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Devil on My Back (Arc One, #1)
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Devil on My Back

(Arc One #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  373 ratings  ·  27 reviews
When the slaves rebel against the rigid social order imposed on the colony by the all-controlling computer, Tomi, the son of the colony Overlord manages to escape beyond the computer's reach and discovers what it is like to be free.
Unknown Binding, 170 pages
Published May 31st 1984 by J. MacRae Books (first published 1984)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  373 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Eric Mesa
Apr 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Read this as a kid. I think it was my first bit of post-apocalyptic sci-fi. I'd been looking for it for years on Google, but kept misremembering the title. I was starting to think I'd hallucinated the whole thing.

Anyway, it was a great book for young adult fiction. It got me to think about a lot of issues I'd later see as an adult. The main premise of the book, which I appreciated years later is that of a Pluto Republic where your test scores determine your lot in life. Until reading the book,
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
This was an unexpected find for me. I was in highschool, and wandering the library shelves for something to read. One of my habits at the library is to wander around and see what I can find. I have found plenty of good reads this way, and this book was no exception.

I've always liked sci-fi, so reading the inside of the book jacket intrigued me. I checked it out, and i was glad to. This was a idea that is unique today, even more so back then because computers weren't as much a part of life back
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
It's weird to think this is the first dystopian story I probably ever read and that was nearly 2 decades ago now! The story was so powerful that I kept remembering it many years later and wondering what the book was and whether I'd dreamt it. I finally found the book again in storage at my parent's house. It's wonderful to think that good dystopian/sci fi novels can introduce new concepts to kids and challenge their views of world and be something that stays with them for many years to come. :-)
Sep 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, sci-fi
In the far future, after the earth's petroleum ran out and the environment was toxic, humanity retreated into cities enclosed in plastic domes. Generations later, young Tomi is nervous. He's about to get another information pack slotted into the plug in his spine. If his body can handle it, he's progressed another level up the ladder in his society. But if his nervous system can't handle it, he'll become a menial laborer at best--at worst, death or brain damage awaits him. But to Tomi's joy, he ...more
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I've read this book twenty times. In the future, civilization is almost entirely confined to huge domes to ride out a new Dark Age. In Arc One, they live in a very stratified society of slaves, workers, and citizens. Slaves are those incompatible with the Powerpaks that plug directly into the brains of the workers and citizens, giving them information at the blink of an eye. Tomi Bentt has just achieved full citizen status and hopes to one day be as hunched with knowledge (the Paks sit ...more
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The age of oil ended in 2005 when the oil ran out, leading to general anarchy, and some scientists deciding that they need to create an Arc to preserve human knowledge and build on it.

This is Monica Hughes, who rarely found a tech scenario that wasn't a hidden dystopia that her teenage protagonists could deal with by connecting with friends and perhaps discovering an important ecological message.

In other words, a huge influence on a young me. Very unfortunate cover. A very large amount of story
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was maybe 11 when I read it but it was a good one since as I saw it later on second hand bookstore I had to get it. Im deginetely planning to reread it and offer better review. From what I can tell Finnish localisation in character names that was kind of a trend back in 80's through 90's books.

What I remember was collision of two different worlds and quite horrible dystopia on Arc One's side.
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
Tomi is a young clueless lord living in a sheltered community of Arc One - he's distinguished from the common rabble by his ability to receive information packets from the computer that controls the Arc. On the day when he was supposed to become a full-fledged lord, a slave riot breaks out. In the confusion of escape, he suddenly finds himself outside of the Arc and has to figure out how to survive - and how and why to return...

Well this was intriguing. I think I read this book ages ago when I
Julie Decker
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
In the distant future, Tomi is one of the elite: he has access to unlimited knowledge (through "paks" that can be attached like software to implanted hardware humans in this society are installed with), and his future is bright. He pities the slaves--people on whom the installation did not work, making them unfit for anything but labor, unfit for education--but treasures his good fortune to be born the way he was. And though his generation is taught that the only real civilization is inside the ...more
Cupof Tea
I really enjoyed re-reading this book since I just picked up the sequel at the library.

