Read The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin Eytan Kollin Online

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The Unincorporated Man is a provocative social/political/economic novel that takes place in the future, after civilization has fallen into complete economic collapse. This reborn civilization is one in which every individual is incorporated at birth, and spends many years trying to attain control over his or her own life by getting a majority of his or her own shares. LifThe Unincorporated Man is a provocative social/political/economic novel that takes place in the future, after civilization has fallen into complete economic collapse. This reborn civilization is one in which every individual is incorporated at birth, and spends many years trying to attain control over his or her own life by getting a majority of his or her own shares. Life extension has made life very long indeed.Now the incredible has happened: a billionaire businessman from our time, frozen in secret in the early twenty-first century, is discovered and resurrected, given health and a vigorous younger body. Justin Cord is the only unincorporated man in the world, a true stranger in this strange land. Justin survived because he is tough and smart. He cannot accept only part ownership of himself, even if that places him in conflict with a civilization that extends outside the solar system to the Oort Cloud.  People will be arguing about this novel and this world for decades....

Title : The Unincorporated Man
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765318992
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 479 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Unincorporated Man Reviews

  • Stefan
    2019-01-05 06:33

    This novel offers a really interesting and innovative SF concept: in the future, every person is incorporated upon birth. Twenty percent of the shares go to the parents, five percent goes to the government, the rest can be sold by the owner for education, possessions and so on. You can buy and sell someone's shares as an investment, for charity, even as a hostile act. Reaching "self-majority" - owning the majority of your own shares - is similar to becoming independently wealthy in today's world. The entire future society is based on this basic economic concept. I thought it was a fantastic idea and was really excited about the novel.Unfortunately the brothers Kollin ruined this inventive idea with some really poor writing and plotting. It's a classic example of great concept, poor execution. At the start of the novel, the cryogenically frozen body of Justin Cord, a 21st century billionaire is found and revived. Justin becomes something completely unique: an unincorporated man. The early part of the novel describes Justin's exploration of the brand new world he finds himself in: new societal values, new economy, new morals, new technology. This is probably the best part of the novel. However, after this relatively entertaining start, the novel takes a turn for the worse.Part of the problem lies with the authors' writing skills. Dialogues veer from paragraph-long lectures to feeble and sometimes crude attempts at humor. Most characters are cardboard-thin. The plot has a childlike simplicity complete with forbidden love interest and evil mastermind. In addition, parts of the book read like a libertarian manifesto. Whether you subscribe to that ideology or not, its representation here is extreme and, frankly, crude - e.g. the word "taxes" is practically a curse, and you'll find things like "can you believe governments were allowed to manage currencies in the past?". I found it truly depressing that such a great concept could be so badly handled. To make matters even worse, the novel completely falls apart in the last 100 pages or so, throwing a huge new concept in the mix completely out of the blue and then leading to a resolution that wouldn't be out of place in a B movie or a comic book. I don't want to go into detail to avoid spoilers - all I can say is that I was literally shaking my head in astonishment. Before reading the end of the novel, I was ready to give this book two stars, simply because the concept of personal incorporation is so fresh and new. However, the conclusion is so botched that I have to rate this one star.

  • JulesQ
    2019-01-02 11:26

    So, I think I liked this book a lot better while I was reading it than once I was done -- it might just be because the first half was like 42 times better than the second half. And once it was done I was left feeling very unsatisfied, and I think there are a couple of reasons for this.The premise of the book is that in the future, people are like individual corporations which can buy and sell percentages of their earnings -- the government gets an automatic 5%, parents get 20%, and the rest you can sell to pay for schooling, training, stuff, etc. Throughout the book various characters give various reasons for why this is a grand way to go. And then there's the one dude, who basically time travels without being part of the incorporated system and starts whining about slavery and freedom and *minor spoiler alert* starts a revolution.So, problem the first: I actually think that self-incorporation isn't that terrible an idea -- a significant problem with this future society is that it's involuntary, but I think that voluntary incorporation in exchange for currently unreachable benefits is not the worst idea anyone ever had. Especially given that people can eventually buy back their stock. This probably makes me a terrible person, since despite the fact that many people make many logical arguments for the system, it's obvious that you, as the reader, are supposed to have an automatic pro-"freedom" gut reaction that makes you disregard any of those arguments as automatically slavery. But seriously, especially given that at least initially 75% of your stock is yours to sell, incorporation actually isn't that much like slavery after all -- maybe more like indentured servitude, but I don't think indentured servitude was the worst idea anyone had either. Bleh. Also, I think you are supposed to have an automatically negative gut reaction to big, bad corporations. And I don't. I don't think that profit seeking behavior in corporations is inherently evil. I don't think corporate boards who direct such profit seeking behavior are evil. But, apparently you're supposed to.Problem the second: The book has a really annoying habit of building detailed back stories for characters who matter for about six seconds in the book. Like this reporter who's sole function is to report the arrival of the Unincorporated Man and then later get another special interview for him gets seriously like 20 pages of back story -- which, granted, also SORT OF reveals something about another absent character, but not really. Related to this, the book starts to wander off into subplots that end up having nothing to do with anything. For example *spoiler alert* it turns out that the AI entities in the book ARE REAL INTELLIGENCES!!! AND THEY HAVE A MEETING! IN WHICH THEY DECIDE THAT THEY AREN'T GOING TO AFFECT THE PLOT OF THE BOOK!!! I'm not even kidding. Why are you even in this book HAL-like intelligences? (It turns out that there's going to be a sequel, so maybe they will matter then?)Problem the third: This was obviously a first novel. There were also sentences that would occasionally jar, a backstory to the creation of the incorporated system that didn't seem to connect well, and some other minor stuff. But I enjoyed reading it -- the premise is thought-provoking enough, and it engaged me enough to get me through many, many hours of air travel with its accompanying annoyance.

  • Cass
    2019-01-17 08:17

    Storyline: 2 starsCharacter likeability: 1 starWorld building:4 starsAmerican propaganda: -1starThree hundred years in the past a rich man has himself cryogenicly frozen and sealed away somewhere safe. He is reanimated into a future world where every individual is incorporated. Parents own a 20% stock in there kids. Shareholders vote on major decisions for an individual. I really like the premise. It is incredibly interesting, especially when we learn about "penny stocks" and the chairman who wants to own all of his stock again. As I read I kept wondering why this book wasn't better known, but I knew the answer by the end. The author is very heavy-handed in his love for his country, I began rolling my eyes. I could see the "I love America" shirt that I am sure the author was wearing as he typed. The twin towers rhetoric is gets a bit old. 300 years into the future it is the most talked about historical event.... A very american book, not to downgrade the sadness of the attack, it wasn't as significant to the rest of the world."The main character is arrogant. So arrogant that he ignites a civil war by refusing to become part of the new world, instead he doggedly tries to change it all back to the way it was in his lifetime, 300 years earlier. I am still not sure whether we are supposed to think this or wether we are supposed to agree with him. Is this American "middle of the world" arrogance again?". The author seems compelled to tell us just how wonderful 20th century America is. Even at the end of the book I still didn't like the main character. He was alright, but he was so wrong but he didn't know it. I don't think the author even knew it. I half expect every American reader not to know it (hope I am wrong). I kept reading simply because I really enjoyed the way this economy worked. The storyline was superfluous.

