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4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,304 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
Imagine a future--next year, perhaps?--in which the wealthy clone themselves at birth to provide spare parts for their bodies as they become needed. Drop into that scenario a tough but compassionate ex-cop who decides to liberate seven "spares" from the farm where they're being kept until needed, and you've got a lively, very moving combination of genres that has already b ...more
Published (first published 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 04, 2011 Stuart rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was TERRIBLE.

I had 2 chief complaints with the book:
1) The writing is piss poor.
2) The story has almost nothing to do with the "Spares". A more fitting title would have been "Crackhead Ex-Cop".

Let's just assume for a moment that Michael Marshall Smith actually wrote a book about the Spares. Here's a rundown of the *completely* believable premise.

In the near future, rich people pay lots of money to keep clones of themselves in "farms". Whenever injured, the rich people just carve a piec
5.0 stars. This was an incredible novel. I would describe it as science ficiton "noir" in the family of Blade Runner or the Takeshi Kovacs novels by Richard Morgan. Brilliantly written and peopled with superb characters, this one is highly recommended.

Nominee: Britsh Fantasy Award for Best Novel
Jun 06, 2011 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Michael Marshall Smith totally blew me away with Only Forward, so Spares was going to be a tough act to follow. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as great as Only Forward (few books are), but the quality of writing was right up to par.

I get the feeling that MMS' stories are an outlet for him to get a few things off his chest. His characters tend to wax philosophic during lulls in the action, and where this seems to annoy some readers, I found these lulls the best parts of the novel.
Like Stephen Ki
Nov 05, 2014 Dea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
The stars only go up to 5 and I want to give it more. I mean, I gave 5 to “Only Forward” but I like “Spares” even more. After I finished “Only Forward” I had to agree with some reviews saying that the book was not entirely polished. “Spares” definitely has the finished polished feel. Good read all around with an ending that is satisfying and not at all Hollywood!

(view spoiler)
So this book had great promise for me. The book follows Jack an ex Police officer who looks after a clone farm. The book starts as Jack breaks out a few clones after getting sick of the way that they are treated. He takes them to his old town to get supplies and starts getting hunted. The clones get stolen and Jack has to work out who stole them and how to get them back.

The book starts with a bang, straight into the action and the violence of a great action packed book. Jack is a complex charac
Ljubomir Simin
A mixed bag of noir fiction, dystopian society, sci-fi and philosophy, not terribly great at neither of those, but it has some interesting moments.
I found this book to be pretty dire if I'm honest. I am never interested in having a junkie as the so called hero in a book as I find nothing heroic in snorting crap up your nose or sticking needles in yourself. I hate hearing these so called heroes whine about their tough life and expect to get my sympathy. Instead the phrase 'get stuffed' comes to my mind. If this is the best, most reliable man for the job that they can find to guard the cloning investment of rich people, then there is somethi ...more
Mark Woods
Nov 07, 2012 Mark Woods rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spares was written way back before Michael Marshall dropped the Smith from his name, was just starting out as an author and was single-handily responsible for some of the best British sci-fi that had been seen in years! The third of his offerings after One Of Us and the ground-breaking Only Forward, Spares was a novel that redefined the term Cyberpunk and gave us something entirely different from anything we had seen before. Part comedy, part tragedy, part post-modern satire, Spares takes us on ...more
Feb 12, 2009 Dorie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
I've come to count on Michael Smith for imaginative, quite bizarre stories that are well written with an interesting main character. This story is set in the future and is about Jack Randall, an ex-soldier in the war in The Gap. You don't actually find out what this means until the last quarter of the book. After his wife and daughter were murdered, Jack was quietly sent out of New Richmond to a Spares farm, where important people keep their genetic clones handy in case of accidents. You never k ...more
John Dalton
This is an excellent and strange book. It's a sci-fi noir detective thriller with some serious excursions into surrealist territory, and liberal helpings of humour thrown in between all the drugs and violence. Despite this confusion, the author has managed to pull off a cohesive story with fully fleshed-out characters in a vividly described world.[return][return]A cop goes off the rails after a mob hit on his family takes away all he had left in life. He wasn't exactly on the rails to begin with ...more
May 22, 2012 Carrie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-2012
The point of art is to create a reaction in people, good or bad, the stronger the better. Michael Marshall Smith always accomplishes that with me, but unfortunately in this case it was a hate reaction. I had previously read and loved "One of Us" and "Only Forward", so dove into this book eagerly.

