection. As a year-old, I watched William F. Today I disagree about political issues with friends and relatives to my right, but we agree on the essential contours of reality. People on the left are by no means all scrupulously reasonable. Many give themselves over to the appealingly dubious and the untrue. But fantastical politics have become highly asymmetrical. There is no real left-wing equivalent of Sean Hannity, let alone Alex Jones.
Moreover, the far right now has unprecedented political power; it controls much of the U. Why did the grown-ups and designated drivers on the political left manage to remain basically in charge of their followers, while the reality-based right lost out to fantasy-prone true believers? One reason, I think, is religion.
The GOP is now quite explicitly Christian. The party is the American coalition of white Christians, papering over doctrinal and class differences—and now led, weirdly, by one of the least religious presidents ever. I doubt the GOP elite deliberately engineered the synergies between the economic and religious sides of their contemporary coalition. But as the incomes of middle- and working-class people flatlined, Republicans pooh-poohed rising economic inequality and insecurity.
Economic insecurity correlates with greater religiosity, and among white Americans, greater religiosity correlates with voting Republican. Religion aside, America simply has many more fervid conspiracists on the right, as research about belief in particular conspiracies confirms again and again. Only the American right has had a large and organized faction based on paranoid conspiracism for the past six decades.
As the pioneer vehicle, the John Birch Society zoomed along and then sputtered out, but its fantastical paradigm and belligerent temperament has endured in other forms and under other brand names. Yes, say 34 percent of Republican voters, according to Public Policy Polling. But then the right wanted its turn to win. It pretty much accepted racial and gender equality and had to live with social welfare and regulation and bigger government, but it insisted on slowing things down. We still seemed to be in the midst of the normal cyclical seesawing of American politics.
After Reagan, his hopped-up true-believer faction began insisting on total victory. But in a democracy, of course, total victory by any faction is a dangerous fantasy. Another way the GOP got loopy was by overdoing libertarianism. Libertarianism, remember, is an ideology whose most widely read and influential texts are explicitly fiction. For a while, Republican leaders effectively encouraged and exploited the predispositions of their variously fantastical and extreme partisans.
Keeping those people angry and frightened won them elections. But over the past few decades, a lot of the rabble they roused came to believe all the untruths. But conservatism to them also meant conserving the natural environment and allowing people to make their own choices, including about abortion.
It is a great reminder of how far we have come technologically since then. How life was before the internet and m Back to the 80s A great book that hit all the right cords. How life was before the internet and mobile phones. I was not sure I would like this book as youngers with terminal disease is usually a turn off for me. Though the story of the human coping mechanism and a little help from friends, the bonds formed, and possible the likeliest band of heroes since the Goonies.
This is a great read and a trip down memory lane for any one growing in the 80s London. From places to peoples technology and tolerances. I would definitely like to know what happens next. View all 8 comments. Mar 16, John Gwynne rated it it was amazing. I absolutely loved this book.
A fantastic sci-fi reminding me of Stranger Things and the time-bending concepts of the Terminator.
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Highly recommended. Jan 14, Adam rated it it was amazing. My one line review: "I clapped after reading the last line. I do think it's best that you go into this story completely blind -- Mark Lawrence has earned enough trust where I don't have to read an advance blurb to know that his stories are'worth reading. That being said, I'll provide a few minor plot spoilers below, My one line review: "I clapped after reading the last line. That being said, I'll provide a few minor plot spoilers below, and try to only touch on overall themes, instead of major plot points.
The story is set in London during the 's, and focuses on unpopular teenager Nick who was just diagonsed with leukemia. Nick has a small group of friends that meet on weekends for Dungeons and Dragons, and we get to experience some wonderful role-playing sessions with some talented players. I was especially nostalgic during these scenes, as I spent many a weekend in a similar position. Nick and some other members of his group have exceptionally brilliant minds -- one has a brain that can solve computations in seconds, while Nick himself is a student of advanced quantum theory.
Go ahead and pre-order now, I'll wait. Lawrence has some wondeful tricks up his sleeve that underlines his exceptional writing talent. There's a jaw-dropping reveal on page one that stuck in the back of my mind throughout the entire book, and how that revelation comes to fruition is as sneaky and unexpected as it is brilliant. The book isn't that long, and its pace invites the reader to fly through it in very few reading sessions. I encourage you to try and savor it for as long as possible, as it is over much too soon.
