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Losers in Space

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  442 ratings  ·  125 reviews
It is the year 2129 . . . and fame is all that matters

Susan and her friends are celebutantes. Their lives are powered by media awareness, fed by engineered meals, and underscored by cynicism. Everyone has a rating; the more viewers who ID you, the better. So Susan and her almost-boyfriend Derlock cook up a surefire plan: the nine of them will visit a Mars-bound spaceship
Hardcover, 436 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Viking Juvenile
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Average rating 3.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  442 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: hard SF connoisseurs
Shelves: ya, 2012, sci-fi
As seen on The Readventurer

2.5 stars

Losers in Space is essentially a one long test of how much of a SF nerd you are and how "hard" you prefer your SF. Evidently, I am far less nerdy than I had always thought, judging by how little of this book's SF-ness I enjoyed.

Now, I don't want to be unfair to John Barnes, he warns upfront about the nature of his novel. In a Note for the Interested, #0, at the beginning of Losers in Space, he says straight, in a funny and clever way, that his novel is "hard
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Eenies, Meenies, Mineys, and Moes
You can almost feel the premise of this book and the story John Barnes wanted to tell crashing against current market forces. He's written a hard SF "teens in space" YA novel with echoes of Heinlein, and today, it's estimated that somewhere around 80% of YA readers are girls. I am not saying girls can't read hard SF! Indeed, it would be great if more of them did, and clearly Barnes is trying to encourage more young readers to embrace the geeky science stuff. But the truth is, most girls don't ...more
Kylie Simao
Jun 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. I read the blurb telling what the book is about and it seemed like a good idea and something I would really be interested in. What turned out to be is that the book is extremely difficult to read and get into. so the author tells a bit of the story and then all of a sudden there are what he calls note for interested parties. I read the first one or two and realized that it was just distracting me from the story and making it so that I couldn't get to know the ...more
Dana Stabenow
Apr 09, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris Aylott
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Mild spoilers ahead.

This is one of those books that I imagine sets Robert A. Heinlein rolling in his grave. It's got a solid SF juvenile story at its core: spoiled teens stow away on a spaceship, and when things inevitably go wrong, they have to rely on their skills and each other to survive. This is a plot that you should not be able to go wrong with.

And Barnes goes so, so wrong with it. There's the condescending intro trying to explain hard SF to the unwashed masses. Then there are the "Notes
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist
Jan 22, 2012 marked it as not-my-type
Shelves: arcs, alamw12
As Lyndsey mentioned(view spoiler), the marketing possibilities for this book are ENDLESS:

"I'm a 'Loser'!"
"I love 'Losers'!"
"Gotta get me some 'Losers'!"
"Will work for 'Losers'!"
"A 'Loser' kept me up last night!"
John Loyd
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this Utopian future almost all jobs are automated and only a small percentage of people get paid to work. Their children don't get to inherit. Once they come of age they revert to the standard allotment that the vast majority of people receive. We follow a group of these losers, or moes, who are trying to become celeb-eenies before they become mineys.

Derlock has a plan for the group, they will use Susan's connection to tour Virgo, a vessel in a 26 month orbit around in order to make a close
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Now, this is true sci-fi. And Barnes makes it quite clear from the first "Notes for the Interested" that this is *hard* sci-fi (in other words, science fiction with an emphasis on the science and technology being as realistic as possible given today's knowledge). While it may have its technical moments, the story is anything but boring. In this future, technology has made it such that very few humans have to work and one of the most lucrative forms of work is entertainment. In a world where the ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it

Demented is the only good word for this book. It takes place in a future where no one has to work, yet there's still a rigid class system. To rise above normal, you either have to do so well in school that you qualify for one of the few jobs in the universe, or you have to be a celebrity. And if you're going to try for celebrity status, it has to happen before you're 21 or you're out of luck. The band of misfits in our story is obsessed with becoming famous--mostly because they all come from
Jan 17, 2012 marked it as did-not-finish
I tried. I gave it Nancy Pearl's fifty pages. But I couldn't do it. The language was crazy. The characters were unlikable. But worst of all, the author made what I consider to be a deal-breaking choice. He decided to write a science fiction adventure with footnotes. Giant, pages-long footnotes jammed right into the middle of the chapter. I'm sorry, and perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I believe you have to make a choice in fiction. Either the science is important to the story and you use your ...more
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I would give this 4 and a half. It is truly a great book. Losers is a survival story, a space story, and a social commentary all rolled into one. What really drove me to dive into Losers was Susan (who is pretty kick ass-even if she starts off very fake) and the excellent story telling. I read all of the notes for the interested even when they were a little over my head.
My only gripe, and this is very small, is the lack of emotion of the characters. Except for an early freak out, and a touch of
Liz Barr
Dec 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean Randall
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
He grins. “I know a woman who falls for a partial derivative when I see one.”

