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Rejoice, a Knife to the Heart Paperback – October 29, 2019
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A provocative, beautiful and visionary novel of first contact by New York Times bestselling author Steven Erikson.
Imagine a First Contact without contact, and an alien arrival where no aliens show up. Imagine the sudden appearance of exclusion zones all over the planet, into which no humans are allowed. Imagine an end to all violence, from the schoolyard bully to nations at war. Imagine an end to borders, an end to all crime. Imagine a world where hate has no outlet and the only harm one can do is to oneself. Imagine a world transformed, but with no guidance and no hint of what’s coming next. What would you do? How would you feel? What questions can you ask – what questions dare you ask – when the only possible answers come from the all-too-human face in your mirror?
On the day of First Contact, it won’t be about them. It will be about us.
"Love, Comment, Subscribe" by Cathy Yardley
From award-winning author Cathy Yardley comes Love, Comment, Subscribe, a fun, feisty romance about high school frenemies turned unlikely collaborators. | Learn more
"Steven Erikson hasn't just reinvigorated the first-contact novel, he's reinvented it. This is a wholly original book, brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed, with a fascinating central conceit related to curbing human violence. And, for once, we have a novel set in a world in which not only does the science-fiction genre exist but it's respected. A masterpiece." — Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Quantum Night
"In Rejoice, Steven takes the varied viewpoints and clever worldbuilding showcased in the Malazan series and applies it close to home, twisting the first-contact premise to highlight our struggles and suggest possible solutions. As a study of humanity’s strengths and flaws, this latest novel stands out for its pointedness and its rich blend of the fantastic and the literary.” — Brandon Crilly, Black Gate Magazine
“Steven Erikson has one of the finest minds alive. Now, in Rejoice, Erikson shows us what he sees when he considers the future of humanity. He calls it a thought experiment. I call it an important book.” — Stephen R. Donaldson
“This is startling and thought-provoking stuff – just what science fiction should be. Read it and try to think as you once did about, well, anything. Go on. I dare you.” — Ian C. Esslemont
"Finally, an alien invasion apocalypse I can get behind. Erikson pulls no punches in this absolutely cutting look at where humanity is at, where we're going, and the monumental changes that need to happen to pull us out of our death spiral. Rejoice I did at this thrilling tale masterfully told." — H.G. Bells
About the Author
- Publisher : Promontory Press Inc.; Reprint edition (October 29, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1773740326
- ISBN-13 : 978-1773740324
- Item Weight : 1.7 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,378,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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The only way you will like this book is if it is selling you a social and political order you already agree with. If that’s the case it will feel a lot like reading the brand of news paper you agree with... and little else. If you just happen to agree with the social opinion but aren’t the kind that likes to digest media that sells you your own opinion... no way you land on liking this.
Not as storytelling. And not as a Novell. It isn’t.
It’s that bad.
It’s one social opinion after another very awkwardly merged into something that masquerades as a narrative... but doesn’t seem to try much at all.
You know those great multi perspective sci-fi novels like footfall, or eon? Yeah. This is nothing like that.
This is a novel in which nothing happens.
In which characters become less realized and shallower as you read.
And the same point gets hit again and again and again... and again. And again.
And then again.
I figure maybe his (gender unspecified younger relation) wrote it and he said “what the hell, why not.”
Or he drinks a lot.
Or maybe wrote this in fits while watching the news? That could explain it.
Drunken news watching fitted writing by a (gender unspecified) younger relation.
Because that’s the only thing that explains this.
If - if - this was Erickson’s level best to purport, support, and sell his most cherished ideas... then his feet well and truly failed him just as he reached for what he believes matters. If - if - that’s what this is... then it’s really really sad. Truly.
Cause he’s a great writer.
And this is bad writing.
And unlike in the echo chamber of the book, I don’t think aleins are going to appear to champion a political perspective and anoint his policy approach here in the actuality.
I can't actually believe that this is the same Erikson who brought us such a wonderfully creative and fully realized world in the Malazan series. There is so much wrong with the storytelling, and so much bizarrely specific fingerpointing that it feels as though this book was written as sort of a cathartic release for the author, a spasm of angry shouting at the society and people that he despises.
I changed my score from a 3 to a 2 after thinking about how disappointed I was with every aspect of this book, and after considering the previous quality that the author has delivered.
Skip this tale if you want to retain any semblance of respect you had for Erikson, because I promise you that this dive into the psyche and personal belief system of this angry and troubled man will leave you confused and disappointed with him.
This is not typical quality of Erikson worldbuilding and storytelling. This is a temper tantrum in novel form.
The addition of parody characters so obviously drawn from current real life figures(Trump, Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch) means that the book will have no appeal to any other political spectrum and will likely not spend the test of time.
I think the author would have been much better served by focusing on how normal people across the world dealt with such a situation and left more mystery about what was causing it without the author mouthpiece explaining each and every detail and telling us how we should think about it. In addition the author's continual need to suggest that world governments and regular people would turn to science fiction authors for their answers on what is happening in this situation and the set of physicists and other scientists or philosophers same. Nothing more than self-aggrandizement.
Again, I wanted to like this novel but it seems such a waste of an interesting concept.