Although it is the start of a trilogy, there is a definitive and wondefully satisfying ending. It also offers some sound and applicable life advice, which has had me smiling ever since. Great characters. Unique story. A setting that takes full advantage of what it has to offer, and a memorable ending that left me waiting impatiently for the next entry.
This story is quite literally filled with infinite possibilities, and I'm damn excited to see what else Lawrence has in store.
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Jun 09, Montzalee Wittmann rated it it was amazing. One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence and narrated by Matthew Frow is an awesome fantasy that also mixed heavy real world subjects into the plot. Then he sees a guy following him around, then protecting him, then predicting the future. It really gets wild! So much happens with each of the items or issues of his life.
This is so unpredictable and totally awe One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence and narrated by Matthew Frow is an awesome fantasy that also mixed heavy real world subjects into the plot. This is so unpredictable and totally awesome! I didn't see most of this coming! A wild ride! The narrator was terrific in keeping all the voices separate and distinct.
Well done! Jun 07, Petros Triantafyllou rated it it was amazing. Nick Hayes takes the news of his imminent death pretty well, or at least as well as any fifteen-year-old boy would. With an aggressive form of leukemia, the same disease he lost his father to a few years back, he knows that he has to live in full the last few months of his life. And what would that entail? I guess it's the best they can come up with, but it fails to capture the nature of the beast.
At arm's length a thumb obscures a small fragment of the day.
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I may have enjoyed every single published work of Mark Lawrence so far, but a Science-Fiction novel was a big departure from traditional Fantasy, and a huge risk for me since I'm not a fan of the genre. But since the setting of the story is in the past as opposed to a futuristic environment, and since it has been compared to Stranger Things which I fairly enjoyed, I thought I should give it a go. I ended up reading the whole novel, start to finish, in less than three hours yesterday night. And then I read it again today, for good measure.
I wanted to start this review by saying that this may be Mark's best work yet, but I realized I've said the exact same thing in my last 3 reviews of his books. By all accounts, Mark shouldn't be able to get better and better with every novel, since his work was perfect to begin with, but here he is, defying logic Standing at 60k words, with an insane pace and an ever-increasing momentum, One Word Kill won't let you breathe.
Due to its small size I'm not able to tell you more about the plot than what I've included in the blurb above without spoiling it, but I don't think I have to. What I can talk about is the other aspects of the book. Pace and plot I've already told you about.
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The book excels at everything else as well. Even if you're of a younger generation, with Mark's vivid imagery and lavish descriptions you won't have trouble adjusting to the 80s setting the story takes place in. Same goes with the physics that replace the magical aspect of a fantasy book. Mark presents and explains the many-worlds interpretation in an easy to follow way, but that doesn't mean it won't get complex enough in places to make you think your way through many problems and dilemmas the story presents later on. The prose combined with Mark's philosophical musings results in some quotes that will stay with you far longer than the story ever will, but I'll leave a snippet from the book to prove that to you.
You can ask them questions about this time or that time, but nowhere in the elegance of their mathematics is there any such thing as 'now'. The idea of one specific moment, one universal 'now' racing along at sixty minutes an hour, slicing through the seconds, spitting the past out behind it and throwing itself into the future You would think that 60k words wouldn't be enough to flesh out the characters but you would be wrong. Mark managed to make me care not only about the protagonist but the other characters as well in such a way that I won't forgive him for it, given the bittersweet ending.
All in all, One Word Kill is one of the best books I've read in my life, and I'm confident it will prove to be the same for you too. Feb 27, Charlie - A Reading Machine rated it it was amazing. Firstly I want to start by saying what a huge pleasure it is hearing Mark speak in such a different voice. I enjoyed the moments where I had to reread something because it was often a case of just working through the logic of a particularly mind bending piece of action and I never had to just give up and move on.
The characters are unique without being tropes and Nick, Elton, Mia, John and Simon all bring something different to the party. Elton is the Dungeon Master and someone who seems to live the game not just orchestrate it. Simon is the least brave of the group generally choosing to run instead of fight but is a true friend when it counts, Mia provides the boys with a level of trust and acceptance they had probably never experienced from the opposite sex and shows a commitment to the game that rivals anything the group has seen before.
