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Keeping It Real (Quantum Gravity, #1)
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Keeping It Real (Quantum Gravity #1)

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,153 Ratings  ·  223 Reviews
The Quantum Bomb of 2015 changed everything. Six years later, the people of Earth exist in uneasy company with the inhabitants of, amongst others, the elven, elemental and demonic realms. Special agent Lila Black used to be pretty but now she's not so sure. Her body is now more than half restless carbon and metal alloy machinery.
Paperback, 279 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by Gollancz (first published May 18th 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

Friendly warning: You might suffer from gif overload while reading this review

Actual rating: 2.5 Or 2? Or should it be 2.75? Damn. It's been almost ten days and I still don't know how to rate this.

The first half of this book made me feel like this:

And like this:

And a little bit like this, too:

But then this happened:

I've been trying to figure out what the hell went wrong since I finished reading the book but I still can't put my finger on it. I guess it's just a combination of things that t
Jason Pettus
May 19, 2009 Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

So once again, it's time for me to pen a single essay concerning an entire series of genre books; because once again I'm tackling a combination of back-titles and a new title from our good friends at genre publisher Pyr, who earlier this year sent me an entire giant box full of cool-looking books mer
Mar 21, 2009 Inara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like to read an action-filled book with a strange heroine in a strange world pick this one up and start reading immediately.
After a fatal explosion at a research center in Texas nothing on earth (or Otopia as earth is called now) is as it has been before. The explosion opened spheres to other realities - magical spheres where elves, demons and other strange creatures dwell. Some years after this incident Lila Black, a special agent, receives the order to protect an elvish rock star who g
Jul 19, 2007 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romance readers who feel like trying something different
This is a romance novel in disguise. Suckered in by the cyborg on the cover, seduced by the concept of a universe formed by the juxtaposition of elves n fairy's n humans I foolishly continued reading past the introduction into the angst ridden world of the bionic woman with appearence issues (granted of course she is now a meld of machinary and woman, so she is fairly justified in this regard).

The redeeming feature of cool wiz-bang sci-fi goodness coupled with a magic should have made this a win
Nov 27, 2007 Res rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The one where half-robotic Lila is hired as a bodyguard for an elf rock star.

OK, mega-points for originality here; this book is chock-full of interesting stuff. I'm especially intrigued by the idea that elves have a sort of a sense organ made of magic. Very clever. Wish I'd thought of it. And as romantic conflicts go, "I've been alienated from my body since I became bionic" beats the hell out of "My parents had a rough divorce."

In the end, though, I was driven away from it by:

- Science, quality
Blue Eyed Vixen
Jul 28, 2013 Blue Eyed Vixen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of exotic, erotic elves, dangerous faeries, wicked demons, and a gutsy heroine.
Recommended to Blue Eyed Vixen by: Lucky find in my library
*Worth 5 stars* I often flick through the shelves at my local library to see what covers catch my attention - yes... I also freely admit that I judge books by their covers.

It's easy to understand, then, why I was drawn to this one. “What's this? A sexy Lycra clad vixen with enough metal weaponry in her arms and legs to start a war?”. I read the back cover and was even more enticed: Agent Lila Black, half human-half robot, all attitude!

This was a cross between between Lord of the Rings, Buffy &a
Surprising, unusual world and heroine. The heroine is a cyborg blend, transformed by the government after nearly fatal injuries, and is now unable to contact people from her old life. Reasons for that still remain unclear to me, but it's used to as a device for emotional isolation. For those who like the romantic push-and-pull relationship, one develops between the lead character and the elf she is bodyguarding. It is definitely an immersion story, requiring attention and concentration; this is ...more
I'd like to review this in the style of an internet meme:

At first I was like :D
But then I was like D:
And then I was like :-\
And finally I was like :-|

The very premise of the book—a sci-fi magitech near future with a cyborg bodyguard for a rock star elf—is relevant to my interests and I wish to subscribe to the newsletter. Too bad that it rapidly devolved into some kind of schlocky romance with the awesomesauce cyborg chick wangsting over her existance and mooning over her charge. There's only so
All Things Urban Fantasy
KEEPING IT REAL was reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings, ON THE ROAD, and DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? all rolled into one, though the way these elements came together is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Magical and lyric and lovely, this book sweeps from page to page like breathing, wrapping you in the world building so completely it is both foreign and utterly encompassing. Like learning a language through immersion, the music of what you read carries you along until the meaning ...more
Melissa McShane
This book was kind of a mess. I don't know if it was listening to it instead of reading it that made it also seem very slow, but I think that was an effect of the author changing her mind in midstream. The setting is fascinating--a "quantum event" breaks reality into seven (?) realms, all of them based on some part of Earth mythology (elemental realm, demonic realm, etc.) and makes Earth history fuzzy so people aren't even sure what parts of it are real. The main character is a woman who was mad ...more
Jennifer Busch
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Pendry
Mar 23, 2008 Tim Pendry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with a sense of fun
Now this one is really fun. It postulates a surprisingly believable universe of us, demons, faeries, elementals and elves (and all sorts) with a hard science (of sorts) back story.