  • Stephen
    2018-12-30 09:38

    4.0 to 4.5 stars. Excellent debut novel. It is always nice when a truly unique idea comes along and the central idea of this book is certainly that. A great piece of libertarian science fiction from a fresh new voice (or voices). I look forward to this duos next book. Recommended.

  • Ben Babcock
    2019-01-06 09:14

    Do you have a brick wall handy? Because hitting your head against that would be a more productive and more enjoyable experience than listening to The Unincorporated Man as an audiobook. This was the only format in which it was available through my library. Audiobooks are not my preferred format for reading. They can definitely be great if you have good material and a good narrator. The narrator here, Todd McLaren, wasn’t bad—but even he couldn’t make this book sound interesting. Even at 2.5x speed it took me a week to get through this, because I did not want to subject myself to yet another sermon. I only finished it because I knew I would enjoy writing this review—call it necessary catharsis—and, yeah, I kind of wanted to see how it ended.The Kollins’ writing … let’s see, how can I best describe this? Imagine Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein having a dinner party together. (They each brought their own meal because it’s in their enlightened self-interest not to take food from their own mouths to share with another. Little did they know that they would suffer from food poisoning because the unregulated food market cut corners.) Terry Goodkind would be proud of the length of some of the speeches in this book.Surprisingly it isn’t the philosophy itself that makes The Unincorporated Man so unequiovcally awful. I’m not as libertarian as Justin Cord or, presumably, his authors—but I certainly balk at the idea of personal incorporation. I share Justin’s repugnance at the idea of owning stock in another human being, collecting dividends on their earnings, having a say in where they live. The Kollins chose a great time in which to write and publish this book, because I am one of many people concerned about the way in which corporations exercise their power in our society. Personal incorporation might sound silly right now, but this is a dystopia I could see happening in one of our possible futures. So in this respect, the Kollins have certainly created a credible bogeyman.But their terrible writing ruins any chances the book has of being compelling science fiction.I am reminded of For Us, the Living, a Heinlein novel I read in my halcyon youth long before Goodreads. I don’t remember much about it, except that younger!Ben was super-impressed by Heinlein’s economic philosophies that appeared to create a utopian future. I suspect that present!Ben would be less impressed were I to revisit it. Superficially, The Unincorporated Man is strikingly similar: a man wakes up after a few centuries of stasis and discovers a supposedly “better” world with radically different economic policies. He then spends most of the book being lectured by a female companion, who is happy to explain not only the differences but the intricate details of how the systems function and how they came about.It has been a long time since I’ve seen such a textbook example of terrible exposition. Justin, understandably, has a question about how this brave new world works. His companions don’t deliver the simple, curt answer one might expect. Oh, no. They initiate multi-page Socratic dialogues. Scenes that should be short and sweet play out like first-year university lectures on political science or economic game theory. Every character in this book is incredibly well-versed in the economic underpinnings of their society and willing to spout on about those underpinnings at length to Justin without much prompting whatsoever. The end result is that one can’t get more than a page or so ahead without hearing a lecture about how market forces are superior to government intervention or blah … blah … blah.Look, the point of a philosophical novel is to edify through the plot and characters, not use them as transparent mouthpieces. Only Sophie’s World can get away with that shit, and that’s because it’s Norwegian and awesome, OK?The Kollins also make the classic Goodkind mistake of letting their hero make big speeches about how his libertarian views are inherently superior to everyone else’s. Also, this gives him the moral superiority that allows him to ignore explicit threats to his friends and loved ones and shrug off any possibility that they might be harmed because he does whatever the fuck he wants—’cause he’s a libertarian badass, yo. Justin Cord could give Richard Rahl a run for his money with some of these speeches about how it’s tyranny to force an individual to do anything “for the greater good”. So what if Neela or Omad get hurt in the process? At least he has his principles!Seriously, by the end of the book I was actually hoping Justin would give in and incorporate. I hate the idea of incorporation, but I was starting to feel uncomfortable hanging out with this guy. He strikes me as the sort of person who would let the Joker blow up that boat of refugees just because he doesn’t want to let the Joker impose his will on Justin. (I know Justin explicitly condemns violent acts, but he seems fuzzy about this whole violence through inaction concept.)Related to this pervasive problem of infodump is the Kollins’ inexcusable abuse of the omniscient narrator to compound the problem with yet another layer of exposition. As a fan of Victorian novels, I’m more used to the omniscient narrator than readers of more modern novels might be. Yet even I was shocked by the heavy-handed way in which the Kollins use their narrator to flesh out characters’ backgrounds, thoughts, and feelings. Much in the same way that a single question from Justin could trigger pages of explanation, a single, unasked question from the reader would somehow prompt the narrator to go on—at length—about history or politics or current events.The one lesson about writing you must take away from The Unincorporated Man is that less is more. The hard part about writing is not transmitting information to the reader but deciding what information to leave out to make the story work. The Kollins clearly haven’t mastered this yet.Speaking of narration, can we talk about how, upon introducing a new character, the narrator immediately comments about their appearance? I don’t mean the narrator describes how the character looks; the narrator gives a judgement about the character’s looks and sex appeal. The women are invariably objectified through the male gaze. I question the Kollins’ conviction that cheap and abundant nanotechnology means everyone is going to be young and beautiful—if anything, it seems to me like that’s a recipe for allowing people to “let themselves go,” secure in the knowledge that nanites can fix them up and make them beautiful again at any point. But that’s their choice, of course, and I digress. I just wish they could introduce a woman without talking about how she’s, you know, average-level good looking for that society, but people would totally sleep with her anyway. Thank you, so much, for that crucial information.I was looking for a book that imagined a future in which corporate capitalism has been taken even further than it has in our world. The Unincorporated Man is such a book. It is also boring, terribly written, and not worth your time.I leave you with a rare image, because the Robot Devil really does say it best:

  • Rose
    2019-01-09 10:43

    This was a totally original idea made into an interesting story. I really like the concept of being able to incorporate a person. Work hard to try to buy your outstanding shares to thus own a majority and then be able to control your own life. You can never own all as the Government owns a mandatory 5%. You can buy shares in other people who you believe are a good investment. Your earning are then paid out as dividends, so the more of your own shares you own, the more of your income stays with you. It all makes sense to me, but since investing in shares is part of what I do for a living, I understood the concept fully. The part that I thought was odd was probably the part that everyone was rooting for. The Unincorporated man refuses to incorporate. He wants his "freedom". Thus a revolution is on the horizon where others also want their "freedom". In my thinking, everyone, regardless of when they live, has to pay for certain things in life whether they want to or not. Roads, streetlights, police and fire, etc. They are currently paid via taxes but in this future, they are paid via dividends from shares the Gov't owns of every citizen. To be unincorporated means others have to pay for these benefits for you. Somehow, I have found myself solidly on the side of the antagonists. This has never happened before. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series although I know I seem to be rooting for the losing side. It's not that I like the "bad" guys, but I believe in what they believe in more so than the side of the freedom revolutionists.