John is a nice guy living on the wealthier side of things with a racist mum and a secret or two of his own and Nick is obviously our protagonist and we experience the events of the book from his perspective. They are a good mix and by the end of the book I felt invested in their lives and wanted to read on not to just see how the plot would continue to unfold but to see what happened to each of them as individuals.
It is pretty epic that he managed to slot some really amazing fantasy sequences into this already sensational science fiction adventure. I do have one criticism but it's a spoiler. A guy who calls himself Demus arrives and not one person seems to make the connection. I think younger readers will appreciate that they are not being molly coddled through some tough sequences as though there is some adult exclusivity on being sick.
You know where and when you are from the authenticity of the dialogue and the surrounding elements not because someone is constantly dropping pop culture references but simply because it sounds natural. As a fan of both I felt like Charlie in the chocolate factory, which would make Lawrence Willy Wonka. One Word Kill is published by 47North and is coming out on May 1st.
It will be followed very quickly by Limited Wish in June, with the final book in the series slated for release before the end of View all 7 comments. May 07, Sara rated it really liked it. Mark Lawrence can do no wrong. I devoured this story, it was just so much fun. This story follows Nick, a young boy who at the start of the story, find out he has leukemia.
The story is set in 80's London and feels authentic and nostalgic with callbacks to my own slightly later childhood. The pace of the story does not let up and keeps you hooked all of the w Mark Lawrence can do no wrong. The pace of the story does not let up and keeps you hooked all of the way through. I really really enjoyed this and can't wait to read the next one.
View all 3 comments. Jun 19, Celeste rated it really liked it Shelves: sci-fi , novella. But just as harrowing is their internal turmoil as they learn that one of their number is currently in a battle for his life against the grimmest of foes: cancer. In hospital they ask you to rate your discomfort on a scale of ten. And, like a thumb of constant size, what it blocks out depends on how close it gets to you. Held close enough to your eye it can blind you to everything that matters, relegating the world to a periphery. Nick is our main character, and we get the story from his perspective.
The story begins with his cancer diagnosis, and we see him wrestle with the horrors of chemotherapy and the knowledge that his body is turning against him. Truth may often be the first casualty of war, but dignity is definitely the first casualty of disease. However, I love reading or watching, regarding Stranger Things groups of friends who have bonded over D and D. It was similarly sweet, though not as pure. I can see that relationship becoming even more of a central focus in the next two installments. We might live in a multiverse of infinite wonder, but we are what we are, and can only care about what falls into our own orbit.
I will say that I figured out the plot incredibly early on, but the story was fun enough for me to look past that. Mar 18, preoccupiedbybooks rated it it was amazing Shelves: A really enjoyable and nostalgic adventure, with a great bunch of characters! This quite short book packed a punch, and I loved it! I had been meaning to read a Mark Lawrence book for a while now, and I'm so glad that I finally did. Firstly, the characters in this were fantastic! I loved Nick and his gang of misfits! I can see why people have been comparing this with Stranger Things because there were a few para A really enjoyable and nostalgic adventure, with a great bunch of characters!
I can see why people have been comparing this with Stranger Things because there were a few parallels. Nick was a great character, I really cared about him, and found him interesting. Every character added something to this group, and I loved their friendships! John, the cool, handsome rich one, Simon the socially awkward one with a brilliant mind and memory, Elton the play master, and Mia the new, edgy girl. I wont say much about the plot, as I don't want to spoil it for anyone, just that despite Nick finding out that he has cancer, him and his friends had to solve a mystery and save a girl, plus deal with the usual teenage dramas!
It was a really engaging read, and I had fun following the mystery, seeing what Nick and his friends would do. As Mark Lawrence is a scientist, there was a bit of quantum mechanics and maths in here too, which made me think. It was very thought provoking. So yeah this was a lot of fun, but it also did hit on some darker themes, such as terminal illness, drug dealing, violence and racial tension.
You don't wake up. And in the end you just have to get on with things exactly like everyone else does. The setting and world building felt really nostalgic to me. I remember having to sit in my mums kitchen like these characters if I wanted to talk on the landline, which was attached to the wall lol! I remember using phone boxes with my friends in the days before mobile phones. I also liked the pop culture references, like to Back to he future!