I am loving this book. Just like TDD, when I lay it down I find myself wishing to be a better, more elevated, more wise, more humane version of myself than I was before I picked it up. Thank you, Mr. Erikson, really from the bottom of my heart. So many of my days are dark and confusing and then comes this wonderful book to shine a little light where i need it the most... To restore my waning faith in myself and my species evolution. Sadly, this book will probably be overlooked and forgotten nearly as soon as it was published. While Erikson said someplace that we really don't need to study monstrously difficult tomes of ethics (which I do as a living) we only need to bear in mind the phrase, "children are dying." This novel works for me in the same way, a powerful image that can be ignored or absorbed.
Top reviews from other countries
First of all, one must set their surprise aside, when we see the page count. Astoundingly, Mr Lungden can actually write a short book! Which means I am now thankfully freed from the scenario where I accidentally brain someone with Gardens of the Moon, saying "Take this, it's his shortest". Joking digression aside, I honestly think the shorter page length hurts the book.. The characterisation ranges from "not very good" to "Totally nonexistent", which is rather sad, coming from the same writer who gave us (Insert list of favourite Malazan characters here, and Karsa Orlong). I mean, the lead, Sam August, has it mentioned that she is into social justice... yet doesn't immediately take a tantrum that the Ai has a male voice and calls itself Adam (As I write this, tweets are going up in relation to the Sri Lanka bombings, and most of the left are offering condolences to "Easter worshippers" because they don't want to acknowledge one of the groups that they constantly pour out hatred for are getting victimised- Someone who is supposedly part of said movement would probably be very offended at the AI, being both male and having a name with christian connotations. I bring this up, because a lot of the characters are one note jokes- there's an obvious stand in for Trump, who's initially treated fairly even handedly but ends up as a funny ranting man before the end, a couple of rich people who have no other purpose than to be in despair as their livelihood and global order comes to an end. The book in honesty didn't come across as particularly ideologically biased- although the aliens not letting us killing each other or animals, but being fine with abortion did seem a little odd in all honesty (But you could also make the argument this was a cynical attempt at population control. This is what I love about Erikson, you can actually interpret a lot of it yourself), but the paper think characters really hurt the narrative- where are the sympathetic people who are victims themselves, or part of an evil regime.. or are pure evil but somehow invoke sympathy regardless? (Ezgarra diskanar, rhulhad sengar, the pannion seer, the crippled god, Kallor) The protagonist is treated even handedly (Although even then isn't that good of a character, her greatest use seems to be as someone for the Ai to discuss it's own mandate and philosophy with), even though she's associated with a bunch of utter lunatics, and manages to stand out as she's one of the only people who isn't a glorified straw man. And as obvious here, I am biased, although mostly by my utter adoration of most of Erikson's other work. He's never afraid to be a tad.. ok.. rather... ok, extremely silly, but his books maintain gravitas and a serious plot, and even the silliest characters quite often have a point in the narrative, and are usually quite well developed. Here, it's nothing but a collection of archetypes and straw men. The tone can honestly feel quite lurching as it goes from a sober scene from a abusive husband apologising to his wife, to a woman sitting in a boardroom laughing at rich guys going bankrupt, from a African warlord reflecting on the brutal abuse he has subjected a girl to whom he has now come to care about, to another funny scene of the president ranting and being an idiot. Most of these storylines could be compelling, but the characterisation is ultimately so paper thin that, whilst I'm enjoying the philosophy and the ever engaging writing, I'm left feeling somewhat bored and uninvested. The last hundred pages are also quite dull, as they mostly consist of Sam going doing and dictating terms to the UN and people watching her do that. Sadly, here the book's length once again bites it, as, despite mild boredom, I was curious to see where Erikson would go with the narrative, but the books just ends after that.. Somehow manging to leave me both thankful it was over and annoyed that it was.
Praise where it's due though, the writing is great (Although, I found myself missing the shakespearean Kharkanas Dialogue- yes, I'm one of those people) and I found a lot of the philosophy genuinely interesting- the fact it almost seems to end up discussing humanity losing it's identity and struggling to find a new one was a pleasant surprise and kept me reading. As ever, there is a heavy undercurrent of cynicism- I ultimately found myself being rather concerned by the motivations of the AI and it's masters, if they even exist, as despite their benevolence they do seem highly suspect.
Ultimately, It's something, whilst being highly critical of, I did think was a very interesting read. Although not one I'm absolutely in love with like the Malazan books. Hoping for more from Erikson soon. (Karsa karsa karsa karsa karsa!)
1. You enjoy being lectured at with lazy anti-capitalist propaganda
2. You believe all ridiculous conspiracy theories you find in the fringes of the internet
3. Your mind is closed to all views that are not your own
4. You enjoy wasting your time and money
As an example the book proposes that pharma companies know the cures for all diseases but are keeping that secret, NASA is hiding evidence of life on mars and a "black US government cabal" has and the third reich had files of advanced technology including "anti-gravity, discriminating energy fields, quantum linkage" which they were keeping secret from the people. Yawn.
Please do not buy this book because you are a fan of Steven Erikson's brilliant Malazan books. You will be sorely disappointed.
There are a number of povs but none are really expanded upon and they all feel like 2D strawmen as there is absolutely nothing that can be done which has any impact.