  • Nick
    2018-12-26 09:38

    First, thank you to Ayn Rand for not writing her 'economic libertarian' novels in a series, (e.g. imagine reading the last page of Atlas Shrugged Library Edition Part 2..."stay tuned for Ann's continuation of the Atlas saga, _Atlas Itched_!") The only serious disappointment was the author's inability to complete this in a single volume. Having said that, the Kollin brothers are a very clear major new voice in science fiction, very welcome. This novel could be a nominee for the nebulas or hugos next year, it's that good. Great characterization, nice world-building around libertarian economics. Very well done.

  • Bridget
    2019-01-12 03:33

    Fascinating. While the protagonist was largely frustrating, I love that this book brought some fresh ideas to a genre largely in need of them. The concept that in the future people own shares in you & your future earnings was highly original. I love that a guy from our time who cryogenically froze himself wakes up in a future as the only person who isn't incorporated ie no one owns stock in him. The book did a great job of showing both sides of the coin for why society & individuals should & shouldn't have a stake in a persons future & future earning potential. While I wanted to yell at the protagonist many times, it was a compelling read and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a thought provoking sci-fi read

  • David
    2019-01-03 08:22

    A friend of mine entreated me to read a book, but I just can't slog through it. The book is The Unincorporated Man by Dani and Eytan Kollin. I made it about 1/3 of the way through.The basic premise is that in the future, people will all be their own corporations, and their shares will be available to be bought and sold by others on the open market. Interesting! Then, a particularly old person (Justin) comes out of cold-sleep such that he is the only person in the world who is not actually incorporated. Okay, I think I might have read this before (brave new world, when the sleeper wakes, etc), but it's still a good plot device to get things started, and this can provide a good point-of-view character with which to explore Prospero's island.There are two major deficiencies with the work as a novel. First, the authors' craft of writing needs work; this is a first novel, and it shows a LOT. The exchanges are heavy on dialogue, and the narration is multiple-first-person-omniscient - it reads more like a TV series bible than like a novel to me. I think the work might have been better envisioned as a series of short stories focusing on Justin. There are a lot of "gee-whiz"isms in place which are powered by handwavium. The problem with this is that instead of merely being part of the warp and weft of the fabric of daily life, they are called out and then hand-waved away, often with a knowing smirk toward the barbarians of the early 21st century. A couple of those snarks were amusing (you're mentally deficient? at least you didn't go to Harvard...), but they get old. Also, there are some surprising errors given the premise above (i.e. a person whose stock has fallen leveraging everything he has to buy up his own shares would not be engaging in "selling short" - that's describing a long position, not a short one). In any case, the writing shows promise but could definitely use more polish.Second, Justin himself is someone who is drawn from the Gilbert Gosseyn / Lazarus Long / James Bolivar DiGriz school of over-competent heroes, but unfortunately the more I saw of him the less I liked him. I think this may come from the challenge of writing the Übermensch as a protagonist - he's too good at seeing through the society in which he finds himself. Anyway, I look forward to checking out their next book.

  • Will
    2019-01-02 04:41

    This book... made me itch.It reads like a 1950s potboiler. The characters are cardboard stereotypes. The plot is hackneyed. And the central conceit, a system of incorporation, is a problem, because a) it's silly (WHY was this solution considered? HOW did it get introduced?) and b) social forces would have acted far sooner to challenge the central premise, without requiring the figurehead. The ridiculous figurehead. Justin Cord is basically John Galt, frozen and petrified. The book reads like Ayn Rand fanfic, and the only bits which are truly original and compelling -- the VR plagues and the destruction of the old world -- are sidelined for a truly stupid fight between Justin and Hektor. And most of the time I was rooting for Hektor. If anything Hektor is the real protagonist in the novel, because he's fighting for a system he believes in against the inexorable force of the plot. I think part of the reason I dislike this book so much is because it could have been great. The writing could have been better. The protagonist could have been more human (no-one gets to be Justin Cord without a little collateral damage), and the female interest could have been less of a cardboard cutout. The sidekick could have been anyone but a salty down to earth miner. More than that, the society isn't fully thought out -- yes, the VR precepts argue against true insanity, but a world 300 years in the future would resemble something out of Transmetropolitan than it would anything a present day human would understand.As it is, it's a book by people who aren't writers, who make up a straw world, argue against a system that doesn't even hold up to cursory examination, then want you to act surprised when a godlike marysue character makes it falls over. Unimpressed.

  • Tyler Quick
    2019-01-05 06:41

    Two stars may be generous for this book. It is a thinly veiled piece of ideological propaganda masquerading as an intellectual sci-fi thriller. It not only fails to meet its ideological goal by relying on a plethora of logical fallacies, but also disappoints artistically.Let's begin with the ideological critique. The Kollin brothers are obviously Ayn Randites, the kind of young, intelligent, straight, white dudes that probably voted for Ron Paul and wish that "everyone would just think logically" and become libertarians just like them, missing the irony that their version of libertarianism is hegemonic, imperialistic and denies the multiplicity of realities. The world they have created seems less like a libertarian utopia and more like a post-apocalyptic cult to me. The citizens of the new "incorporated" Earth blindly believe in the "benefits" of incorporation, including those who don't stand to gain at all and are--in fact--objectified and enslaved by the system. We have to take this at face value because we aren't even exposed to any characters who aren't wealthy, with the exception of the miner who is mostly sarcastic and there for comic relief. To say that the book is classist might be an understatement. It glorifies wealth and portrays wealthy people as being superior(more on that in my artistic critique). I would also contend that the book is sexist, racist, and homophobic in that it glosses over the differences in opinions that women and people of color and queer people might have about the new laissez-faire world order. The authors would probably argue that "illogical" homophobia and sexism and racism have been eliminated from their fictional world, but then I wonder why it is that only white, straight men are in positions of power? Why is it that only women are sexually objectified in this world? Why is it that cultural differences from American capitalist culture are portrayed as either having been assimilated or non-existent? Furthermore, their assertion of the superiority of this new world order that they have created is completely faulty, built on wide platitudes like "obviously socialism is a failure" that cannot be argued against since the premise that they rest upon is a personal opinion that cannot be proven wrong. They don't counter with any critiques of libertarianism and laissez-faire capitalism, instead just dismissing them. This fits well into my critique of "book for wealthy, straight, white dudes by wealthy, straight white dudes." I would say that this tendency manifests itself most strongly in the personage of Justin Cord, the protagonist, who is arrogant and utterly unlikable. As someone who is not a fan of the world's neo-neoliberal order, I should be rooting for Justin, who is the only person fighting against it that I can see. However, he comes off to me as a smug white guy who apparently needs no outside input from anyone and is so perfectly competent in comparison to an incompetent world. He is emotionally stunted in development and reacts to adversity almost exclusively with petty emotions such as the desire for vengeance and, in many cases, violence. None of the characters are people that anyone who has struggled with any sort of adversity, especially adversity against the tyranny of capitalism in the modern world, (read: everyone except the 1%) can relate with in any way. In all, this book was a pump piece for an ideology which has no place in the modern world because of how it rests only on the "rationality" of a small segment of society and refuses to debate its naysayers, instead dismissing them as inferior. It negates and dismisses the multiplicity of experiences of the poor, people of color, queer people, and women. It fails as an ideological exercise and is quite uninspiring as art. I would not recommend this book to anyone with a critical thought in their head.