The heroine is a tough girly fantasy figure but not stupidly so. She's a bit of a lonely ladette and I suppose she's been written up for the modern twenty something rather than old salts like this reviewer. But she seems real enough and characterisation is good.

Be prepared for some genuinely raunchy sex scenes (find
Dec 08, 2008 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New series that looked intriguing from the blurb on the back. NOT your typical fantasy at all! Very fun! This book/series breaks all the fantasy stereotypes. Humerous writing, clever, and unique.

Lila Black is a survivor of a magickal attack, saved only by technology that makes her body more machine than human, except for her heart. Her first job out of recovery is to protect Zal, rockstar and somewhat renegade elf, from a death threat from his own people. What seems like a simple bodyguard job
Uniquely envisioned story, another satisfying combination of Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres. I have to admit I enjoyed the first half (sci-fi) a little more than the second half (fantasy); can't really pinpoint exactly why. It felt... faster-paced, and more engrossing. Harder to put down. (I really just enjoy a good chase scene on a motorcycle.)

I am waffling as to whether or not to put it on my lesson-in-feminism shelf or not, but I think I won't. Yes, it's a revisionary female character... she's st
Jan 03, 2009 Coffcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wen Spencer, Eve Kenin, Linnea Sinclair, Tinker, Driven, Games of Command
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I really enjoyed reading this book. I was a little skeptical at first because I thought the title was kind of stupid. (I'm still not really certain what the title has to do with the story, eh well) But I was intrigued by the book cover and the plot that included both fantasy and sci-fi. Being a huge fan of authors Wen Spencer, Eve Kenin and Linnea Sinclair, so this seemed like a perfect book for me. And it was! I admired the author's ability to create a such a well rounded central character-bein ...more
I would have given this book 4 stars in a minute because it has great action, a super heroine, more shooting things than you can shake a stick at and seems to be a kind of urban fantasy all set in a really cool and imaginative tableau plus it has elves and motorcycles and a lot of action, oh yeah did I mention a lot of action, this book runs away with you, but I really did not like the ending all that much, so I docked it a star.

But if you like fun reads and um action, you should give it a try.
This is one of those books whose setting is crammed full of so many ridiculous-sounding elements (cyborgs! elves! fairies! demons! rock stars! spies!) that you think it couldn't possibly work as a coherent whole. But somehow it does.

Briefly, our protagonist Lila Black is a part human, part cyborg spy, who's been assigned as a bodyguard to elven rock star Zal. He's been receiving death threats, and this in turn threatens to upset the delicate diplomatic balance between the alternate universes of
Apr 30, 2014 Bookguide rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Thursday Next, Star Trek the Next Generation and Lois McMasters Bujold
This is probably not a book for die-hard fantasy or sci fi fans, but it's amusing and entertaining enough for the rest of us, and if you enjoy the sort of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' episode which concentrates on relationships or holodeck fun, you'll probably enjoy this. Outwardly fantasy, featuring elves, demons, faeries and elementals, with a series title which hints at sci fi (Quantum Gravity) and a cyborg for a heroine, I was a bit puzzled by the lack of science in this book, and I'm at ...more
Yolanda Sfetsos
When I read the blurb for this book I couldn't decide if it was a futuristic, an urban fantasy, a Sci-Fi, or just a straight out fantasy. I just knew that I wanted to read it. After I started it, I found out that it's pretty much a mix of all of the above. Just like Lila is a mesh between human and machine.

After the Quantum Bomb, the world changed forever. Even the name changed, Earth is now known as Otopia. But more importantly, the fabric between the dimensions was torn, opening up the way to
Jul 09, 2015 Moira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, čj
V dnešní době je strašně moc nových knih, přímo se na nás valí. A ty starší se opomínají, co se dá dělat, přežijí jen nejlepší. Lila Black však je dobrý příběh, trochu neohrabaný, přesto výborný a plný fantazie, trestuhodně neznámý. Myslím, že je to jen proto, že Lila předběhla svou dobu. Kdyby kniha vyšla v posledních letech, nepochybuju, že by se stala trhákem. Vážně.

