Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Idlewild (Idlewild, #1)” as Want to Read:
Idlewild (Idlewild, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Idlewild (Idlewild #1)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  2,065 ratings  ·  197 reviews
It is a not-too-distant future in our all-too-recognizable world. It is the late twenty-first century and a deadly virus has seeped into human kind's genetic make-up. In only a few generations this plague will have wiped us off the face of the planet, but we're not going down without a fight. Teams of scientists, geneticists and programmers race to find a cure, but time is ...more
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published August 2nd 2004 by Bantam (first published August 8th 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Idlewild, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Idlewild

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Oct 05, 2011 Z rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Idlewild starts out part Orson Scott Card, part Neil Gaiman, and part Chuck Palahniuk - so much so that you start to wonder when the author will find his own voice. Gratifyingly, about halfway through, the themes cohere to hit a note that is uniquely Nick Sagan. I finished this book in two days flat and found myself thinking about it and admiring various aspects of it during the time (read: working hours) that I couldn't read it.

Halloween is a special, genetically gifted student at the Idlewild
Beem Weeks
This novel surprised me. I am not much of a fan of science fiction, but not knowing this book belonged in that genre, I picked up a copy and settled in for a read. Immediately I felt myself being drawn inside the story. It became one of those stories I couldn't put down, needing to see where the next chapter would lead. The characters are fleshed out and well-written, the plot is solid, and the story remains interesting from start to finish.

In the late twenty-first century a virus has decimated
Hated everything about this book and it took everything I had to finish it.
4.0/5.0 stars


"I look back upon my ignorance with the knowledge that I was much happier then than now. Consider this: children know precious little, but the profound ignorance comes from profound innocence. People really mean to say that innocence is bliss. And bliss is short-lived.”

I chanced upon this book in an aimless bookstore trip at a time when Neil Gaiman was recommended to me by a friend. I saw Gaiman's endorsement and decided to buy this. That and the awesome blurb..

He calls himself Ha
Apr 11, 2010 Deozaan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Allen, Chad, Kenya,
Recommended to Deozaan by: Challis
I am still reeling from the ending of this book.

In the first chapter or two, I wasn't sure I would like the book. The writing style is different from what I'm used to. It's more a stream-of-consciousness written from the first person. And it starts out extremely vague and confusing. Lots of questions but very few answers, or answers that just bring more questions.

But it's definitely gripping. I read it in one sitting, taking perhaps 5 or 6 hours.

The story unfolds slowly, methodically, and layer
Ok this is very Sci-Fi, so if thats not your thing then this , this is not your book. A lot of people seemed to have given this a good rating on Goodreads, me not so much.

I hate when a book makes me feel dumb, like I don't get the joke that they are still laughing about 2 pages later.The characters make reference to things that have not been covered in the book,I am sure that this is a tool the author used to show the comradery between the teens it sort of annoyed me.

It was like "Inception" if
When I started reading this, I had a distinct mental image of the exact setting described in the first few pages. And that mental image kept going through the whole novel.

The story, a mix of sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, and loss of innocence is good for YA and adult readers alike. As I was reading, I couldn't decide which it section it fit best in...before I gave up. A good book is a good book so who really cares?

Halloween is our main character and immediately, he's not exactly the best narrator, c
Logan K
Idlewild by Nick Sagan is a science fiction and mystery book. I think it is a great page-turner full of suspense and action, and the characters, setting, and story pull you in so you just can not stop reading. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery, suspense, and action in books. Idlewild is one of the best books I have ever read.
Idlewild is about a teenage boy named Halloween who wakes up with no memory of who he is. He soon learns that he is in a school that is in virtual re
Rich Stoehr
The first 20 or 30 pages of "Idlewild" frankly had me wondering if I should bother reading the rest of the book. The characters and situations seemed just a bit fake, and the early premise seemed trite. Now, having stuck it out and read the whole book, I think that was intentional. The odd beginning sets up expectations for the reader early on, and then the story carries on to improve upon itself almost constantly. By the end, I was left fairly impressed and pleased with a book I hadn't been sur ...more
Juan Valera
Sarcasm. Plain, unadulterated self-loathing, nicotine addiction. None of these are good in the grand scheme of things, nor are they good for you. I love them now. Why, I hear you ask? Simple. Halloween likes them. And Halloween is the single most fascinating character I have ever read. I've never smoked in my life, but just reading Sagan's "Idlewild" makes me crave the cloves Hal is constantly lighting up. Hal is the protagonist, but he's one of the best examples of an anti-hero ever: he's sulle ...more
This book follows the life of a teenage boy -- the archetypal bright, world-weary loner with authority issues -- who is being educated at a special virtual reality-based boarding school along with several other teenagers, while the world outside progresses towards apocalypse. Of course, nothing is exactly what it seems, and a conspiracy reminiscent of The Matrix and other cyberpunk-ish works begins to come to light.