I loved that film! Like said earlier, this was a relatively short book, and it had a great pace, with short and snappy chapters. I was engaged the whole time. Shout out to Mark for not making us wait a gazillion years for the rest of the series! I so appreciate that the next book is also out this month, and the final one later this year!
That is so awesome, thank you! View all 4 comments. Apr 01, Olivia rated it it was amazing. This made me want to play Dungeons and Dragons, and after not playing Dungeons and Dragons for thirty-five years, I finally did. Partly because a friend kept nudging me, and partly because damn, now I had to. Mark Lawrence has an amazing voice, and by the end of the first page it's clear One Word Kill can only turn into a great book, and there's nothing that can stop it.
On the first page. The story is t This made me want to play Dungeons and Dragons, and after not playing Dungeons and Dragons for thirty-five years, I finally did. The story is told through Nick who is an incredibly likeable and compelling character. The rest of the cast is well developed, and I cared deeply about their relationships with each other.
Lawrence's writing is imaginative and hilarious. He's got the reader chuckling, then welling up three sentences later. The biggest theme here is friendship, but the novel has a bit of everything: The kids from Stranger Things meet Donnie Darko's time travel, topped with a healthy dose of young adults growing up in England. It's a short book, the pacing is impeccable, and it can be swallowed in one swift gulp. And the best part?
This could be a standalone. It wraps up neatly, and I actually thought it wasn't part of a series. I am pleased to hear there will be more, but people who are afraid of cliffhangers: don't be. Basically: read this, and you will love it. May 27, Bradley rated it it was amazing Shelves: shelf , ya , sci-fi. There happens to be a real-world adventure, a bit of romance, and a psychopath, but let's not forget a few closed-time-like-loops, memory alterations, and the sweetness of kissing a girl.
Ahhh, this is where the book gets really good.
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I love it. It's light, definitely YA, but it was also good in the way that really surprised me. In a deep way. The time travel bit was not a gimmick. It worked very well. Enjoy it for yourself! May 09, Robin Bridge Four rated it really liked it Shelves: stars , sci-fi , ya , reads , awesome-audio , super-sidekicks.
The kids in this remind me a little of the group of friends in stranger things. It is the 80s and they are English and there is time travel instead of the upside down. But it is a group of four boys who have been friends for most of their lives along with the new addition of Mia. We die alone and on the way we shed our attachments. There is a lot of talk about the Multiverse and Time Travel in this and I found a lot of the ideas presented very fascinating and fun to ponder. I very much enjoyed this coming of age story and the band of kids growing up together in the 80s.
Sep 18, T. Munro rated it it was amazing. It focuses on the first person point of view of one teenage boy — Nick Carter — and his companionship with his differently geeky male friends and the solitary girl who infiltrates their role playing game gatherings. And this is role playing games 80s style! For those who have only encountered RPGs through the medium of a TV screen and a console, think maybe of the TV show Stranger Things but with older teenagers — and all that entails. In One Word Kill as in Stranger Things a real adventure intrudes and intertwines with the imaginary world in which Nick and his friends strive to lose themselves and their woes, and they have plenty of woes.
Not least the fact that Nick is dying — diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. The schoolwork in which he was coasting - concealing his mathematical talent like a Ferrari ambling at low throttle through rush hour traffic — suddenly seems even less relevant. Each day differently precious, life itself suddenly fragile.
For this is a book where the fantasy stays fictional and the fiction is driven by science. This idea that - at key junctures, or indeed every juncture, the universe splits into parallel worlds - different timelines that branch out along the two or more alternative outcomes to every event. So too there are different worlds, different futures, available to Nick — one in which he survives the leukemia, and many more in which he does not.
A stranger appears offering Nick the chance to live in a version of the world where he survives the disease - provided he makes the correct choices. But at what cost to his friends and other aspects of his future? What is familiar? This is the ninth book by Mark Lawrence that I have read and the consistent standout feature of all of them has been the quality of writing. The pain… kept lifting me from the shallow pit of my dreams. She kept talking as I followed Mother out, as if the conversation were a rope and if she could only keep it unbroken I would be held by it, unable to leave.
In One Word Kill, Lawrence returns to the intimacy of first person point of view that we saw in his first six books. However, Lawrence also weaves in to the narrative the quality of companionship that lifted Nona through the trials of Red and Grey Sister. This is a book about friends standing by, with and for friends, whatever the sacrifice. What is new? Its link to the world of fantasy is preserved only through the window of the role-playing games that Nick and his friends indulge in, while the plot is driven by devices of science fiction.