V roce 2015 na naší zemi vybuchla Kvantová bomba a změnila vše. Způsobila propojení Otopie (naší Země) s dalšími světy, se světe
Disons-le tout de suite pour citer une phrase désormais célèbre : "les frites, j'aime bien, le nutella, j'aime bien. Mais les frites au nutella ... j'aime moins", trop de trop tue le trop.
Et là, des trucs en trop, il y en a à la pelle. Rien que notre héroîne, Lila Black, qui se trimballe un Tokamak dans le ventre et une IA au fond du crâne (ainsi que quelques dizaines de kilos d'armes à feu dans des parties du corps difficilement descriptibles) est en soi boursouflée, à la fois par son physique
Dec 30, 2010 Karissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book in the Quantum Gravity series by Justina Robson. So far there are four books in the series with a 5th being planned for future release. I wasn't able to find the number of books actually contracted for this series. Anyway, I really liked it. It is a great first book in the series and I want to learn a lot more about both the world and the characters.

A quantum bomb exploded in 2015 ripping a hole in reality and revealing five other realities; an elven realm, an elemental re
Janice (Janicu)
Aug 23, 2008 Janice (Janicu) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The basic premise is that Lila Black, a special agent with a body that is mostly machine, has been tasked to protect the lead singer of The No Shows - an elf named Zal. Zal is unusual amongst his kind and has made a strange choice to be "slumming" down on Earth. Someone from Alfheim, who disapproves of Zal's lifestyle is sending him death threats. Half of the book takes place on Earth and the other on Alfheim, but I don't think I can even begin to start describing it. It was so much fun to read! ...more
Michael Mcclelland
Full of big and intriguing, somewhat only half-realised, ideas, the book is predominately a sketch of the worlds and dimensions that will host subsequent books in the series, and fly-by action sequences. No great deal of time is spent on what could have been the fascinating (rather than interesting) characters; they purely serve the story and, as such, are hard to care for or learn from. Lastly, the pacing of the novel can be quite uneven; some important action zips by so dizzyingly fast amidst ...more
Oct 05, 2007 Brownbetty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like this sort of thing, then this is the sort of thing you'll like. Nice mix of science and magic, tilted slightly toward science. The premise is that a quantum accident has shifted history and space time, fracturing Earth into multiples on which parallel races live/have always lived, only one of which is actually human. The Earth most like "our" earth is still not quite ours.

The cyborg protagonist, Lila Black, has a slightly sue-ish name but is, nuclear powered lower half aside, wholly
Dec 27, 2008 CD rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Excellent fantasy read with hot elf romance. A Quantum Bomb changed the nature of the world when it allowed the other dimensions access to the human world. Elves, elementals, demons and other magic realms are all now connected and there are some (mainly the high elves) who are a bit pissy about it all. In comes Lila Black (half machine, half human) who is assigned bodyguard duty to a rocker elf named Zal. Things are not what they seem, dangerous machinations are afoot and a deadly game has ...more
I couldn't put this down, even when I was irritated or confused by its story, the action or the characters. But I agree with this reviewer (Jennifer):

A few things were difficult to understand (and I'm not talking about quantum here :)

-The love at first sight, if it was true, it was unbelievable. If it was a Game, it wasn't explained clearly.

-The heroine change of heart toward Dar: again too quick and unexplained for his past action (we are not talking of
Jul 22, 2012 Deirdre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fromlibrary, sci-fi
Lila Black has had an interesting history with Elves. Magic, elemental energy, demons and technology exist side-by-side in this alternative version of our world. A little Shadowrunish, or maybe TORG, there was a Quantum Bom and the spaces between the different dimensions were pulled together, or ripped apart.
Lila Black was put back by technology after the Elves damaged her, she hasn't quite got used to the implications of her new body and it's limitations. The AI that co-exists with her is also
Pippa DaCosta
Jan 11, 2015 Pippa DaCosta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series is one of my all-time favorites. Mix a cyborg, with the fae, and demons, and a toss them into an alternative future, complete with different realms, and it's just wonderful escapism with a sexy twist. I adore the feisty Lila (heroines don't come more kick-ass than her) and have a total crush on Zal.
Beautiful writing, but not too weighty with sci-fi references. Hard sci-fi fans will probably find it lacking; hence some of the lower ratings, but if you enjoy UF or PNR, don't let those
Sep 05, 2015 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love all Justina Robson's books so all of them will get a great review from me.

To explain what her books are really like is quite difficult though. Living Next Door to the God of Love for example, starts with an Angel describing the end of his world. You are not quite sure whether to take it literally or not.

This series though, is about our world where a 'quantum bomb' has ripped open the barriers between worlds, so that the worlds of Fairy, Demons, Elves etc are accessible to us and we have
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Justina is from Leeds, a city in Yorkshire in the north of England. She always wanted to write and always did. Other things sometimes got in the way and sometimes still do...but not too much.
More about Justina Robson...

Other Books in the Series

Quantum Gravity (5 books)
  • Selling Out (Quantum Gravity #2)
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  • Down to the Bone (Quantum Gravity #5)

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