  • Leah
    2019-01-05 08:24

    Oh boy. Okay. This is the longest it's taken me to read a book in quite a long time, and I waffled on the rating for one very specific reason: it's legitimately hard for me to tell if I'm just really not the intended audience for this book, or if the book is, in fact, bad. I'm leaning towards that second option, but not everyone's going to agree with that assessment.Here's the reason: I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy that has messages that I'm not on board with. For example, I loved "Ender's Game," and it definitely promotes imperialism and colonization. A lot of SFF does. But books and characters with moral and sociopolitical centers that I don't share aren't inherently bad. Oftentimes, the contrast with my own character helps me assess my own boundaries. There can be positive takeaways in stories that don't resonate with the reader.So with all of that said, it was a serious chore to get through "The Unincorporated Man." Not only does it read like propaganda all the way through (think "Looking Backwards" by Bellamy, if you're familiar with that one), but it's also exceedingly self-congratulatory. Every western sci-fi staple is here: nanotech (construction, body modification, assemblers that can create custom interior spaces), space travel, terraforming, Mars colonization, walls that open and close instead of actual doors, VR, AIs, robot waiters, magnetic elevators, reverse-aging, flying cars, megacorps... all of it's slammed into a future vision that manages to be both too busy and too generic. This is meant to take place 300 years after "present day," and also after a society-ending event that pulled the fabric of human civilization apart. That is TOO MANY THINGS to develop in 300 years even without a global collapse. Too. Many. Things.The authors seem very proud of themselves for all of the things they made up. And that's okay, but the off-putting thing to me is how evident it feels. Instead of letting the reader rest inside Justin's perspective and learn the world (and this is the perfect type of story and the perfect type of protagonist to do this with), they go with third-person omniscient. This allows them to explain all the cool stuff in their world, including all the things that Justin doesn't understand or doesn't notice. Justin is a reader vehicle for some of it, but the authors just can't resist throwing the rest of it in, too. I admit that I've never enjoyed perspective-jumping within a single scene (I'd rather follow a single perspective at a time instead of knowing what all the characters in a conversation are thinking), but using it in this way made it a bit worse.I've written a lot so far. Are you ready to read more? Because I've got more. The way that the authors have written their story and their characters makes me think that they haven't had many conversations with actual human women. This sounds unkind, since at least one of the authors is married and has children, but it really... doesn't seem that way. It's like they made a sincere effort to write female characters who are in positions of power (doctors, lawyers, corporate accountants, etc.), but didn't have a great understanding of how to portray them convincingly. High-powered women in this book are prone to emotional outbursts, but I suppose it's good that the word "hysterical" isn't used as many times as it clearly could have been. A point is always made about physical beauty even when it's not particularly relevant, and there are a couple of scenes that really stand out as Two Straight Guys Wrote This and This is Their Fantasy (I will refer to them as Lawsuit Breast Fondle and Sexy Mardi Gras Devil--if you've read, you know what I'm talking about). Most of the male characters address at least one female character as "my dear" in conversation (repeatedly), most of the female characters take being ogled as a compliment, and I was definitely done with the use of the term "his lover" after... let's be honest, the first time it appeared on the page. The men in the book tend towards "man's man" behaviors: marching purposefully into rooms, smoking cigars, corporate scheming, standing in tall buildings, and waxing poetic about Very Old Scotch That Rich Guys Like.So, gender representation here is very reminiscent of Heinlein's novels overall. There are allusions to non-hetero and poly folks in more-or-less neutral terms (implying that they're socially accepted), but that's just background detail. Every on-page character is either a hetero-coded Red Blooded Male or a hetero-coded femme woman. I'd like to state here that I've read plenty of books that only have straight characters in them (most of them gender-normative), but I minded less in most of those cases because it wasn't so obvious. If you're tossing in references to LGBTQ+ folks as background scenery, it kinda puts a spotlight on the fact that none of them are in the foreground. They're window-dressing, not people.If you're still with me by this point, you're probably at a similar place where I ended up: you are not the target audience for this book. I'm certainly not. It's cool if you want to write sci-fi that's 100% straight male power fantasy, but wow... it's hard for me to read that without a lot of eye-rolling. This book reads like it belongs in the 60s, and will probably turn away all but the most enthusiastically libertarian rugged individualists. (Or, you know, readers who power through just to see what happens.) The only people I can recommend this to in good conscience are, in fact, Libertarians, fans of Ayn Rand, and folks who think that Heinlein really nailed positive female representation in his novels. If you are in one of these groups, go wild. You will love this book. It is very much your jam.If none of those things describes you, I'd recommend giving this one a miss. The concept is kind of neat, but everything built around it is painful. And keep in mind... I didn't even really drill down here on all the reasons why Justin Cord is a ridiculous character. Based on all the context here, though, you can probably make a pretty educated guess.

  • CV Rick
    2018-12-29 05:15

    The Unincorporated Man is an idea story and at its heart it's a good idea forming the basis. The problem is that the novel is plagued with every writing, plotting, and character mistake for which idea novels are known.The gist of it is that a man from our time is awakened after a three-century cryogenic sleep and thrust into a society of complete corporatocracy – where governments have no power and all the rules are made by corporations, which are so pervasive that every person, from birth, is incorporated and dreams of the nearly unattainable: owning a majority shares of themselves. The Problems:#1 – The novel is an elaborate strawman. It sets up an argument between Libertarianism and Corporatocracy without considering merit in any other line of thought in the political spectrum. It's as if you had a present-day debate between the far far right and the way-out wacko right for the direction of the nation. That this strawman exists, in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the authors refused to entertain that any other viable systems could exist or could have survived a complete societal collapse that they wrote was predicated on a uneconomic basis. (That is, of course, unless one argues that everything is economics at its core.)#2 – The Protagonist, Justin Cord, is perfect. This is one of my biggest pet peeves and it lives in hack genre books. Of course he was a billionaire, a genius, and a very handsome man. Every setback for Justin Cord is only an opportunity to acquire more wealth in a way that turns out better than his original plan, every person entering his life makes him stronger, better, more complete, and every goal is obtained by the model of all that is right and holy about rich, white, American ingenuity. Dear God I wanted to vomit. The Self-Made Man!! Every cliché ever uttered by unimaginative ideologues permeated the pages of this book. This is Ayn Rand's John Gault or Henry Reardon thrown into the Utopia of his adolescent wet dreams, and if that isn't bad enough, it's a schlocky second-rate story next to the mother of objectivism. #3 – There is no characterization. Not really. These are cardboard stereotypes at their worst. The good guy is never bad. The bad guy is never good. Their actions are straight out of Tea-Party fairy tales. The women are beautiful, the men have square jaws and broad shoulders and the children are above average. I just wanted one single character who broke the mold, who wasn't either the genius, the babe, the self-interested obstacle, or the pleasant but competent comic relief. Shuffle up the stock characters and deal them out again!There are plenty of other problems, but you get the idea. I didn't like the book even though it held my interest, and that's something I'll admit. It was like watching a bullfight and hoping for the never-to-come goring. Save your money, and your time.

