The Unincorporated Man
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The Unincorporated Man (Unincorporated Man #1)

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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,916 ratings  ·  314 reviews
The incredible has happened. A billionaire businessman from our time, frozen in secret in the early 21st century, is discovered in the far future and resurrected, given health and a vigorous younger body. He awakens into a civilization in which every individual is formed into a legal corporation at birth, and spends many years trying to attain control over their own life b...more
Paperback, 490 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Tor Books (first published March 31st 2009)
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Stefan
This novel offers a really interesting and innovative SF concept: in the future, every person is incorporated upon birth. Twenty percent of the shares go to the parents, five percent goes to the government, the rest can be sold by the owner for education, possessions and so on. You can buy and sell someone's shares as an investment, for charity, even as a hostile act. Reaching "self-majority" - owning the majority of your own shares - is similar to becoming independently wealthy in today's world...more
Cass
Storyline: 2 stars
Character likeability: 1 star
World building:4 stars
American propaganda: -1star

Three hundred years in the past a rich man has himself cryogenicly frozen and sealed away somewhere safe. He is reanimated into a future world where every individual is incorporated. Parents own a 20% stock in there kids. Shareholders vote on major decisions for an individual.

I really like the premise. It is incredibly interesting, especially when we learn about "penny stocks" and the chairman who wa...more
JulesQ
Jun 02, 2010 JulesQ rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like science fiction and are patient
Recommended to JulesQ by: Tyler Cowen
Shelves: 2010
So, I think I liked this book a lot better while I was reading it than once I was done -- it might just be because the first half was like 42 times better than the second half. And once it was done I was left feeling very unsatisfied, and I think there are a couple of reasons for this.

The premise of the book is that in the future, people are like individual corporations which can buy and sell percentages of their earnings -- the government gets an automatic 5%, parents get 20%, and the rest you...more
Stephen
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Excellent debut novel. It is always nice when a truly unique idea comes along and the central idea of this book is certainly that. A great piece of libertarian science fiction from a fresh new voice (or voices). I look forward to this duos next book. Recommended.
Nick
First, thank you to Ayn Rand for not writing her 'economic libertarian' novels in a series, (e.g. imagine reading the last page of Atlas Shrugged Library Edition Part 2..."stay tuned for Ann's continuation of the Atlas saga, _Atlas Itched_!") The only serious disappointment was the author's inability to complete this in a single volume. Having said that, the Kollin brothers are a very clear major new voice in science fiction, very welcome. This novel could be a nominee for the nebulas or hugos n...more
David
A friend of mine entreated me to read a book, but I just can't slog through it. The book is The Unincorporated Man by Dani and Eytan Kollin. I made it about 1/3 of the way through.

The basic premise is that in the future, people will all be their own corporations, and their shares will be available to be bought and sold by others on the open market. Interesting!

Then, a particularly old person (Justin) comes out of cold-sleep such that he is the only person in the world who is not actually incorp...more
Will
This book... made me itch.

It reads like a 1950s potboiler. The characters are cardboard stereotypes. The plot is hackneyed. And the central conceit, a system of incorporation, is a problem, because a) it's silly (WHY was this solution considered? HOW did it get introduced?) and b) social forces would have acted far sooner to challenge the central premise, without requiring the figurehead. The ridiculous figurehead.

Justin Cord is basically John Galt, frozen and petrified. The book reads like Ayn...more
BirdBrian
Welcome to the world of The Unincorporated Man! It’s 350 years in the future, and most citizens are incorporated entities whose shares trade on the open market.

Do you think your class valedictorian is going to go far? Buy some of his shares today, while they’re still cheap! When he eventually becomes a hotshot executive, you’ll be entitled to dividends representing a share of his earnings!

How about those noisy neighbors next door? Can’t seem to get them to turn their stereo down? Maybe it’s ti...more
Bridget
Fascinating. While the protagonist was largely frustrating, I love that this book brought some fresh ideas to a genre largely in need of them. The concept that in the future people own shares in you & your future earnings was highly original. I love that a guy from our time who cryogenically froze himself wakes up in a future as the only person who isn't incorporated ie no one owns stock in him. The book did a great job of showing both sides of the coin for why society & individuals shou...more
Tish
The premise of the book is interesting and original: a man with a terminal illness has himself frozen and is revived 3 or 4 centuries later. Society has evolved into one of personal incorporation: at birth, people are assigned 100,00 shares, 5% of which goes to the government, 20% to their family, and they are free to keep or sell the other 75% to finance college, start a business, or whatever. The first part of the book was interesting as we learn how Justin's frozen body was discovered and rea...more
Text Addict
The literary political-social dialectic and is alive and well, and being published by Tor: The Unincorporated Man looks like a political treatise disguised as a pretty good novel. Cleverly, it sets up a conflict with one unfortunate aspect of its ideal Objectivist/Libertarian future society, and in demolishing that one aspect it leaves the rest of the socio-political structure intact and unchallenged. As I said, clever.