The story has some flaws besides its familiarity: a few of the characters feel in
Amazing! I knew nothing about this going into it, so it was a great surprise. It was by far the best audiobook I have heard, despite the really poor start. If you are listening to it, know that the author "acts" out the book, so it seems incredibly over-dramatic at the beginning. Keep going!

The story goes from convoluted to intriguing. The characters are young, high school kids, and may feel flat in some places as a result. It takes a few turns that may or may not be expected, but overall, Nick
Prince of Cats
How many times have I read this book now? I remember the first time I read it; I was an impressionable young teenager - and what an impression it made on me! Prior to Idlewild, I had mostly been obsessed with fantasy novels on a pretty exclusive basis. It was this book that taught me that science fiction could be just as enjoyable - that a book didn't have to have magic and mystical creatures to be spellbinding in its own way.

The second time I read it, I discovered that there was a second book i
Benjamin Atkinson
Carl Sagan is a legend. Having said that, my favorite SF novel written by a Sagan is Idlewild, by his son, Nick Sagan. This book has received so little attention and I count it as one of my favorite sf novels. The level of paranoia and real fear, Sagan develops is impressive. Charles Stross would be lucky to have written a novel this good. In fact, it kind of reminded me of Glasshouse, with a few less bells and whistles. A bunch of adolescents are living in a VR experimental community. Our prota ...more
A twisting, turning take on both a post-apocalyptic future (man's disaster this week? It's a disease known as the Black Ep) and a virtual reality world, similar in some ways to the one pictured in "The Matrix" and "Inception."

Our protagonist awakes at the beginning of the book, aware of very little except that someone has just tried to kill him. He doesn't even remember his name, although snatches of memory come back as the book wears on. He's in a bizarre world, that he slowly remembers as a vi
This wasn't a good book, but the storyline is so fascinating that it can't be called a totally bad book either. Like so many others, I came close to putting it down in the beginning. Disjointed nonsense is not an auspicious way to begin a book. Nonetheless, it was intriguing nonsense and I'm glad I pushed on. Reading this was like peeling an onion....satisfying in a way but not a particularly pleasant experience. The good parts were the VR tech and the premise of a VR education and all the parti ...more
The much (much) better written, but notably less exciting version of Ready Player One. Futuristic, "immersive virtual reality", bleak reality, smart young know-it-all male protagonist, save the world, etc. But if Ready Player One is the book your friend writes in their freshman Writing course, then Idlewild is the book they write during Grad school.

Really great story, but it's a quick read that takes a long time to finish.
And DANG was this book a downer the further along you got. By the last p
Never considered myself a sci-fi gal. This one is fantasy/reality enough to not be sci-fi, even though it is... Really reminded me of the matrix.
What a fun place to get lost for awhile. Unfortunately it was too quick of a read. Liked the tangle that slowly unravels in different layers. Wanted to stay in this IVR world a lot longer.
One big question unanswered: How does Mercutio find his way to 0?
I thought that this was really original. And I was totally surprised by the ending--totally didn't see it coming. And the author is very cool. I ended up communicating with him after I read the book and it turns out that he went to the same high school as I did and based the book partly on our school. Maybe that's why I liked it so much . . .
May 18, 2008 Ysabel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of matrix-style simulation-worlds
This is my most favourite book to date. It is so well written and set in a world I think I secretly crave to be a part of. I loved the twist at the end and definitely did not see it coming. I've read it at least five times since I bought it last year and will continue to do so for years to come.
Tricia Mchugh
Nick Sagan is the son of Carl Sagan. I met him and his wonderful wife when I worked at Barnes & Noble in Ithaca, NY.
He did a book signing there and it was at that time I learned of this trilogy.
My fiancé and I read all three of the books out loud to each other, taking turns throughout and putting our own personality into the characters
I loved all three of the books. Neither of us could put them down.
The characters were well-written. We identified with them on a personal level. The storylin
Dec 16, 2014 Petya rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
What? That was my reaction throughout the book. It took me a good one hundred pages to get into the book and start enjoying it. It was so confusing in the begining and the moment I started to understand what I was reading , ten pages later I would wonder what was happening.