  • Jane
    2019-01-17 08:13

    The first half of this book had such great promise. The idea of a future where everyone is incorporated and you buy/sell shares of each other and the resulting society with all of its pros (even the poor can get decent housing) and cons (shareholders can petition for you to undergo a psychological audit if they think you've gone crazy). The protagonist, Justin, wakes up 300 years after being cryogenically frozen (during what could be our current present), into a world where incorporation is the norm but he is not. Justin just happens to be a reasonably intelligent and filthy rich businessman in his past and in the novel's present who uses his knowledge and his friends to try to avoid being forced to incorporate by the mega corps that control the entire economy. Obviously having an unincorporated man who wants to stay unincorporated and tries to get everyone else to believe the same is dangerous to the way the world works now.Unfortunately, that's all the praise I have for the book. The second half devolves into this mess where fairly important characters end up doing things that have no relevance whatsoever to the story (like Manny Black's relationship) and Justin is just mired in legal battles where he gets saved by some obscure knowledge all orchestrated by certain people who are out to get him (or are they?). Okay, I can live with this constant "not knowing something important to the case and then finding out some bizarre way to win" thing going on...but the ending!The ending is one hell of a deus ex machina where Justin and company just happen to be at the right place at the right time (why they had to meet like that, who knows), Hector does something that is completely the opposite of the way he's been taunting and annoying people before, and somehow that's supposed to satisfy you. What?! While the ending was predictable (you really only had two options, and there was no way Justin would incorporate), what the heck is that? I was so disappointed to see that situation play out so quickly and so stupidly. It's not a good love story ending, it's not a good revenge-filled ending, it's at most a mediocre attempt to wrap up all the loose ends to get to the future Justin's plans to change the world.Ultimately it wasn't a bad read, it was just not as good as it could have been.

  • Nathaniel
    2018-12-25 07:40

    This is what a science-fiction novel should be.First of all: the book has Big Ideas. The biggest one is the idea of individual incorporation. Every human being is a corporation, and people and businesses can buy and sell stock in other people and other businesses. The authors do a great job of explaining what this system might look like along with truly creative and insightful socio-economic exploration of the consequences. That idea alone would have been enough for a novel, but they cram several other ideas in as well like the potential dangers of virtual realities to society. As with the incorporation idea the execution lives up to the originality of the concept.Secondly: the book is morally and philosophically complex. It's all the rage to have an obnoxious anti-hero and call that moral ambiguity, but this book honestly had me unsure of which character I agreed with throughout all 470 pages. The pros and cons of the central protagonist and antagonist's goals are balanced and believable, and despite being eye-ball deep in libertarian/free-market philosophy the authors avoid turning the story into a polemic for their real-world political views. And lastly: it's a great story. There's understandably a bit of heavy exposition, but from the court-room dramas to the assassinations to the world-changing catastrophes this book kept me hooked from start to finish.Dani and Eytan Kollins remind me a lot of John Scalzi. Like Scalzi you can easily tell that the Kollins's are self-consciously continuing in the tradition of the greatest writers in the genre. (Dani Kollins lists Heinlein and LeGuin as favorites on his Goodreads profile.) They tackle serious themes with fresh insight, and deliver a great read in the process. For me that's exactly what sci-fi is all about.The only reason I held back one star (keep in mind I rate harsher than most Goodreads folks) is that the novel was a little tilted towards the cerebral and didn't deliver quite enough emotional punch. Based on the last few pages, however, I think the sequel The Unincorporated War is going to be even better.

  • Jennie
    2019-01-17 04:32

    I....can't....take....anymore. 143 pages in and so far this book has just been one huge political/economic thesis (yawn) combined with a 1950's "World of TOMORROW!" film, complete with be-spectacled narrator.It's disappointing because the premise - billionaire has himself cryogenically suspended, then is re-awakened 300 years later (in the 24th century) to find that more than a little has changed - was promising. It could have been interesting, but alas, the authors have spent more time (way, way, way too much time) on the neat-o gadgets of the World! Of! Tomorrow! Flying cars! No hard currency! No doors! (because we have dissolving walls that can tell when an object is approaching). Personal avatar/assistants! The Internet is now the Neuro! Oh, god, please make it stop. And then, of course, Justin has to have absolutely everything explained to him, from the tiniest bit of technology to big economics lessons. Blah, blah, blah, is there going to be any actual action in this? Or anything? "Golly gee, where does the light come from? You have sourceless lighting? Whaddaya mean, diamonds are worthless now?"Meh. Heinlein did it better. Much better.

  • Tish
    2019-01-06 10:13

    The premise of the book is interesting and original: a man with a terminal illness has himself frozen and is revived 3 or 4 centuries later. Society has evolved into one of personal incorporation: at birth, people are assigned 100,00 shares, 5% of which goes to the government, 20% to their family, and they are free to keep or sell the other 75% to finance college, start a business, or whatever. The first part of the book was interesting as we learn how Justin's frozen body was discovered and reanimated and how he adjusts to the changes that have taken place since he was frozen. The ideas the book introduces are interesting to ponder, but the book gets weighed down with too much lecturing on the pros and cons of different political and economic systems--to the point that, for me, it turned into a real slog. I had to force myself to finish the book and only managed that by skimming the last 100 pages. With some serious editing, I think this could be a great book and could probably make a great movie.

  • J
    2018-12-28 08:14

    This book kicked my ass. It reminded me of some of the more intelligent Heinlein that I've enjoyed (Stranger in a Strange Land, Fear No Evil). And it has the political and interpersonal subtlety of Dune. But mostly it succeeds on its own merits: it's intelligent, well written, full of great action and gripping characters--all in all I highly recommend this book to anyone who find themselves intrigued by the futuristic world viewed through the lens of human politics and economics exploded outward by several centuries.