For those not familiar with the modern Objectivist/Libertarian strain of thou...more
CV Rick
The Unincorporated Man is an idea story and at its heart it's a good idea forming the basis. The problem is that the novel is plagued with every writing, plotting, and character mistake for which idea novels are known.

The gist of it is that a man from our time is awakened after a three-century cryogenic sleep and thrust into a society of complete corporatocracy – where governments have no power and all the rules are made by corporations, which are so pervasive that every person, from birth, is i...more
Matt
Rating books with a simple 1 to 5 star system is difficult. You might give a book 5 stars because it was very enjoyable to read and another 5 stars because the subject matter is very important, and another because it is very original. The scale I tend to like the most is how much do I think about the book when I am done reading it. On that scale this is a 5 star book.

In some ways it is similar to books like the Truth Machine and The First Immortal that explore the idea of cryogenically frozen p...more
Jane
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nathaniel
This is what a science-fiction novel should be.

First of all: the book has Big Ideas. The biggest one is the idea of individual incorporation. Every human being is a corporation, and people and businesses can buy and sell stock in other people and other businesses. The authors do a great job of explaining what this system might look like along with truly creative and insightful socio-economic exploration of the consequences. That idea alone would have been enough for a novel, but they cram severa...more
Genevieve Williams
I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. Its premise (a future where individuals can incorporate, buying and selling shares in themselves) is a really intriguing thought experiment, and I went into the book prepared to explore a world where this was a foundational element of society.

Unfortunately, I found the story unpersuasive: the future society (seen through the eyes of a 21st-century individual who has himself cryogenically frozen, and is lucky enough to have his capsule discovered by a...more
Jamie
Ok, this was a great book.

Recommended to me by a book store employee and friend.

The sociological, political and economical implications of such a future are fascinating and experiencing these new ideas Kollin presents could not have been better suited than through someone from our own "time" and closeness to our history.

As the plot moved on, I consistently thought, near the conclusion to each subplot, that I could not truly predict where the next hundred pages were headed, and I was pleasantly s...more
Gio
Ever experience travel or a good book that changes the way you look at the world? If you've read "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein or even "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells then you may have experienced that out of place aura surrounding a character who's estranged from his world. Try traveling in a foreign country and you'll know the feeling of how it can estrange while exhilarate you at the same time.

The Unincorporated Man creates a fish out of water character in Justin Cord. Cord...more
Tyler Quick
Two stars may be generous for this book. It is a thinly veiled piece of ideological propaganda masquerading as an intellectual sci-fi thriller. It not only fails to meet its ideological goal by relying on a plethora of logical fallacies, but also disappoints artistically.

Let's begin with the ideological critique. The Kollin brothers are obviously Ayn Randites, the kind of young, intelligent, straight, white dudes that probably voted for Ron Paul and wish that "everyone would just think logically...more
Benjamin Uminsky
I really would have liked to have liked this book (if that makes any sense). I just can't bring myself to give it a higher rating. The premise really caught my eye and I think if more thought and effort was put into plot and character development, you might have wound up with a pretty good story.

Here is the thing... I love science fiction because it is such a great medium to explore social criticisms and political analysis while telling a great story. Allegory and metaphor presented through scie...more
Jennie
I....can't....take....anymore. 143 pages in and so far this book has just been one huge political/economic thesis (yawn) combined with a 1950's "World of TOMORROW!" film, complete with be-spectacled narrator.