Even then the science fiction remains relatively low key, a backdrop that allows engaging characters and quality writing to take centre stage. There are also the contemporary challenges and opportunities. For example the gut-wrenching male adolescent fear of dancing, the seeming impossibility of following a beat in any form of music, while at the same time hankering after the chance of a slow dance, those moments of closeness and intimacy that were the height of male ambition - or indeed comprehension - in a more innocent pre-internet age.
What it left me thinking about His own medical prognosis together with the promises and demands of the stranger haunting his footsteps, force Nick into some reflections on the nature of self and existence. We are all the product of our experience as recorded in our sometimes unreliable memories. Those experiences have conditioned our behaviours and expectations, heavily moderating the influence of mere DNA and made us definably us.
But at the same time one could ask are we really merely the memories? But is such a restoration really the preservation of self or the making of a copy? He wrote the first draft while waiting to hear if he would survive or not and kept two endings to the book in mind depending on whether his own outcome was positive or not.
In Legend too there are the mysterious monks, the thirty led by Serbitar, who can glimpse into the future, following many potential time lines yet with limited power to change which one they themselves end up following. And the final takeaway? In One Word Kill Lawrence grabs some familiar science fiction conventions by the tail and gives them his own distinctive and brilliantly written twists. Apr 26, Ron rated it liked it Shelves: sci-fi , suspense-thriller. Squeaking by with 3 stars, cause I'm in a good mood today.
View all 16 comments. The year is Little do they know that everything will change for them after the arrival of a new party member a girl! I picked up this one because I received an arc of the second book in the series. I am glad I did, because I enjoyed this more than I expected. Unfortunately, some of them are just that, ideas , and I found myself wishing more than once that the author would elaborate more on the plot knots: it gave me the impression, sometimes, that giving the potential it has this book could be much more than it is.
It still remains a very entertaining book, and even though sometimes I felt it was a little incoherent, in my opinion it has a nice plot, a humorous writing style and that British touch that gives it an undeniable charm. Apr 05, Anton rated it it was amazing Shelves: urban-mystery , also-strongly-recommended-fiction , d20 , sci-fi-alt-modern , sci-fi-fast-forward. Just re-read the ending. Bumping my rating one star up. My favourite book from Mark Lawrence.
Stranger Things meets Dark Matter. Would definitely appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman as well. It would make an awesome movie or TV series too. Give it a go ;. Jan 07, Jane Kelsey rated it it was amazing Shelves: 5-stars. I had a fabulous time reading this and have felt sadness, anger, happiness, laughter all whilst reading One word kill. Nick has a lot to deal with giving his cancer diagnosis, but what I liked about him that he has the resilience and the capacity to continue to laugh and enjoy life.
The plot was entertaining and kept me on my toes the whole time. The writing is recognisable as Mark Lawrence… dark, gritty and full of dark humour. I absolutely loved the blend of fantastical and SF elements in this novel and I cannot wait for the sequel: Limited wish due for release on the 6th of June This year sounds like an amazing year to me already! There have been many years since I felt so many emotions when reading a book and I devoured this in a few days. I loved everything about his book. One Word Kill is set in January Nick Hayes is a fifteen-year-old mathematical genius who finds out that he is dying.
The diagnosis is something that immediately draws you towards the character before you even get to know who, as a person Nick really is and, in one word, the first page of One Word Kill is impactful. However, it is never confusing. The science involved is integral to the story and Lawrence writes in such a way that it is all really interesting. The characters in One Word Kill feel real and they come to life on the pages. Not just Nick who is the main character but all of the characters from Nick through to the secondary characters through to the very minor characters with little page time too.
It shows the power of the writer and the bond that Lawrence has created between the character of Nick and the reader. The school bullies and the maniac in One Word Kill are menacing and written in such a way that you really get a sense of how threatening they are and how dangerous and deadly an encounter with them could be. Then there is Eva, the weekly chemotherapy sessions that Nick has to endure are where he meets her.
To the reader even with her limited page time, Eva is endearing and she will tug on your heartstrings. I really liked the group of friends and found them and their dynamic to be a cross between younger teenage versions of the group from The Big Bang Theory more so Nick than the others with his intellect and to a lesser extent Simon too and Adam Goldberg and his group of friends from The Goldbergs only far less wimpy, grittier and with more mettle.