  • Genevieve Williams
    2019-01-05 11:32

    I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. Its premise (a future where individuals can incorporate, buying and selling shares in themselves) is a really intriguing thought experiment, and I went into the book prepared to explore a world where this was a foundational element of society.Unfortunately, I found the story unpersuasive: the future society (seen through the eyes of a 21st-century individual who has himself cryogenically frozen, and is lucky enough to have his capsule discovered by a mining prospector) is thinly described, its economics never really explored beyond the basic premise. Okay, I get that economics just isn't as attention-getting as spaceships and nanotech and car chases, but if you're going to base your story on some sort of Big Idea, it behooves you to have the story explore that idea as thoroughly as possible. Few arguments are presented for or against this way of life, beyond embracing the status quo (why does Neela love this system so much?) or recoiling from it in disgust (Justin Cord--note initials, because he does indeed turn messianic in the second half, which I found SUPREMELY ironic--considers it slavery), and neither of those is particularly explored. The example of slavery that Justin cites is, of course, the one that will be most familiar to this book's target audience. It also seems to be the only one anybody in the novel is familiar with. Developing and setting out a definition of slavery and comparing the dominant socio-economic institution of the novel to it would have been one way of giving the story and its driving idea greater dimension. But opportunities like this languish largely unexplored, and as such I found the whole thing unconvincing.The novel also loses considerably in its second half. The first half is interesting, with characters introduced, undergoing some development, and taking action with clearly understood motivation. All of that flies out the window in the second half, in favor of increasingly breathless, superficial screeds about freedom without any thoughtful exploration of what that word means, or what it might mean to people who've lived their entire lives under the incorporated system. For that reason, the rapidity of the rebellion's development in the second half defies belief, relying largely on the actions of an avowed sociopath and on the charisma of Justin himself. Hektor, the villain of the piece, is a far more intriguing character who appears to have given his own ideals and motivations serious thought, even if we're still largely left to our own devices to figure out what they are.The biggest gap, however, is any understanding of WHY this society has developed the way it has. If any such history is offered in the novel, I missed it; the author instead devotes considerable time and effort to explaining virtual reality's absence in this future (including an effectively chilling VR sequence during which Justin learns exactly why this is so) that, as far as I can tell, has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story. I suppose one could make the connection that society's VR addiction was irresponsible, and personal incorporation is supposed to guarantee responsible behavior. Okay, I guess. But that connection is not, to my recollect, explicitly made; nor is why humanity as a whole adopted THIS particular solution to the problem. No social institutions aside from corporations or governments appear to exist, which is just bizarre: a review on SF site noted the absence of any organized religion responding to or commenting on the worldwide social Grand Collapse; there isn't even a footnote to the effect that religions themselves were rendered irrelevant by an unsatisfactory response, which would be one possible scenario. There's little if anything about churches, communities, nonprofits, non-governmental organizations, or any of the other organizing bodies that exist in our world. If these don't exist in this future, what happened to them? And what replaced them?The truth of the matter is, though, this book really didn't entertain me. Perhaps that's good, since entertainment is apparently considered dangerous in this future; it's hard to tell what people DO for entertainment, actually, aside from cutting loose during Mardi Gras. But though the story starts off reasonably well, the characters quickly lose any dimensionality they may have had in favor of serving as talking heads for various sides of the argument. Boring. Many characters are introduced, then abandoned partway through, including an ambitious, go-getting reporter who was also the only female character in the story who I found at all convincing or believable. Neela, who starts off well as a reanimationist working on the assignment of her life, is quickly relegated to love interest who readily sacrifices her career and social standing for Justin; if she struggles over this at all, those struggles take place off-screen. In fact, the gender dynamics in this story really bothered me; if anything, they've regressed in the 300 years that have passed before the story takes place. I'm pretty sure that at one point, someone is actually told not to worry her pretty little head about something. Seriously?By the end of the book, I found myself growing impatient with the flat characterization, irritating gender dynamics, and increasingly polemical tone. When I got to the bit where somebody blames economic recessions on the government, adding the chestnut that their current society is recession-proof because the business cycle no longer exists, my suspension of disbelief snapped. I would love to hear the authors' explanation of how our current economic situation fits this scenario, particularly since one of them is (according to his bio) a "teacher of history, government and economics".The thing is, though, I went into this novel prepared to be convinced: by good storytelling, interesting characters who behaved in a believable fashion, and a thorough exploration of the premise. What I got was a frustrating experience of being badgered by the authors whose characters functioned more as mouthpieces than as personalities, increasingly unbelievable plot developments, and irritation over rather than engagement with this future society as presented. I have no problem reading novels espousing ideas that I do not; if fiction has a useful purpose, it is to vicariously experience lives and ways of thinking that the reader never will, and thereby possibly develop some insight into them. The only insight I gained from this book is that my time would have been better spent with an economics textbook.Also, I haven't been so annoyed by someone yelling "Freedom!" repetitively since Braveheart.

  • Text Addict
    2019-01-17 11:30

    The literary political-social dialectic and is alive and well, and being published by Tor: The Unincorporated Man looks like a political treatise disguised as a pretty good novel. Cleverly, it sets up a conflict with one unfortunate aspect of its ideal Objectivist/Libertarian future society, and in demolishing that one aspect it leaves the rest of the socio-political structure intact and unchallenged. As I said, clever.For those not familiar with the modern Objectivist/Libertarian strain of thought – and I have to admit I’m only an interested observer, not an expert – I’ll try to sum up. The ideology that I’m referring to holds that ensuring individual liberty is the best and highest goal of society, and the only legitimate goal of government. Hence, the only appropriate functions of government are law enforcement and military protection. Once all individuals are able to act with complete freedom in their own self-interest, so long as they don’t interfere with others’ freedom, then humanity will finally enter into a period of universal peace and prosperity.This is, in my humble opinion, about as realistic as the notion that the abolition of private property will lead to universal peace and prosperity. So as I read this novel, I frequently rolled my eyes, sighed, laughed aloud, and occasionally restrained the impulse to throw it across the room.I didn’t hurl it because (a) the copy I was reading is a public library hardcover, and (b) it doesn’t really spend as much time on the ideological matters as I’m implying here. It’s “just” part of the underlying structure, and it may only have leaped out at me because I’ve been paying attention to the way this particular meme set has been creeping into modern politics.The actual plot revolves around Justin Cord, who arranged to have himself secretly cryogenically suspended at some point in the twenty-first century, and was only found and reanimated after some 300 years. Upon awakening, he learns that reanimation is now routine, as are advanced nanotechnology and limited forms of artificial intelligence, space travel out to the asteroid belt and beyond, and a bunch of other things (including flying cars; I enjoyed his enjoyment of those), some of which seem to be pretty creative.While he was disanimate, the world suffered a catastrophic economic, political, and demographic collapse. The current society has climbed out of that abyss and dispensed with taxes; the world government provides court and law enforcement services in competition with private operations and does no regulating whatsoever, and currencies are produced by forty-seven different corporations. And it’s a wonderfully prosperous, peaceful society, because corporations can be counted on to behave rationally, unlike governments.I’ll pause here for you to think about Enron … Worldcom … Goldman-Sachs … certain US automakers … and whatever other examples you’re aware of.The catch is something that Justin Cord, twenty-first century industrialist extraordinaire, can’t accept. All human beings are formally incorporated at birth; the government gets 5% of the child’s shares, its parents 20%, and its education is generally paid for by sales of shares (unless it’s from a rich family). Most people do not, in fact, own a majority of themselves, and therefore their choices (especially about employment) are limited by their shareholders’ input.The theory, explained at a couple of different points at the book, is that when people or corporations own shares in a person, they will be interested in making sure that the person does well in life, thus increasing the dividends paid on the shares.In the book, this works beautifully. In the real world, as we all know, a lady named Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a book called Uncle Tom’s Cabin that illustrated exactly how beautifully ownership of people actually worked; and I expect you could ask modern-day escapees from slavery how they feel about it, too.So, the plot of the novel is about Justin, the only unincorporated human being in the solar system, his refusal to incorporate (because it feels like slavery to him) and the effect this position has on the society around him. Because to begin with there is, in fact, a substantial level of discontent with this system; quite a few people own no more than 25% of themselves, for one reason or another, and have no prospect of ever being able to achieve majority control. Justin winds up in the bizarre position of trying to convince the government to let him volunteer to be taxed (instead of the government getting dividends from 5% of him).So, on the surface the dialectic appears to be about slavery vs. freedom. Beneath the surface, the dialectic is our real modern world vs. the book’s ideal society, only reality doesn’t get to state its case, because the argument is all about the surface issue.There are vicious lawsuits, good friends, a love story, political movements, terrorism, attempted and successful assassinations, nanotech bombs, and corporate politics all carrying the tale along. The actual plot holds together pretty well, though I have quibbles about the love affair getting a free pass in the end, and about the transformation of the chief antagonist from arrogant idiot to arrogant genius. And there are a couple of side issues that I’m not even mentioning, which I suspect may be important in the sequels (or may just be part of the world-building).It’s the apparently sincere and earnest espousal of the basic ideological system that made it hard to keep reading. And just to demonstrate that I’m not imagining this, a little research informs me that the novel won a 2010 Prometheus Award – given by the “Libertarian Futurist Society.” Looking at their list of other winners, I don’t think that every winner is as good a fit as this one (Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch? Really?), but I think it helps prove my point all the same.If you happen to agree with its ideology, I expect you’ll enjoy the book a lot. If you don’t, this review is fair warning. If you have no idea, I suggest you read up on the arguments for and against it before you try reading the book. (Most of my information on this ideology comes from reading Fred Clark’s Slacktivist blog; but you’ll have to search for the terms Ayn Rand and Libertarian in particular, because he also covers a lot of other material.)