MMS always creates interesting, oddball worlds that are very full and developed around the characters. I found the clone concept to be very upsetting in and of itself - the entire way it was set up and
Questo romanzo l’ho letto nel 1999 e ricordo che non mi era piaciuto per nulla. Mi è tornato in mente solo perché ho visto il film Non lasciarmi, tratto dall’omonimo romanzo di Kazuo Ishiguro, che mi sono affrettata a mettere in wish list.
Il tema affrontato è lo stesso, ovvero la clonazione umana al solo scopo di fornire, in caso di necessità, organi da trapiantare senza che causino problemi di rigetto. Ma è il tenore ad essere completamente diverso. Sono proprio curiosa di leggerlo, perché Kaz
Sarah Smith
Aug 19, 2015 Sarah Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book on New Years Eve, years ago and I couldn't go out until I'd finished it. My friends left without me and I didn't care.

The theme of the book is loss and love and redemption set in a world that, although recognisable is bizzare. The author manages to mix strangeness with the completely mundane and somehow makes it a believable universe. He juggles humour and pain and smashes each one.

I've read reviews where people complain that not enough time is spent on the Spares and
Spares is a sci-fi novel based on the concept of the wealthy having their own clones created and stored on a farm, so when they need a 'replacement' such as a kidney transplant or a new leg etc, they simply take it from their clone. This idea is something that comes up every now and again in sci-fi literature, and I've always been fascinated by the idea of cloning and the ethical implications attached to it. Spares however focuses more on our main protagonist, Jack Randall - a wayward ex-junkie ...more
Richard Anderson
May 01, 2014 Richard Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A damaged cop (ho hum). Clones bred for replacement body parts (wait a minute). Flying malls that function as cities (what?). These are the main elements of Michael Marshall Smith’s dystopian noir thriller Spares.

Rapt-addicted ex-cop, Jack Randall, has dropped off the grid following a great personal tragedy. He takes a job as caretaker of one of the farms that houses clones (the “spares” referred to in the title) who are bred by the rich as insurance against failing bodies. Following a Jack Dan
Johnathan Meerfeld
A knockout every time. guess you can't really get used to Genius...

a real contender here for the best book i have ever read.
The story is, in my honest opinion, a simple one.

Very minor spoilers ahead, mind you:

A man who has (seemingly) lost everything, and is haunted, and hunted, for things he did in his past, tries for once to do something good for someone else. this "someone" happens to be a group of "spares", or human clones, grown for the simple and bloody-minded purpose of insuring their "re
Feb 21, 2015 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many of us live in a disposable society, but in this book you enter into the ultimate throw away society. Individuals in this time have the option, with a healthy bank balance, to clone their child at birth as a form of 'insurance'. This allows the 'real' versions to grow up and live as recklessly as they wish knowing that if they lose an arm there is a clone on standby whose arm will be simply be chopped off. If they have kidney disease, then there is a 'spare' kidney out there which will be a ...more
Richard Swan
Well written hardboiled post-cyberpunk detective novel with a psychedelic Vietnam War-alternate dimension twist; my biggest complaint is that the titular Spares aren't actually in the book beyond about 2 chapters, so the entire conceit of the novel is sort of absent, which was an odd narrative decision. It's as if he thought it was a great idea, then either realised there wasn't much he could do with it or got bored of the concept--which is a real shame, because what we are left with is a fairly ...more
Feb 12, 2014 Panagiotis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book of MMS that i read. Similar motive with ''only forward'', a broken protagonist fights against everything to get things straight, and the presence of two parallel worlds. Not as excellent as my first one but still a remarkable book.

Many funny moments -i love the writer's sense of humour- a lot of action, a mysterious parallel world named the Gap - trully captivating-,interesting characters and a strong dosis of redemption structure this beautiful story.

I must say that i loved th
Tim Elsenburg
Sep 12, 2014 Tim Elsenburg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quietly stunned. The first two-thirds is a beautifully constructed sci-fi dystopian noir, but then in the final third, with the appearance of The Gap, Spares becomes truly extraordinary. At this point, we're introduced to a place that perhaps only a later-period William Burroughs (Cities of the Red Night, Western Lands) could've made real.

