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There Is No Antimemetics Division Hardcover – June 19, 2021
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An antimeme is an idea with self-censoring properties; an idea which, by its intrinsic nature, discourages or prevents people from spreading it.
Antimemes are real. Think of any piece of information which you wouldn't share with anybody, like passwords, taboos and dirty secrets. Or any piece of information which would be difficult to share even if you tried: complex equations, very boring passages of text, large blocks of random numbers, and dreams...
But anomalous antimemes are another matter entirely. How do you contain something you can't record or remember? How do you fight a war against an enemy with effortless, perfect camouflage, when you can never even know that you're at war?
Welcome to the Antimemetics Division.
No, this is not your first day.
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- ASIN : B09766RWR8
- Publisher : Independently published (June 19, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 209 pages
- ISBN-13 : 979-8514063031
- Item Weight : 1.12 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.72 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #188,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Thus is the premise of "There Is No Antimemetics Division", in which the eponymous Antimemetics Division battles against antimemes that threaten to extinguish humanity. The problem is, antimemes can't be remembered because if they are, bad things happen, and it's hard to fight a war when you have to forget - literally excise what you know - because the very act of knowing opens you up to attack. So, a lot of the story is how knowledge is both contained and exchanged in ways that effectively quarantine it but still allow it to be acted upon. Normally, that is a nuisance but when a universe-eating antimeme arrives the problem is whether human ingenuity can devise countermeasures.
It is an interesting premise, and mostly well executed by a small cast. It sagged a bit for me midway in the way that some time travel novels do because it's not a linear exposition. Certainly, is it structurally challenging to keep in your head and I suspect that the author struggled to convey the encompassing vision in a narrative fashion. There are whorls and loops in the story and while I've seen some reviews suggesting the novel scared them, it was more a who dunnit in my mind than a horror story.
"There Is No Antimemetics Division" is short and engaging, and hard to classify, which is why I feel that if you enjoy speculative science fiction and can cope without off-world shenanigans, high-tech weaponry, and augmented super-soldiers, you'll probably enjoy this.
What it IS, however, is a book that you can't put down. It challenges your understanding of world around you. It makes you question your reality. That introduces concepts that make your brain hurt, but does it in a way that they are understandable. Will make you think for a long time, and may actually change the way you see the world around you.
This is possibly one of the very best works of fiction I've ever read, in terms of creating a world that is completely familiar, and simultaneously completely different, while weaving incredibly complex ideas, and reinforcing what it is that makes us human.
Can’t praise this novel highly enough.
Dark and brutal. Or ... what was I talking about ... um, probably nothing. Who are you again. ...
A very different take on history and the current day. And a set of ideas I haven’t encountered before. Awesome!!!
I'll probably read it again, to find things I might have missed, the first time through.
Top reviews from other countries
So, this book. Imagine being at war with enemies so alien or outre that highly elaborate protocols and cutting edge pharmaceuticals are required just to keep remembering they exist and what your plan for dealing with them is. An anti-memetic entity or weapon is something that human minds just cannot form memories or ideas about. They could be right there in plain sight, in full public view, but somehow people fail to notice them, or if they should occasionally do so just forget them immediately. The redoubtable Marion Webster, head of the shadowy Foundation's Antimemetics division, is engaged in combatting these threats wherever they arise, or at least where they are discerned to arise and when anyone can remember they have been discerned. But then there's SCP (Special Containment Protocol) 3125, an interdimensional threat so dire that just thinking about it can make you a vector for its attack on human civilisation without your even being aware.
I think I understood more or less what happened. I think humanity prevailed at the end and I think it was probably based on a plan that involved a certain amount of feelgood 'love conquers all' pathos, but only after devastating loss. But then I might be completely wrong. After all its qntm. The whole thing may well involve a dynamic superposition of mutually incompatible plotlines.
In addition to the amazing plotting, with all its twists upon twists and threads within threads, the author does very good description. Scientifically literate with some very nice and snappy turns of phrase. It's not great literature. The characters are much too busy dealing with barely comprehensible situations to undergo much psychological development or unbearable lightness of being. But as highly twisty, almost mathematically flavoured conceptual SciFi goes this author is a whole new phenomenon, and deserves serious attention from readers looking for something more thought provoking than yet more of the space marines that form too much of the modern (post 9-11) SciFi landscape.
If you are a fan, you’ll love this. It’s so great to support the community by buying physical merch!
I'd summarise the premise as "a paramilitary research organisation battling an abstract, intangible, predatory entity which afflicts people with collective Alzheimer's". How do you fight something which you've forgotten exists? How do you count the people you've lost when you don't remember anything about them?
This concept runs incredibly strong at first, with emphasis placed on the esoteric, out-of-the-box tactics that the Foundation needs to utilise to battle this sort of threat (experimental drugs, guesswork and estimates, making inferences from THE ABSENCE of expected information, etc.), but unfortunately, this eventually expands into an apocalyptic scenario with world-ending stakes which loses some of the more grounded tone explored in the first chapters. I honestly wish the story was longer, allowing us to grow more invested in the Antimemetics Division, seeing them deal with more lower level anomalies before the big reveal at the end of the first act. Don't get me wrong, the twists and turns that come afterwards are still awesome, and the writing style stays consistently witty, direct and brisk, but the central theme of forgetting and having to deal with faulty memory becomes less important as the story goes on.
Another issue which uniquely affects this novel is that it had to excise any contributions from other authors. "What the Dead Know", a short series of supplementary stories by writer sirpudding, couldn't be included. This means that when Mobile Task Force ω-0 is introduced in the chapter "Unthreaded", it comes completely out of left field with no warning. Reading it on the site, it was a very cool moment where the ideas put forward by sirpudding were meaningfully incorporated into qntm's main story. Reading it here, it feels like a brand new plot element is just thrown in out of nowhere and immediately resolved. It's a bit awkward.
Regardless, it's still one of my favourite SCP stories ever written, and I give it glowing recommendation. A must-read for fans of sci-fi horror.
Feels a bit like At The Mountains of Madness in that it almost hangs together but not quite. It is an easy read and in that sense is well written.
It did resolve a few matters toward the end but, for me, it was just a single idea taken to it's logical absurdity.
I wanted to like it more but I found no hook back to reality or any emotional response. Perhaps the author said "phew, I'm glad that's over!" I certainly did even though the read was not unpleasant.
A decent read with several side-concepts to consider.
Well worth a try!!