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News From Gardenia

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 22nd 2012 by Unbound
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 288)
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Nikki
The idea of creating a proper utopia, as opposed to portraying an idea that was meant to lead to a utopia and ended up being oppressive/only working for the upper class citizens, is not a new one, but it's not one I've seen around much recently. Part of that is probably that it's hard to make a society like that interesting; my English teacher Mr. E always used to point out that literature is about things going wrong, that what we are interested in is not happy people, but the conflicts they com ...more
Darren Sant
This was one of those novels that I devoured in a day. Llewellyn captivated me from the first page. Gavin is a busy man and he has little time to reflect on his life and little time for his wife. An important man, a busy man. However, when a freak anomaly sees him transported two hundred years into the future he realises the world is a very different place to the one he left behind and time might be all he has.

Llewellyn has created a very different utopia within this novel. The lead character Ga
...more
Anna
I have several major quibbles with this book, the last of which may seem a little contradictory.

The first and most significant - the protagonist is a jerk. He reminded me of that bit in ‘The Social Network’, when Mark Zuckerberg’s girlfriend is breaking up with him and says, “You think women don’t like you because you’re a nerd [geek?]. But it’s actually because you’re an asshole.” I paraphrase, but you get the idea. Someone needs to say this to Gavin. When he rocked up in the future, I kept exp
...more
Andrew
Once again I’m wishing that Goodreads would allow marks out of 10 rather than 5! I’m feeling a bit guilty, my mark feels a little harsh albeit probably fair. I was a bit disappointed by this novel, the idea was interesting but ultimately it fails to deliver on its promise.

News from Gardenia is a utopian science fiction novel set 200 years from now, mostly in a post energy-crisis Britain (now called Gardenia). The main character (Gavin) gets catapulted into the future from our time, Buck Rogers-s
...more
Katy
Sadly, I have to say that I did not think this book was very good. It's a utopian novel, and suffered from the same problems that all utopian novels seem to me to have: nothing actually happens beyond "character goes to utopia, residents of utopia explain things about their society and history". At least in Herland there's some conflict, but seriously nothing happens in this book at all. I also thought that the setting was wrong - it's supposed to be about 200 years in the future, 150 years afte ...more
James Cridland
Much to my irritation, Robert Llewellyn books aren't available in Kindle format: and, as far as I can tell, he's not written one for a while. So when he popped up on Google+ asking for funding for a new book (using a website called unbound), I thought I'd pop along and help. Three months later, the book is finished - my name's in the back - and, once I realised I could actually download it (that's a whole other story), I settled down to read it on the Kindle (and in a nicely-produced .mobi versi ...more
Charlie Wade
Read this after a recommendation and was impressed.

Llewellyn drops you into a fully developed new world without it feeling like an information overload. Though a utopian novel, it did make me realise that to some extent utopia/dystopia is in the eye of the beholder. Though Gavin is initially an unwilling guest and struggles to understand how and why society has changed so much, the realisation this was the only way society could go without imploding builds through the novel.

To me, it was too sh
...more
Derek  Erb
A wonderfully optimistic view of the future. For once the future is Utopic and wonderful instead of apocalyptic and dreadful.

Bits inspired from News From Nowhere, from The Time Machine, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, amongst others.

Truly enjoyable, and thought-provoking read. I highly recommend the audio version as the author reads and does wonderful voices which brings his story even more to life.
Paul
This is a Utopian novel and as the author has acknowledged it's a tricky thing to write well. I think he does a decent job but in the end it feels more like a travelogue than a novel. It wasn't too long though.

Also, I've just finished reading a few minutes ago and I have to say I felt the ending was a bit abrupt.

Matthew
I'll start by showing off: Robert Llewellyn himself signed my copy at Cardiff Comic Con 2013.

A solid, entertaining novel. A nice read, but not for everyone. It's utopian science fiction. The book is heavily based on technology, so if you have no interest in it whatsoever then do not even bother with this story.

I was slightly disappointed with the story. I enjoyed the first half of the book; the unfolding of an interesting and exciting plot, a number of likable characters and an overall enjoyab
...more
Maya Panika
An odd little book, strongly inspired by William Morris's utopian-socialist News from Nowhere, News from Gardenia is the antidote to all those miserable dystopian novels that abound at the moment. It's a great idea and - after having heard Robert Llewellyn talk about this book on Radio Four, I was really keen to get hold of a copy.

Unfortunately, News from Gardenia doesn't do justice to the boldness of the idea. The style is too self-conscious in its attempts to amuse. The story is repetitive and
...more
Kindlebug
A thought-provoking foray into a futuristic utopia where the possibility of living in harmony with the natural world whilst still enjoying advanced technology is explored. News from Gardenia isn't a deep or complex novel, but it is an interesting and inviting read, with a main character who is hard not to warm to. Its hard to describe this book as a novel though as it often reads as a polite character-lead essay on the possibility of living a life of sustainability through education, socio-econo ...more
Jay Paget
Robert Llewellyn is very outspoken regarding alternative energy, so when I saw the plot of this book I expected there to be points where he laboured his anti fossil fuels message so much that it distracted from the story. Thankfully this isn't the case.

A very well written yarn that is definitely more about the story than the writing- in some sections he could have been writing in broken english, the story is gripping enough that it really wouldn't matter. The story is about Gavin, who has an arg
...more
Anna
I had been wanting to read this book for around a year, since I interviewed Robert Llewellyn for Crowdfund it! as a case study for Unbound.