150 years after the Age of Confusion following the End of Oil (which the author predicted would happen in 2005 - she could not anticipate frakking) there exists ArcOne which was built to protect the knowledge of human beings, the way monasteries did during the Dark Ages. Unfortunately, the knowledge is now being controlled in specific classes by the Lords, and only the slave class is free of a connection from
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Like most of her books, this one deals with self discovery and learning the truth of the world around them Tomi is an arrogant son of Arc Ones Overlord and we come into the story right when hes plugging in the last pack of his computer thing that basically plugs in all this knowledge into his brain this makes him a Lord people who cant accept that much get lower positions in the Arc One and those who cant accept any computer plug-ins become slaves as is the case with any society that has slaves, ...more
Eileen Monroe
Jun 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Really interesting story behind this one... I originally read it when I was about 12 years old, sitting in the library, and it made such an impression on me that I remembered it all these years, but couldn't remember the title or the author. Finally, this year, I wrote to the library where I had read it as a kid, described it, and asked if they could help. Sure enough, they knew the book, and I finally had a title! I immediately ordered it on Amazon, and after 23 years, finally got to read it ...more
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book contained an intriguing concept for me when I was a kid. Basically it was about a far-future society in which people enhanced their brains with computer "paks," and if your body rejected the implant that let you add these weird things to your brain then you ended up in a dead-end service job and never had a chance to pursue greatness. It could happen to anyone. But some people who are still living wild outside this society have rejected this way of life, and the main character ends up ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like Post Apocalyptic Fiction
Just re-read this and revised my rating from 5 to 4. This is a really good book, and it's much in the same vein as some of the recent post-apocalyptic or Dystopian young adult fiction.

Tomi's character is very hard to like at first, and that is the whole idea of the book. Of a transformation that is needed in the society, but must first start in the people in the society.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys post apocalyptic fiction and wants a fast read.
Sep 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a kid and found it used as an adult and added it to my bookshelf. What struck me about this book that was interesting was a whole society based on Slaves, their watch police and then the people who had the knowledge. The knowledge was through packs that they wore on their backs where as slaves' bodies rejected them. It was a interesting look at a potential society and opression and the fight for freedom.
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in junior high school and loved it. It isn't available where I live so I have tracked down an old used copy to save for my own boys. I think the story is still very relevant today as we rely more and more on the The Internet. I think back to this book anytime I hear talk about potential cell phone implants.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I'm reviewing the books I remember reading as a pre-teen in an effort to figure out how the heck my friends kids don't like reading! This was another great sci-fi find in my personal sea of 30 year old fantasy novels, wish I could get this as an eBook to revisit!
Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Read this book to my 4th grade class, but I think it was too deep for most of them. I like books that get young minds to think about how we treat each other. My fourth grade class really did like the twits, and that does the same thing, but I don't like it was well.
David Robins
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read of a book I read a long time ago. Still plenty of fascinating ideas: planned society - almost Plato's classes, except for the slaves, contrasted to freedom outside, in a tribal system (with one free to leave if one chose), and the idea of gradually fixing a broken system.
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I remember reading this while growing up and how I enjoyed it. Who would have thought that what was envisioned by the author back then is basically a reality now with computers and smart phones. I did not know there was a sequel (I'll have to see if I can locate it).
Nov 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
I like this book a lot but the plot is nothing original. People living in an underground city controlled by a computer. still a fun read.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why the library wanted to sell this off. It's good.
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This SciFi novel was introduced to me as a middle schooler and I fell inlove with the YA book. With captivating characters and good writing, I know I will never out grow this story!
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this one as a child and have to say it still fascinates me. I never knew it was just the first book but I will be sure to pick up the others!!
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this book as a kid and it blowing my freaking mind. To this day I remember the poem from the end of it. I completely connected with this book.
Eric Migicovsky
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reread this whole series a lot growing up!
Eepa *mm loving bookworm*
rated it really liked it
May 23, 2013
Karen Leech
rated it it was amazing
May 05, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2015
James J
rated it it was amazing
Jul 06, 2010
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Monica Hughes was a very popular writer for young people, and has won numerous prizes. Her books have been published in the United States, Poland, Spain, Japan, France, Scandinavia, England, and Germany. She has twice received the Canada Council Prize for Children's Literature, and was runner-up for the Guardian Award.

She is the author of Keeper of the Isis Light, an American Library Association

Other books in the series

Arc One (2 books)
  • The Dream Catcher (Arc One, #2)

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