  • Jon
    2019-01-23 06:18

    This was pretty good. I liked the novel approach to future society, and all the ramifications. It's clear the authors had thought a lot about the impact of personal incorporation, and I didn't find any aspect that was glossed over or less than well planned out.

  • Gio
    2018-12-25 09:41

    Ever experience travel or a good book that changes the way you look at the world? If you've read "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein or even "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells then you may have experienced that out of place aura surrounding a character who's estranged from his world. Try traveling in a foreign country and you'll know the feeling of how it can estrange while exhilarate you at the same time.The Unincorporated Man creates a fish out of water character in Justin Cord. Cord wakes up from a 300 year cryogenic sleep to a world where humanity has populated the solar system, has developed flying cars, laser driven transports, and near immortality. Yet the strangest part of the brave new world comes in the form of a system of personal incorporation. In the Kollin Brother's 24th century earth, human beings own and sell stock in themselves. So put a 21st century man into such a world and you get a rather interesting story. The Unincorporated Man lives up to its intriguing premise and doesn't at the same time.The book delivers on plot. Dani and Eytan Kollin took a good idea and fleshed it out - somewhat. They took unconventional turns and spun a yarn about that pits a single man against an enslaving system that ends with a potential victory, but for whom? Well, you'll have to read the next installment, "The Unincorporated War" to find out. The Kollins did a good job and would deserve high marks had it not been for a few of big flaws. First, there's a mystery that arises at the onset of the novel, which will determine everything that happens throughout of the story. This mystery is a key plot point and it's left hanging until the end. Yeah, the reader has to get through nearly 400 pages to resolve the key point. And when the resolution comes around, the reader is made the believe the Justin Cord has been burning and digging around to find the answer when in fact he didn't. It's a neat tie up that nearly worked. A reader might forgive such a mistake in lieu of an interesting story, but while tying up the thread, the authors injected that Justin would have been assassinated countless times and I wondered when those occurrences happened because they would have added so much more intrigue to the story.There's also some romance in the book and while it's good to have the hero find his future-shock love, it's another thing when the affair is a foregone conclusion. As a reader, I would have preferred something more as in some competition, some intrigue, or a social taboo that never really came into play. So the story didn't quite deliver on Justin's love life for me.First time and even experienced novelists often make mistakes. In Chapter 4 of the book, the story develops "The Chairman" character as having been born to a wealthy family. He becomes a powerful man who eventually takes over the most powerful corporation in the solar system. The mistake is that by the end, the Chairman's history takes a dramatic change. This is a forgivable inconsistency, but a notable one none the less.Despite the few flaws and plot development issues, the Unincorporated Man is built around a good story.The writing on the other hand is full of "to be" verbs and use of the most over used word in writing, "unique".Overall, I couldn't give this book higher marks because all it had at the end was a interesting plot. I might be alone in my views, but I believe that this story had the potential to be great. Instead it's alright and that's the best I can say.

  • Dan Lemke
    2019-01-14 04:33

    This book was big on ideas, but unfortunately that's all it was big on. Characters and plot seemed secondary to the authors getting a chance to lecture the reader with underdeveloped thoughts on politics, economics, and society.As the description says, this book is about a man--Justin Cord--from the early 21st century who emerges from spending 300 years in hypersleep/stasis to find a world in which everyone is incorporated at birth--that is, just as when companies go public, each person comes into the world with 100,000 shares of themselves. The ultimate goal for a given individual is thus to obtain 51% of their own portfolio and gain more control over their life.Sadly, the political theory in the book reads very pedestrian. The authors' poor writing doesn't help much, and at times it feels like they're getting on a soapbox just to stand on a soapbox. The Kollins try unsuccessfully to evoke Robert Heinlein, much to the detriment of the concepts at play.From a pure story-telling perspective the book also leaves much to be desired. The authors hark on 9/11--revealing how much of the book was written immediately after the WTC attacks--but never bother to update the perspective to better fit with the 2009 release date of the book. They rely on overused plot elements (again, trying desperately to be Heinlein) and generally fail to establish the rules of their world. For example, two trials involving the titular character are central to the plot of the novel, yet one never feels any apprehension over the possible outcome because one never gets an understanding of the legal issues at hand. In other words, the Kollins remain one step above a deus ex machina in resolving the dramatic tension they attempt to create.Overall, The Unincorporated Man has the beginnings of some good ideas, but ultimately falls short. Sections feel entirely too long for what's at hand; and at times it feels like the authors just want to throw a bunch of ideas out to populate their world and take up more space.The end result is something that may have worked better as a short story or even a novella, but doesn't have the depth to fill out a long novel. Or at least not as the authors present it.

  • Steve Rainwater
    2019-01-05 10:41

    The Unincorporated Man, by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin, 2009. It's long, at nearly 500 pages, and presents a dystopian world entirely based around an idea of economist Milton Friedman: everyone in the future is incorporated at birth. Their parents get 20%, the government gets 5%, the rest of the shares are traded on the open market. Your majority shareholders determine what education you receive, where you live, what career you must pursue, even your diet. The life goal of each person is to earn enough money to buy back a majority of their shares and gain some control over their lives. Into this world comes Justin Cord, a billionaire libertarian from the 21st century who cryogenically preserved himself when he learned he had cancer. He has prepared for almost everything, including hiding treasure troves around the world so that he can bring his wealth with him into the future. The one thing he was unprepared for was personal incorporation. To Cord, the idea amounts to slavery and he'll have nothing to do with it. This sets him up for an ongoing fight with the world government and a much more powerful entity known as GCI, the corporation that controls cryogenic medicine and claims to own a share of Cord, since they found him and restored him to health. Cord must fight court battles, financial battles, assassination attempts, and political conspiracies along the way.Overall, I enjoyed the book and recommend it. The book is a first effort by the authors and shows signs here and there of inexperienced writing. The authors seem to have no clue about the hard sciences, so they rightly avoid them as much as possible and stick to things like economics and sociology. The few times the plots requires any science stuff, they borrow old ideas from 20th century futurists (e.g. "grey goo" from Eric Drexler) or prior science fiction. The book ends with a bit of a cliff-hanger, hoping to sell you on a series of three sequels. Unfortunately, reviews of the three following books seem uniformly bad, so I'm going to stop with this one.