At just over pages One Word Kill is only a small book but it is a remarkable book that is full of feeling packing an emotional punch and a hell of a lot into its short length. One Word Kill is like an ocean, there are hidden and unseen depths beneath the surface waiting to be discovered. It is something more than words, it is something deeper and it is a meaning that can be found through reading the book. Nick is a character that makes you care and One Word Kill a story about who you are as a person, how you act on the chances and choices that you are given, how you face what life throws at you and how you deal with adversity.
Come to the end of One Word Kill and Lawrence gives the reader a bittersweet ending and one that leaves a lasting impression. Words have a power to them, put them together you form sentences, paragraphs, pages and a story. In the right hands that power can multiply and resonate, Lawrence is the right hands and One Word Kill has that power.
Jun 01, ChopinFC rated it really liked it Shelves: sci-fi , ya , series. One Word Kill is a perfect example that great things come in small packages! Mark Lawrence does not fail to impress me, with his range, his imagination and now showcasing his sensible side in this wonderful saga of a group of teenager friends going through tough shit together! As every other reviewer has said, this book has a 'Stranger Things' vibe Netflix series with crazy additives, including time-travel, a lonely and affable boy fighting cancer, a group of best friends who find escapism in p One Word Kill is a perfect example that great things come in small packages!
As every other reviewer has said, this book has a 'Stranger Things' vibe Netflix series with crazy additives, including time-travel, a lonely and affable boy fighting cancer, a group of best friends who find escapism in playing 'Dungeons and Dragons'. Lawrence come up with ingenious story plots and unforgetable characters that will make you root for each one of these unpopular kids. It is yet the fight of their lives that will leave you yearning for more. Right from the first page, Lawrence shows his brilliance with a reveal that will later come to fruition and connect many of the odd dots.
One Word Kill is a fantastic read with great characters and unique background and along with memorable characters that gave me a strong 'E. Another stellar entry from a multi-talented author! May 27, Carrie rated it really liked it Shelves: netgalley. Review coming soon. Apr 07, kartik narayanan rated it liked it.
One Word Kill is a disappointingly average science fiction book whose saving grace is that it is authored by Mark Lawrence. So it will sell. The blurb gives away most of the story the little that there is except for a couple of twists that is foreshadowed a long way off. I suppose that if your exposure to classic science fiction is limited i. Hell, even the Terminator series offers more surprises. The problem is not that you can see these twists coming a long way off, but rather that this is all that the story seems to offer. Well, this and pop-culture references which are now an over-used device in books.
A minor nitpick I have is with the title of the story. Why not just call it Power Word Kill? I remember reading somewhere that the publishers put pressure on Mark Lawrence to change it to One Word Kill but this feels like a compromise, much like the rest of the story. So what else is there in the book? Nothing much else. I didn't feel much while reading the story and that is the problem right there. I was aware that I was reading a book. This one felt so bland. Where are the complex characters? Where is the excellent writing? Oh Well! I suppose my opinion is a going to be an unpopular one but it is what it is.
Read One Word Kill if you have nothing else to do. I would not go out of the way to read it or its sequels. View 1 comment. Dec 12, Lukasz rated it really liked it Shelves: sci-fi , time-travel. Cancer killed his father, now it tries to claim him. Together with his nerdy friends, he must unravel an impossible mystery, save 4. Together with his nerdy friends, he must unravel an impossible mystery, save the girl and stop a psycho killer.
Time-travel fascinates me and I like the way Lawrence explores the subject in One Word Kill especially when he showed what Terminator movie got right. Once again, he made a good use of his wit and ability to draw deeply relatable characters interacting in deeply human ways. The story flawlessly blends the fantastical with the all-too-mundane and spices things with occasional scientific ramblings. Readers also enjoyed. Science Fiction. Young Adult. About Mark Lawrence. Mark Lawrence. Mark Lawrence is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled.
His day job is as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in the field of artificial intelligence. He has held secret level clearance with both US and UK governments. At one point he was qualified to say 'this isn't rocket science Between work and caring for his disabled child, Mark spends his time writing, playing computer games, tending an allotment, brewing beer, and avoiding DIY. Other books in the series.