It's disappointing because the premise - billionaire has himself cryogenically suspended, then is re-awakened 300 years later (in the 24th century) to find that more than a little has changed - was promising. It could have been interesting, but alas, the authors have spent more time (way, wa...more
J
This book kicked my ass. It reminded me of some of the more intelligent Heinlein that I've enjoyed (Stranger in a Strange Land, Fear No Evil). And it has the political and interpersonal subtlety of Dune. But mostly it succeeds on its own merits: it's intelligent, well written, full of great action and gripping characters--all in all I highly recommend this book to anyone who find themselves intrigued by the futuristic world viewed through the lens of human politics and economics exploded outward...more
Alec Rauh
The book "The Unincorporated Man" is a sci-fi utopian/dystopian novel about a young, wealthy industrialist named Justin Cord, who preserves his body within a cryogenic suspension unit for 300 years. He awakens in the 23th century with a world that has changed drastically sense he was last there. During Justin's suspension, civilization completely collapses but is then revived, but in a form of extreme market capitalism. When a human is born, they are "incorporated" into this world, having to pay...more
Catma
I almost want to give this book 2 stars as an interesting thought exercise, but that might result in someone buying it. Really though, puzzling through what is wrong with this book (and what the book's message is supposed to be) is actually a fun challenge.

For example, I was wondering throughout the book whether I was supposed to root for the protagonist or not. I wasn't sure whether he would come to see the error of his ways and find the system to be amazing, or rebel against it. How can a bil...more
Joe
Super tedious. I forced myself to finish it, but just barely. The central premise is interesting, but nearly as novel as many people seem to think. The idea of every individual being their own corporation is certainly out there in both fiction and real life. Exploring that is interesting, but this book does poorly at it. The plot is incredibly predictable, literally from the start to the finish. (spoilers removed) Compounding that, the characters are all super boring. The lead protagonist is of...more
Michelle R. Wood
This book is a worthy successor to Huxley's Brave New World, which is, in my humble opinion, the best-written of the dystopias. It has all the trappings of a gee-whiz scifi adventure, while packing in plenty of ideas one can ponder for hours.

Short, spoiler-free summary: in the future, the entire human race belongs to a very laissez-faire system of governance where almost anything goes legally, so long as people are free to make their own financial decisions. At birth children are incorporated wi...more
Tazio Bettin


It was all great until page 103. Then, between page 103 and 106, where we finally delve into the setting, a lot of hogwash surfaces.
First, this dialogue:
"I was hoping that after three hundred years Italy would have learned how to make a decent pizza."
"Didn't they invent the stuff?"
"Common error. It was invented in New York. Some say Baltimore; others, Philadelphia."

All it takes would be checking Wikipedia, and it's not like they want to show the main character as someone who doesn't know things....more
David Monroe
It wasn't the Libertarian view point, I enjoy many authors whose viewpoints I don't agree with. I'm generally on board with most flawed books, as long as the writing is solid and carries it past a so-so plot or it has an amazing, innovative plot that lifts it past the writing. This one dropped the ball on both. Perhaps, since this was the brothers first book, the next two in the series are better.
Chris Maguire
The Kollin brothers gave me what I love the most in sci-fi: not just a look at a possible future but a look at a possible future based on a possible future based on a possible future. My favourite sci-fi is when the author looks ahead, builds a future, and then looks ahead _again_ based on that future.

This book asks all kinds of big questions and gives thought provoking answers. I won't spoil it all here but what if food wasn't an issue? What if a spotlessly clean bar with robotic waiters and i...more
Mark Sanchez
Spoilers Warning
Complains:
There are a few issues with the story. I can accept the tenuousness of the Chairman's deception because he's introduced as a mastermind from the beginning, but it still feels a little weak. What if Justin Cord had accepted the good deal the Chairman had offered him (incorporate and give one share to his lover in exchange for basically anything)? Would the chairman really have continued to wait for a better revolutionary leader?
There's also the issue of self majority be...more
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recommend 9 22 Aug 03, 2014 05:39AM  
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1004625
I'm an accidental science fiction author.
A few years back, broke, desperate and living with my wife and three kids at my in-laws, I decided to get together with my brother, Eytan and write a book. Mind you I had no idea how to go about this but I did know that Eytan had some great ideas and little tenacity and I had a lot of tenacity and a gift for knowing how to turn great ideas into a marketabl...more
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“History,” answered Justin, unfazed, “has had to deal with your kind forever. You don’t get it. The ends are the means. You are what you do and what you accept.” 0 likes
“opposing party was an offshoot of the Libertarians. They were called the Eliminationist Party, and their platform was predicated on the belief that corporate society had evolved beyond the need for government at all. For decades the Eliminationists remained a fringe party because of their shortsighted insistence on scrapping all government everywhere. Because corporate society was inherently conservative, and the party’s platform too radical, the Eliminationist movement never got off the ground.” 0 likes
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