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Jack Glass

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,168 ratings  ·  205 reviews
Golden Age SF meets Golden Age Crime in this British Science Fiction Award winner for best novel, from the author of Swiftly, New Model Army, and Yellow Blue Tibia

Jack Glass is the murderer—we know this from the start. Yet as this extraordinary novel unfolds, readers will be astonished to discover how he committed the murders and by the end of the book, their sympathies fo
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published July 26th 2012 by Gollancz
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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. StedmanBring Up the Bodies by Hilary MantelThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel JoyceThe Chemistry of Tears by Peter CareyThe Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Man Booker Prize Eligible 2012
73rd out of 151 books — 267 voters
Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne JonesClara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan VreelandGlass House by Paul G. DayRilke's Book of Hours by Rainer Maria RilkeJack Glass by Adam Roberts
Stained Glass Covers
5th out of 15 books — 6 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jul 06, 2014 Carol. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Vonnegut fans, Powers fans

“A quantity of blood is spilled in this story, I’m sorry to say; and a good many people die; and there is some politics too. There is danger and fear. Accordingly I have told his tale in the form of a murder mystery; or to be more precise (and at all costs we must be precise) three, connected murder mysteries.

But I intend to play fair with you, reader, right from the start, or I’m no true Watson. So let me tell everything now, at the beginning, before the story gets going.“

Such a promising begin
Guy Haley
Roberts' books are truly difficult to rate, because there isn't anything else like them in the modern SF genre. He writes beautifully, really beautifully; the kind of image-dense, well-crafted sentences that you have to read three times just to savour the feel of them sliding through your neurons. His ideas are magical, and he's no imaginative slouch - each novel he writes sports a new and freshly minted world of wondrous veracity.

Set in a future where humans thickly clot the space between the w
This is still the best book I've read this year. I know it's only April, and I read this in February, and there's still a lot of time. But I bloody loved it. And I haven't even got to lend my copy out yet, which is a travesty.

I found it in a way that usually turns up a lot of dross but has actually done me quite proud in the last few months, which is to say in the comments section of a Guardian Online article, this time on locked room mysteries. Every so often, I discover that someone has writte
Mike Carey
What a wonderful thing this book is! Roberts himself describes it as arising from "a desire to collide together some of the conventions of 'Golden Age' science fiction and 'Golden Age' detective fiction." He does that beautifully, but he does so much more.

Does the book satisfy as a mystery? One hundred per cent, I'd say. Of course there are three mysteries, and each of them articulates in a different way. And each of them pays off beautifully. But it's not even scratching the surface of the nove

Dear readers, I fear I have to convey a terrible, terrible tragedy to you! The fifth rating star was murdered and now lies dead in front of you.
But the strangest thing is that we already know who did the killing. It was a collarboration of the remaining four stars, who have fled into this review.
It's like in the novel "Jack Glass", where we are told who is the murderer in all three cases within the book right upfront in the prologue.
So, follow me into this murder mystery review and h
2,5 / 5

Jack Glass, by Adam Roberts is a book that tries too much to be many things but ultimately fails in most, if not all of them. Here’s my personal view and opinion why this is so and why I was disappointed. As usual, I will avoid going into too much detail describing what this book is about, you can read the synopsis up there ^. Instead, I will go straight into my review. Be wary, this review will probably contain light spoilers but nothing too revealing. Quick summary?: A book with a very
Jack Glass is one of those "cannot read anything else until finished books" and despite the occasional gruesomeness inside, I thought it had the same combination of inventiveness and exuberance that made Land of the Headless one of my most favorite sff books. Stone, Splinter and By Light Alone are also comparable in quality (all being among the top tier books I've read)though darker and arguably denser and "less accessible" to casual readers - however much i tend to dislike this expression, some ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Another great novel by Adam Roberts, Jack Glass is a very exciting-to-read blend between "Golden Age science fiction and Golden Age detective fiction". Roberts doesn't try to make these genres something they are not, but he shows us what extraordinary things were done with this kind of fiction in the past, that Golden Age SF can still kick a punch or two and reminds us why we fell in love with SF.
Jack Glass is an impossible book.


I’ve had this on my radar ever since it came out but it wasn’t until it won the British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel this year that I decided to read it.

Jack Glass is ostensibly a blend of Golden Age Science Fiction and Golden Age Crime – to which point this is a homage or subversion is up for discussion. I feel it’s both.