News from Gardenia is set 200 years in the future where the main character Gavin accidentally arrives by plane after flying through a strange cloud. Almost without exception movies set into the future have a world much bleaker than the one we currently inhabit. In fact, this was highlighted for me only last night when my husband suggested we watch 'Loopers' w
...more
Crazyjamie
This book is one of those that caught my eye right from the shelf in the store. Not just because of its striking green cover (which helps), but because of what the preamble promises. It's a book about the future, but not a future where war, zombies or aliens have ravaged society. It's a future where humanity seems to get it right. This in itself intrigued me, so it was inevitable that I was eventually going to buy and read it.

Initially I have to admit that this book really held my interest. Lle
...more
Sean Randall
"I was in a room with what looked like normal human beings, but things were steadily and relentlessly going out of whack."

The opening of this book was quite intriguing; I'd heard an audio reading of the first chapter a few months ago and so was glad to give it a go. The writing is lightly amusing, Llewellyn has a style that is both comfortable, informative and funny.

"It sounded like the whole system I’d known, in fact the whole country, had broken down into some sort of anarchist semi-medieval s
...more
Jane
I bought this after seeing Robert talk at the "Unbound meets Catalyst Club" event as part of the 2013 Brighton Festival. The way he described the sequel made me interested in reading this book. I've since registered as a subscriber of the next book News From the Squares.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I was engrossed in the world he describes and I love the near-future-ness of the technology he describes. As he said in his talk, it's all possible, nothing is conjured up, some of it is stretched
...more
Martin Watts
A good old fashioned utopia. You don't see many of them these days. Gavin is, as has been said in other reviews, a bit of a jerk but by the end of the book he is showing signs of improvement. Where will the tether take him next? My main quibble is that the space pods as described make no sense. Perhaps the author will give a fuller explanation elsewhere.
Sheila
I had been looking forward to reading this for quite a long time, but sadly was a bit disappointed with it. For a book which was set in a supposedly utopian technology-free future, the language was incredibly technology-obsessed. I also found the writing style fairly naive, but maybe that was intentional. Don't think I will be reading the sequel.
Stuart Gilbert
This was a nice change of pace from the things I've been reading lately. I pretty much always imagined Robert Llewellyn as Gavin Meckler.
Vasu
I've got to be honest, I was expecting a lot more. Not a lot happened. The protagonist, Gavin did a few things, but nothing exciting. I would have been happier with a longer book, and a much more thrilling story. The ending was slightly abrupt, which is somewhat frustrating; however, it does leave opportunity for a sequel. The concept of the novel was great, however, and I suppose it makes you think, like all futuristic novels. I would recommend it, with hesitation though. It wasn't great, but i ...more
Gemma Thomson
I liked this book, after having been sold on its concept while hearing Robert Llewellyn talk at Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013. It's not the most action-packed of novels, and the nature of its lead character (an engineer somewhere on the autism spectrum) makes this a hard book to really get into. Still, it's an enjoyable experience with interesting technological ideas. Worth a look, just not especially re-readable or gripping.
Chrissie Edden
This book really opened my eyes to the future. There is a lot we are going to face in our lifetimes that is going to completely change how we live but hardly anyone is preparing or even talking about it. I found the main character a bit abrasive and heartless when it came to his relationships particularly in regards to his wife. However that served to make him seem all the more genuine.

Thanks Bobby, really made me think.
Charlie
The story of a man who gets taken to the future and talks a lot to the people there to find out how utopia came to be. If it had been the story of the founding of the utopia rather than the story of talking about the founding of utopia it might have been a better book, but really, just talking about it, Meh.
Quite readable and pleasant, but I somehow expected something better.
Mary
I was really rather enjoying the tale, and then it was over. By that I mean, it didn't end so much as it just stopped. Having done some poking around on Google, I discovered that my Kindle edition wasn't actually missing any chapters (as I first thought), it just ends the way it ends. Ah, well - it certainly leaves open the possibility of a sequel, at least.
Glenn Wehmeyer
Delightfully original view of the future where our hero is beset with a strange new world. A world that is divided into non-economic countries, declining major economic powers like China and other disparite places. He's trying to find links to his past or could it be his possible future? Never can tell in sci-fi :)

Paul Gannon
I quite enjoyed this book. I think Robert has showed us his hope for the future in this novel :) This futuristic utopia could be a wonderful place to live; albeit a tad confusing at times. One thing I didn't like was how suddenly the book ended; however if this was the plan, to release a sequel, then I suppose it's okay.
Caitlin
A great novel about the future where humans have not wiped themselves and all other live off the planet. An insight into what we need may need to do to ensure the future of our race. Brilliantly written, beautifully bound. The sequel is available to pre-order here http://unbound.co.uk/books/news-from-...
Ben Gillam
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, quite different from what I normally read and painted an incredible vision of the future in an easy to read way. Not a huge book by any stretch but highly recommended - I understand a follow up is on the way too
Richard
If you enjoy geo-political nurdishness then this book is most definitely worth a read. I really enjoyed it (audiobook version) and would say that it made me think about many different issues within the sphere of environmentalism and technology!
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The ending - possible spoilers 4 10 Jun 17, 2012 02:13PM  
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87064
Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.

Robert Llewellyn is an English actor, presenter, and writer. He is best known for his roles as presenter of Scrapheap Challenge, and as the android Kryten in the hit sitcom Red Dwarf.
More about Robert Llewellyn...
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