Generally, abstraction probably isn't a great help when trying to keep a plot moving, especially at the climax of a novel, but I think I happily evolved sever
Steven Bragg
Jun 25, 2015 Steven Bragg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-plotted novel, where the back story continues to be revealed even as the book is drawing to a close. The main character is exceedingly well-drawn, and many of the lesser characters are well fleshed out. However, there are two issues. First, the evil driver of nefarious activities is barely described at all (perhaps the least of any character). Also, the main character is so messed up and downright stupid that he is hard to sympathize with, which makes it much more difficult to fin ...more
Nov 29, 2014 Maya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Много добро четиво, киберпънк с още поне 3-4 субжанрови характеристики, с много екшън и завладяващ главен герой. Атмосферата е жестоко сюрреалистична, обаче в целия тоя мрак, от който очакваш да те заведе накъм тотален хорър, Смит е вплел доза философия, доза оптимизъм, та дори и малко черен хумор. В резултат, романът се поглъща на един дъх и специално мен ме остави удивена от способността на един британски автор да развие с методите на фантастиката такава богата алюзия за виетнамската война и п ...more
Коста  Сивов
Винаги изпитвам перверзно удоволствие, когато се натъкна на някой умопомрачително добър хорър автор, за който само съм чувал (...и не знам защо винаги съм смятал, че пише книги във вселената на "Междузвездни войни"). В действителност Майкъл Маршал Смит не пише книги за джедаи и светлинни мечове, а за доста по-различни неща. Съвсем случайно се натъкнах на няколко негови разказа в различни британски антологии, които направо ме накараха да преосмисля литературните си предпочитания, защото ако има а ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spares is a futuristic crime mystery, set in the confines of a grounded mega-plane that was once a 200 story shopping mall. Jack Randall : a burnt-out ex-cop is battling his inner daemons and trying to solve a series of murders that lead him deep into his difficult past.

This book is an interesting look at cloning, commercialism and technology told with an edgy, cyberpunk style. Full of interesting characters and witty dialogue Spares is dark, complex and engaging. With a mind bending plot and p
May 20, 2014 Kiera rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, giles
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alain Dewitt
Jun 07, 2011 Alain Dewitt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Where do I begin? I recall hearing on a podcast or reading somewhere that this book influenced Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs trilogy (a huge favorite of mine). And in reading 'Spares' I had to remind myself that 'Spares' was published before 'Altered Carbon'.

'Spares''s hero (well anti-hero actually) reminds me a lot of Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs. 'Spares' doesn't have the same wide scope as 'AC' (no space travel and no colony worlds for Randall to explore). Most of the action takes place in New R
Oct 22, 2012 Evelyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2011 Kelanth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Questo libro è stata una piacevole sorpresa. Anzi, non propriamente una sorpresa, visto le molte recensioni positive che ho sempre visto riguardo a questo titolo. Era da tantissimo che l'avevo nella lista "da leggere" e immancabilmente finiva sotto qualcosa d'altro. Chissà perchè, visto che questo libro mi ha veramente divertito.
Era da tempo che non trovavo un'ambientazione così benfatto e meraviglioso nella sua costruzione, nella sua cupezza, nella sua originalità. Un mondo dove un'enorme citt
Jack Randall is a mess, and so he is perfect as a hard boiled loner of the Sam Spade variety – wise-cracking, flawed and damaged war veteran all out to do the right thing, and what’s more it is set against a dystopian high tech future. Dashiell Hammett it ain’t.

I found the book really hard to get hold of; the first third, where we’re still not really sure what’s going on, reads like an anti- police procedural in a drug infested, impoverished city, with some bad-ass medical procedures thrown in
Jan 22, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of Michael Marshall Smith’s work I’ve read, but I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I enjoyed the plotline about the darker side of cloning and I thought there were some wonderful ideas at work, particularly in Smith’s depiction of a bizarre, and truly disturbing dystopian future and the stratified society inhabiting a 200 storey flying shopping mall. At first I found his writing a bit irritating, and was annoyed by the unexplained tech but once I got into the novel I start ...more
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Michael Marshall (Smith) is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. His first novel, ONLY FORWARD, won the August Derleth and Philip K. Dick awards. SPARES and ONE OF US were optioned for film by DreamWorks and Warner Brothers, and the Straw Men trilogy - THE STRAW MEN, THE LONELY DEAD and BLOOD OF ANGELS - were international bestsellers. His most recent novels are THE INTRUDERS, BAD THINGS and K ...more
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“and only when that happens do you realise just how much silence there really is. Silence between lovers, when something really needs to be said; silence from a parent when a child needs some word more than anything else in the world; silences and in betweens and everything which isn’t an answer.” 10 likes
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