The opening like is one of the best opening lines I have ever read:

This narrative, which I hereby doctorwatson for your benefit,
This is the third Roberts novel I've read, after Swiftly and By Light Alone. It shares a number of qualities with those two books: division into several interlinked but tonally dissimilar sections, cold and not conventionally likable characters who nonetheless grow on the reader, flashy science fiction concepts that don't dominate the story the way one might expect them to, incessant reminders of extreme economic inequality, strange pacing with lurches and changes of focus, etc. I would rank it ...more
Emma Sea
Holy wow, I loved this book!

The book is in three sections, and the first just sucked me in. I was obsessed with the world Roberts created within nine pages. Roberts's writing is marvelous; tender yet precise, dancing in rhythms then breaking out of step, like a flaneur's pause. The world he created is compelling and vast and utterly believable.

The second and third sections had a different focalizing character, and so I couldn't relate to them as easily. And then there is a plot development in s
What a splendid thing this book is. Inside and outside. Full disclosure: I bought this book ONLY because I loved its cover. I didn't read anything about the content or the author, I carefully avoided reading the cover blurb, and jumped into it in complete ignorance.

I have a very visual imagination and I've loved many book covers before, but I've never bought a book just because of its cover, this was the very first time for me. A complete gamble. And I'm glad it paid off so well.

So, just for a
M.d. Lachlan
OK, I'll stick a caveat on this review - Adam Roberts has been very nice about my books, which I suppose leaves me very well disposed to his. However, if I didn't like the book I would just probably lie and tell him I liked it and not bother to review it. There are mild spoilers in this review, though I've done my best to be vague.
This book is a take on the classic locked room mystery. However, it is a Russian doll of a novel, locked rooms inside locked rooms inside locked rooms varying in size
I found this snippet of a review in my e-mail drafts folder (apparently, I was typing a review in an e-mail window back in 2013 and forgot about it all these years - impressive, no?) and thought I'd put it in its proper home. Here it is:

This book hit all of my sweet spots. Antihero. Noble assassin. Gory deaths. Murder mystery. Thoughtful world-building. Novel space travel. It's tricky, intellectual, and a little weird.

The structure is set-up as a three-part puzzle, with a frame tale that gives y
Excellent blend of classic whodunnits and classic sci-fi. Three scenarios - prison escape, country house murder mystery and locked-room murder - form the framework for perfectly paced revelations about a fascinating 'hero', most unusual 'heroine', and consistent, believable Solar System with corrupt political system.
There have been comments in other reviews that the book ended abruptly, but in my view the author has revealed answers to all the mysteries and we appropriately leave the protagonis
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jack Glass is an exceptional science-fiction novel. While I often find science-fiction both tedious and difficult to read, I really enjoyed this book.

The only downside to this novel was that, for me, it got progressively weaker.

The book is separated into three sections. The introduction was by far the most compelling one I’ve ever read and I absolutely adored the first section. I found the characterisations absolutely stunning and, above all, interesting. The descriptions were wonderfully done a
Roberts writes wonderfully flawed sci-fi. This book is a mashup of dystopian scifi with the "duh-duh-duh" mystery short story, except we always know who did it - "Jack Glass", but the challenge is to figure out how. This is introduced to us by a narrator, presumably to let us prepare for the convoluted explanations that abound in these sorts of books (and indeed a character in one story even pokes fun at this tendency in murder mysteries). The first story is great, and unfortunately the best. I ...more
Melissa Prange
It’s so much easier to rant about a bad book than to describe why exactly you truly fell in love with a good book. There’s just something inexplicable about why a certain book nuzzles its way into your heart. (Now it sounds as if I’m going to go on to describe a romance novel or a cozy mystery. I’m so, so sorry, but no.) Jack Glass is one of those books that gave me lovey-dovey feelings and I’m finding those feelings hard to quantify. The story is rock solid. That I can say. I loved the combo of ...more
Zachary Jernigan
Well, my second try with Roberts turned out no better than the first. I can admire what he's doing, but in this and BY LIGHT ALONE I found nothing personal to latch onto. I do ultimately read for an emotional connection -- with characters, primarily, but also with the writing itself -- and Roberts doesn't seem too interested in warming anything he writes above a chilly detachment.
Replete with both the charm and chaff of golden age fiction, Roberts crafts a series of Hard Scifi murder mysteries to stump the reader, while drawing on the tropiest tropishness of tropocity. Space bubbles!
Foarte rar dau peste o carte ca aceasta, care in prima parte aproape ca ma plictiseste, pentru ca apoi sa devina interesanta, iar de la jumatate incolo si mai interesanta. Mistere politiste de moda veche se suprapun peste certitudini ale fizicii actuale, pe fundalul unui viitor posibil al omenirii in sistemul solar. Probabil ca ar fi meritat cinci stele, daca nu ar fi trebuit sa trag de mine ca sa trec de prima parte.
Here's an interesting specimen. What's to be made of Adam Roberts' BSFA-award winning novel Jack Glass (Gollancz, 2012)? Jack Glass is part murder mystery, part golden age science fiction, without being wholly either. Ranging the vastness of the solar system, from meteorite prison cells to a future Earth, Jack Glass is an engaging play on the tropes on the tropes of crime and sci-fi novels, with cogent social commentary thrown in.