you know, this was actually rather superb? The potential ability and intellect of these kids, set in such a bleak future really comes to shine through. When I thought they were all just airheads and wasn't really expecting much of this story, I assumed it would just be an average read. But the first EVA just over half way through brought a tear to my eye and from then on, it was clear to me I was hooked and cared about
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
TALES OF THE MADMAN UNDERGROUND remains one of my favorite books I've ever reviewed for In Bed With Books. It was a surprising treat. But I started LOSERS IN SPACE with astronomical expectations. The first page of the book met those expectations. Notes for the Interested #0 explains that LOSERS IN SPACE will be hard science fiction, but all the science stuff will be regulated to Notes for the Interested instead of infodumps. I love hard sci-fi, so that didn't deter me, and I thought the notes ...more
Nicole Wolverton
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a book that took me a while to warm to, and this is more like a 3.5 than a 4 for me. I'm still not into the first person present tense narrative style (mostly because the present tense just doesn't seem necessary), but I suddenly loved the novel about 2/3 of the way in after (view spoiler). That, to me, is when things get really great. I particularly loved the reveal about (view spoiler) ...more
Douglas Summers-Stay
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I really had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. The cover is unappealing, just parts of peoples' faces, and the title I found mildly repelling-- do I really want to read about losers? In fact, the only reason I bought it (for a buck at the library's perpetual sale) was because the author was John Barnes. And I was right to trust that whatever Barnes decided to write about would be interesting.

It's set about a hundred years in the future. Most people live on the dole; there
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

Let me preface this review with a warning: I loved this book. Intensely. Fangirlish gushing ahead.

It is the year 2129, and Earth has changed. It is a peaceful place, without war or strife, and everyone lives a comfortable lifestyle of leisure thanks to a largely robotic workforce. While robots handle the bulk of humanity's needs, there are some very key professions that still require a human touch; namely the arts/entertainment, athletics, certain
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, 2019
I hated this book at the beginning (and I’ll get into why later). But once the book really got going, I found myself hopelessly in love.

I really liked that the plot wasn’t really revealed in the blurb - more hinted at than anything. It’s sort of random, but I enjoyed being utterly surprised by the plot.

The characters were stunning. I’m a sucker for unlikely friends, character development, and interesting backstories, and this book has plenty of those. The main character was one of the best I’ve
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5. This was definitely enjoyable at parts. The tension of survival was reminiscent of The Martian, but in a way that lost suspense after the halfway point. Although I was cheering on the crew the whole time, the ending still felt weak to me.

John Barnes has no idea what teenaged girls think about. Susan was mostly robotic and horny, but only horny when it was convenient, and that was her whole personality. It's really a shame that Glisters was the true protagonist with his mastery of every
Nova Syzygy
This wasn't as good as I was expecting. I initially wanted to read it because of the Notes for the Interested, which appealed to my nerdy self. But, I ended up hating most of the characters.
Emerald, for example, I had really mixed feelings about. I hated her at first, then began to like her when she became commander, then began to hate her even more because of her stupidity when she ran away with the confirmed sociopath and untrustworthy person Derlock because of "love". She was warned by
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I actually had this book for some time before I read it. The title just threw me off a bit. I'm a sucker for books at the local dollar tree, so I bought it anyway. I'm glad I did. It's a bit different from the SF I'm used to in that he sets up the science part outside of the main story for the most part in his "notes for the interested" that begin on the first page. I actually liked this for a couple of reasons, 1. I didn't have to read them & 2. I could go back to them if I missed ...more
Noah Clark
Apr 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Okay, i actually did not finish reading this. it was so difficult to understand, so confusing and I did not like it at all. Maybe it's because it's above my reading level, or something, but definetley do not recommend.
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book captured my attention and kept it. A shockingly amazing story about a girl growing into a woman. 10/10 would read again.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm really glad I found this boook. It's a very clever take on the idea of post work.
Peter Tillman
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
RTC. I liked it, with reservations. 3.5 stars
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i loved the characters, they were extremely complex, their arcs were amazing and i love how the author seperated out the science part, very easy to read!! i really loved it
Apr 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
just don't, please.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I feel kind of guilty for only giving this book 3 stars because there were some parts that were extremely interesting. The only real issue that I had was that it got (understandably) boring for the 3/4 of the book.
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Most times when I start off hating all the characters in a book, this does not change the case of Losers in Space, their unlikability was intentional and the characters grew and matured to a believable degree. Most fascinatingly, the main/POV character remained kind of a sociopath, but with ultimately "good" intentions. She shocked and horrified me, but I couldn't hate her.

I don't read a lot of hard sci fi, mainly because too much math and physics hurts my brain. The tech and science
Kristin Lundgren
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-sci-fi, spaceships
This is a book hard to pin down. I started writing the review in my head shortly after I started it, but it kept changing. The basic premise is that in the far future, a government has evolved that has created peace, and an end to hunger and poverty. Everyone gets a wage that is quite comfortable, so they never have to work, although some like to, and some jobs do need people in them. But in the top tier of the social and economic strata are the celebrities - the Paris Hiltons of their day; the ...more
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John Barnes (born 1957) is an American science fiction author, whose stories often explore questions of individual moral responsibility within a larger social context. Social criticism is woven throughout his plots. The four novels in his Thousand Cultures series pose serious questions about the effects of globalization on isolated societies. Barnes holds a doctorate in theatre and for several ...more