I found the plot really interesting and intriguing. The way the whole thing turned out, that it wasnt real... damn. Did not expect it to be Merc. It is so cool to think that you can imagine and build worlds and people and stuf
this book has cyberpunk feel at the beginning but also reminiscent of Roger Zelazney's Chronicles of Amber... and some MAJOR twists in the story line that will make you go WOW.
for any lover of scifi/fantasy, this is a must read. intelligent, wildly imaginative, totally engrossing. then go on and read edenborn and everfree. fantastic trilogy!
Christopher Litsinger
I'm not sure why this series isn't better known. This book is probably the weakest of the trilogy, but it's a worthy read nonetheless.
Occasionally, you're forcefully reminded that you're reading a book by the son of a very famous smart person, like here:
First, I found my old papers. Projects, tests, reports. Some truly awful poetry comparing my heart to a dying rose. Worse, I’d rhymed solidified with thalidomide and impetigo with Venus de Milo. Embarrassing. And it didn’t even relate to the assi
I wanted to like this book, but it fought me the whole way. The overriding premise was great, but had such a clunky execution. The main character remembers stuff when it's convenient for the author. The characters are flat. And it take forever for the plot to kick into gear.

Also...I couldn't decide if this was supposed to be a YA novel or not. It sits exactly on the line of YA fiction and general fiction, and not in a good way. It doesn't really work in either case.

I'm slamming this book, and I'
Donna Backshall
I'm proud of myself for not tossing this book within the first 30 pages, because until the story started to gel, it seemed all too much like one of Gaiman's nonsensical fantasies. (Clearly I'm not a fan.) I love scifi, but there is very little science and an awful lot of YA fantasy in here.

I stuck with it, and though I never found the scifi adventure I was hoping to uncover, it wasn't bad. It wasn't great either. It was a fairly drawn-out exploration of one young man's existential crisis, which
Sagan's book starts out strong with an amnesia-stricken narrator slowly piecing together the mysteries of his world. A world full of alternate realities, omniscient virtual caretakers, and a band of ten teenagers who have grown up together but circle each other with the wariness of feral dogs. A sense of impending disaster or violence seems to lurk behind every corner, heightened by the fact that the narrator Halloween cannot remember all the social or even logistical details of his existence. H ...more
Valorie Engholm
Excellent story! Constantly surprising, and hard to put down.
Matthew Ciarvella
A pretty enjoyable read, but man, I wish the Goodreads blurb hadn't spoiled what (to me) felt like a really big plot twist. I feel like the potential had been there for some really good Inception-style mindbending.

Otherwise, it's still a fun book, although I wish the author had spent more time crafting a reason for why the protagonist Halloween rebels so forcefully against the VR world. Certainly, after everything goes to hell, it makes sense why he'd hate the VR, but prior to that, it really d
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: fixes for Idlewild 9780553815979 1 12 Jul 14, 2013 10:30PM  
What's The Name o...: SOLVED- Idlewild by Nick Sagan [s] 8 69 Jan 12, 2009 03:30PM  
stolen ideas? 1 48 Dec 15, 2008 11:51PM  
  • The Guardener's Tale
  • Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers (The Company, #4.5)
  • Melchior's Fire (Three Kings, #2)
  • After London: or, Wild England
  • Plague Year (Plague, #1)
  • Infoquake (Jump 225 , #1)
  • The Killing Star
  • Invitation to the Game
  • Signal to Noise
  • Counting Heads (Counting Heads, #1)
  • Yarn
  • I Who Have Never Known Men
  • The Wind from Nowhere
  • The Eternal Prison (Avery Cates, #3)
  • The Genocides
  • Quarantine
  • The Snow
  • Osiris (The Osiris Project, #1)

Other Books in the Series

Idlewild (3 books)
  • Edenborn (Idlewild, #2)
  • Everfree (Idlewild, #3)
Edenborn (Idlewild, #2) Everfree (Idlewild, #3) You Call This the Future?: The Greatest Inventions Sci-Fi Imagined and Science Promised Shrapnel: Hubris Shrapnel: Hubris 2

Share This Book

“When I think of Simone now, I think of butterfly wings. Beautiful and excruciatingly delicate. Touch them once and they might disintegrate.” 14 likes
“No existe justificación divina para el mal. Tal y como afirmaba Darwin: "Dios debe ser débil o perverso".” 2 likes
More quotes…