Jack Glass is a murderer, among other things; that much is clear f
Jack Glass, notorious criminal and murderer of millions is imprisoned on a asteroid with seven other criminals. The people who have sent him there for eleven years don't know he is there, but when they find out they will be back to get him. It is a cruel, sharp and brutish place, and he must use all his guile to escape from the un escapable place.

On a small planet elsewhere, two sisters are experiencing a spell in gravity in a sealed orbital habitat owned by their hyper rich family. There are th
A sci-fi novel in the form of three how-dunnits. Yes, how, not who.

The first part of the novel is the weakest, taking the form of about a hundred page novella which gives some back story to the eponymous Glass. This could have been half the length, honestly.

Luckily, everything from then onwards is fascinating and compelling science fiction, with golden-age-of-SF feel, similar to Dune (with humanity ruled by five rival families, under the leadership of a imperial dynasty). The second murder myste
I wanted to write a more substantial review, but other stuff is piling up, so here’s a quick impression. V. v. slight spoilers ahead.

This is something of a concept novel, pursued with much acuity and panache. Roberts claims to be braiding together the two so-called Golden Ages of genre fiction: the Golden Age of crime fiction (roughly the interwar period) and the Golden Age of science fiction (roughly just afterwards). The Golden Ages are here to inspire, not to invigilate – Jack Glass does cont
Kirsty Cabot
You can also read this review of Jack Glass over at my blog Be More Book

I've given it 4, but it's more a 3.5.

Important point number one… I pretty much chose to buy this book because of the front cover. It’s just gorgeous!

The book is laid out in 3 sections – In the Box, The FTL Murders and The Impossible Gun. Jack Glass is involved in all three of the sections and it’s up to you to try and work out in what capacity he has been able to get himself involved (which you follow through with the charac
The problem with a relentless experimenter like Adam Roberts is not only do you not know what to expect each time you read one of his novels, but that often they seem hit-and-miss. Jack Glass, for me, falls into the 'miss' category.

There is a lot to like in this immensely entertaining novel -- it is probably the most 'reader friendly' Adam Roberts SF novel to date -- but it simply did not 'click' for me in the same way that By Light Alone did, one of the best SF novels I have read so far this ye
Brian Clegg
On the science fiction front I have to confess that pretty well every author I like I already liked in the 1970s. I really haven't picked up anyone new. But I was blown away by Jack Glass by Adam Roberts. I suspect what made this for me is that Roberts consciously was setting out to write a book that took on some of the conventions of the golden ages of science fiction and crime writing - both favourites for me. It is a new book. It is a modern book. However it encompasses the best of the old. A ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Dragons & Jetpacks: Discussion: Jack Glass Part II 8 25 Nov 13, 2013 12:08PM  
Dragons & Jetpacks: Discussion: Jack Glass, part I 9 28 Nov 08, 2013 08:07PM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: 2012 BSFA Award Winners Announced 1 11 Apr 01, 2013 08:41AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Adam Roberts (born 1965) is an academic, critic and novelist. He also writes parodies under the pseudonyms of A.R.R.R. Roberts, A3R Roberts and Don Brine. He also blogs at The Valve, a group blog devoted to literature and cultural studies.

He has a degree in English from the
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“Do you know where the past and the present intersect?" Jac asked him.
"In your mind, only. It's the only point. Otherwise, the past is further away than the furthest galaxy. We know it, intuitively, because we understand the irrevocability of past action, and sometimes that makes us sad." He looked into Gordius's face, trying to read his expression, but the fellow wouldn't make eye-contact with him. "But it ought not to make us sad. Another name for that irrevocable gap between past and present is -- freedom.”
“We used to think God made us in His image, and that meant we were special, until science told us we just evolved that way because it suited a landscape of trees and savannas. That's what science does: it says, look again and you'll see you're not special. But economics? Economics is also a science. And what does it say? ... It says: there is energy, and there are raw materials, and that's the cosmos. But without us the energy is random and the raw material is inert. It's only labour that makes the cosmos come alive. It's only us that make economics happen at all. And that makes us special.” 1 likes
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