  • Benjamin Uminsky
    2018-12-25 11:41

    I really would have liked to have liked this book (if that makes any sense). I just can't bring myself to give it a higher rating. The premise really caught my eye and I think if more thought and effort was put into plot and character development, you might have wound up with a pretty good story.Here is the thing... I love science fiction because it is such a great medium to explore social criticisms and political analysis while telling a great story. Allegory and metaphor presented through science fiction can be so fun to read (at the same time making you think). The only way it works though is if that social criticism and political analysis doesn't overshadow everything else (like plot, character, mood, setting, etc.).In this case, I got 30 pages in and realized that I was not reading a sci-fi story but a hack proproganda piece for the Ayn Rand or Von Mises foundation. The author's "message" was grossly transparent and everything else fell to the wayside. Instead of this being a really interesting exploration of a dystopic future/nightmare (a la 1984), we wind up with a hamfisted attempt at libertarian proselytizing. Those criticisms aside...The characters were wooden and hollow, pacing woefully uneven, dialogue trite and predictable, and plot painfully hackneyed. I think this story could have been so much more. Perhaps the Kollins need to read a little more Lieber, Dick, and/or Simak to get a better sense of subtlety with their politics and get a stronger grasp with the character and plot development.I can't in good faith recommend this one to anyone looking for a good Sci-Fi read or a good read in general... but if you want to learn more about the tenets of libertarianism.... this is the book for you!!!!

  • Matt
    2018-12-31 05:21

    Rating books with a simple 1 to 5 star system is difficult. You might give a book 5 stars because it was very enjoyable to read and another 5 stars because the subject matter is very important, and another because it is very original. The scale I tend to like the most is how much do I think about the book when I am done reading it. On that scale this is a 5 star book. In some ways it is similar to books like the Truth Machine and The First Immortal that explore the idea of cryogenically frozen people from our time being brought back to life in a very different technologically advanced future. That part is fun for me to think about. However what makes this book even more interesting is the battle between a future that has sold itself into virtual slavery through self incorporation and an individual from our time that values freedom above all else even in the face of terrorism and massive economic disruption. It might seem clear that you would always be on the side of the freedom fighter but that is simply not the case. At several points in the book I was convinced that self incorporation was a brilliant idea and that it could possibly be the key to a much better economic system than our current one. I still wonder if it were done on a voluntary basis if it might function better than what we have today.I think most of you might like this book. There is some language and 1 or two parts you might want to skip (Mardi Gras in the future is pretty crazy). Thanks for the recommendation Mike. Loved it.

  • Chris
    2019-01-18 10:19

    I think I enjoyed this book more the second time around.So, Justin Cord gets cancer and decides to cryogenically freeze himself until such time as medical science is able to cure him (like you do). And he wakes up in a future utopia where technology has advanced to amazing levels, the solar system is being colonized, nanotechnology means that everyone is healthy, perpetually young and can live for centuries . . . and the economy is built on buying and selling shares in people. The book focuses on Justin's efforts to remain unincorporated and society's efforts to browbeat him in line.Obviously writing a novel doesn't prove anything but this book does offer some interesting arguments for incorporation. Like supporting starving children. Nowadays, we just do it out of the goodness of our hearts (or guilt maybe). In the incorporated world people have an economic interest in helping the aforementioned starving children. Of course, there's a counter argument of "Piss off, people aren't for sale." (To be clear, I'm on the 'Piss off' side of the argument. Really, the only difference between incorporation and slavery is the former recognizes that happier people are more productive).And that's what the book revolves around. The conflict over incorporation drives the plot, there are fleshing out moments but it all serves to support the incorporation question. And to the book's credit, the narration never really takes sides one way or the other. Any specific stance on the issue comes from characters in the book.

  • Jamie
    2019-01-15 05:20

    Ok, this was a great book.Recommended to me by a book store employee and friend.The sociological, political and economical implications of such a future are fascinating and experiencing these new ideas Kollin presents could not have been better suited than through someone from our own "time" and closeness to our history.As the plot moved on, I consistently thought, near the conclusion to each subplot, that I could not truly predict where the next hundred pages were headed, and I was pleasantly surprised each time to find only pieces of what I had expected.I took particular interest at the implications of widespread and high quality VR technology, certainly something we can see as a future possibility. It is interesting to wonder if such a level of addiction and preference would actually be probable, and to be honest, I think that is the most thought-provoking image of this work, because I can very easily see the 'history' in this book as a possible future for us should we produce similar technology to the same degree. With how our society, or more accurately, our economy functions, it is a frightening prospect to propose. Frightening not only because of what it lead to here, but because the logical/economical steps that lead to it were just that.My favorite books elicit images and possibilities as these. Perhaps more so in this case with how likely the steps taken to such a society were.

  • Graham Crawford
    2019-01-11 03:14

    This started out with such promise. The first third was filled with lots of interesting ideas. I very quickly realised the characters and plot were only there as scaffolds to move me from one idea to another - and I thought - OK - it's one of *those* books! I can cope with this as long as the ideas keep coming one per page. Alas the ideas ran out and I was left with emotionally adolescent characters who were at their most believable when caught stealing the last beer from the mates fridge. Write about what you know boys. I suspect these bros Grim don't know a lot about girls either.John Varley can (most times)get away with adolescent plots. These boys can't. The steam runs out when the plots goes Perry Mason - What an odd setting to put your all American Boy Wonder in - Boy wonders need car chases not court cases!A number of other Goodreads reviewers have taken issue with the central premise - especially the black and white nature of this corporate world. I generally agree with that, though I think the writers were aiming for something that was more grey - and failed miserably. They worked best when they stuck to flying cars and girlies in black thigh high boots (rolls eyes), good ol' black and white cartoon humor. This book is really a lesson in over reaching and putting world building before character. Alas the world they have built doesn't stand up when you start to poke at it.

  • August Bourré
    2019-01-16 05:34

    The writing is clunky as hell (especially the women and the tendency towards clumsy infodumps/speeches), and only the premise saves it from being a 2-star book.It seems on the surface like one brand of libertarian free-market nonsense arguing with another, but what it really is, is contemporary libertarian free-market nonsense arguing with its own logical conclusion. In addition to not really understanding people (and can I say again, women in particular... the female characters read like they're from Heinlein or Sawyer, and that is not by any means a compliment), they seem to have taken the thought-experiment histories of the origins of markets and the motivations for economic that economists commonly parrot as literal truth (they aren't even close to the truth).Having just read David Graeber's anthropological history of debt, money, and credit (ie. using actual evidence of how real human beings have actually behaved economically in a huge variety of systems) I find it impossible to take any of the Kollin brothers' economic/behavioural first principles seriously. They are simply far too divorced from the historical realities of human behaviour and motivation.But as eye-roll inducing as the book often is, it was still hard to put down.