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Strange Flesh

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  423 ratings  ·  110 reviews
"The only clue we have to our brother's whereabouts is this place that doesn't really exist."
Ten years ago, Blythe Randall broke James Pryce's heart. Now she needs his help. Her enigmatic appeal lures the elite hacker into his most tantalizing, and most personal, assignment yet.
A Harvard dropout employed by Manhattan-based RedRook Secur
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Simon Schuster (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  423 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book, the publisher information even describes it as such: "If The Social Network was sexier, if Ready Player One forgot its safe words, if The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a boy - you'd have Strange Flesh, the most seductive, high-tech, high-octane literary thriller about alternate reality games and virtual sex ever written." Well Ready Player One was one of my favorite books last year, and I was looking forward to reading something somewhat similar.

Unfortunately, I
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was ok
It's and weird book but not the entertaining kind. This wasn't a book for me unfortunately but the premise and tagline sounded cool but I feelt rather meh about it. Will forget about it pretty soon I'm sure ...more
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I got to read an advance copy of Strange Flesh and loved it! Full of larger-than-life characters and gorgeously written, this novel kept me entertained from beginning to end. I'm still thinking about the high-powered twins Blake and Blythe, their out-of-control half brother Billy, the salacious Olya, the tortured Gina, and most of all, James Pryce, the gifted but flawed hacker who narrates the story. As James hunts down Billy, we travel with him through an underground world of avatars, sex and d ...more
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book and it is tremendous. This is the next big break out book. Think Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but so much more, and much more deeply felt. Instead of introducing a world of coffee drinking and streets with strange names, Strange Flesh takes us deep into the world of virtual reality with real and compelling characters whose romances, sex, crimes, and inhibitions are all utterly realistic and gripping. I was fascinated and provoked but this i ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
Couldn't finish this book. There were too many awkward, trying hard to be clever acronyms and portmanteaus.

The blurb of this book somewhere says it's a mix of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo but with a main protagonist, and Ready Player One. That's partly true. There's some mystery involved and plenty of deviant sexual behavior, but the book revels in it for the shock factor, except I wasn't shocked. I was just mildly bored that the author had to resort to that to make the story interesting. And it'
lafon حمزة نوفل
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to lafon حمزة by: Goodreads
(view spoiler)

Edit: I'm now finished.

Ummmm..... OK. Not entirely sure how I'm gonna review this. I guess
Apr 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This hovered between two and three stars for me. With a title as evocative as Strange Flesh, and a promising first forty pages, I was ultimately disappointed by what turned out to be a rather pedestrian noir tale that was a roller coaster ride but in all the wrong ways. The comparisons to Ready Player One are rather apt in that this is a book filled with references - Olson casually tosses them out and alludes to a fair number of works from the Marquis de Sade to Urotsukidoji but ultimately it fe ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
James has a niche for finding people. His talent as a skilled hacker helps. That is why when his ex, Blythe Randall has come to James. She needs the best. Her brother Billy has gone missing. Billy is also a genius. He has created a virtual gaming world known as NOD. It seems that Billy has literally taken this new world too serious as he has disappeared within it.

I picked up this book with no expectances of whether I would like this book or not. The concept of it was intriguing. A virtual game
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
On "Movers & Shakers" list; comparisons to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Ready Player One (both 5 stars). Okay, you've got my attention.

15% read - Ugh! What am I doing? Such an obvious first novel. Michael Olson assumes he has to provide a definition of all technological and sexual terms? Exactly where is this guy planning on finding an audience that knows nothing about either? Very old nuns? Okay, maybe, but people that understand neither and want to read this book? Where are those people
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
I remember joking once with a friend that the next logical step in the world of motion controls and haptic feedback was porn. In a world of Real Dolls and Japanese robots it becomes increasingly obvious, and likely disturbing to many people, the direction in which the sex toy industry will go. Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, along with films like Tron or The Matrix, touch upon the nature of artificial reality and its impact in society in a very straightforward manner. Rare is the mainstream nov ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
Heartache and a passion for hacking have comprised James Pryce's post-college years. Unsurprisingly, when he's offered the chance to work for his lost love, Blythe Randall, James quickly takes the job. She and her brother, Blake, need his cyber-spy services to track down their wily half-brother, Billy, who's sworn to destroy Blake, and has the cash to back up his threats. James's investigation launches him from a lifestyle of casual sex with strangers into a virtual reality of deviant sexual beh ...more
Allizabeth Collins
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was ok

When I started hearing about Strange Flesh from other reviewers, I knew that I wanted to get my hands on a copy, and Simon and Schuster was kind enough to send me an ARC. Others were equating it to 120 Days of Sodom, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, and Ready Player One, books I had thoroughly enjoyed; so I was definitely interested. Unfortunately, I felt that Strange Flesh was lacking many of the components the aforementioned books contained. Yes, the main character
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Strange Flesh, the first effort from Michael Olson is a distinctive foray into the digital world of sex and games and the harsh instrusion of reality in the form of bloody murder and suicide.
Harvard dropout and geek extraordinaire, James Pryce is a marvel at finding anyone and about anything in the virtual world when he is hired by his long lost love and her brother, Blythe and Blake Randall to find their estranged broher Billy. In the midst of doing so he meets a collection of characters and th
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
While solid, yet unremarkable for a majority of the time, the plot really kicks it up a notch right before the climax. In the last 100 or so pages, it went from a solid yet forgettable 3 stars to 4 stars and a ending that will stay in my mind for a few days.

Taken as a whole, it definitely has its flaws. In a way it was painfully mediocre. Then at a certain point it felt like the author dumped the rest of his plot points on the table and decided to speed through them from the crazy climax to the
Aaron Schooley
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to be given an advanced copy of the book. I was fully engrossed from the first page and relented in reading only when the final page was turned. The characters were captivating and believable, and while the protagonist was loaded with personality flaws, he remained a "prince" to the end. As a software engineer/gamer the books main themes resonated home with many issues I have dealt with over the years. I feel anyone raised in today's age technologically driven age will find a ...more
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This book was so compelling. Once I got into it, I couldn't stop myself. It's twisted and fascinating, and I never saw the end coming. I loved it. ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5* It's part programming nerd, part D&D nerd, and part dirty, dirty sex nerd. ...more
Thomas Dalcolle
A book of more than 570 pages—in the hard-cover version—that gets intriguing only after page 540 can't be called a success.
I must say that up to page 500, or so, the plot is confusing, overcharged, and it all seems to be nothing more than fluff put around a core of cyber-onanism.
The protagonists appear a host of dark people, living an even more sinister, underground life, where lovemaking with a flesh-and-bone person is the oddest event. Surely more than committing suicide in some splatter setti
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was thoroughly entertained by this book. It is very well written in first person. The author has a mastery of the language. It is a much better book than the title and the sleazy cover art might lead you to think. I noticed that in the Italian edition, they changed the title to The Game (good move). The protagonist harbors a strong crush for a woman he knew in college. Wanting to know how that turned out kept me turning pages. There is action, IT, and geek culture. My only quibble with this bo ...more
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
book 19
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: whodunit
Such a weird book! I don't even know where to begin.

It was very much an adult Ready Player One if Ron Jeremy was co-author, and instead of solving riddles, the character was searching for how to make the perfect sexbot. It kinda made me uncomfortable, but the mystery was interesting, and the...Unmasking well-deserved.

Nobody was likable here, and I like that. It does happen in real life, so why it bothers people in books I have no idea. Everyone was either shady, manipulative, or sociopathic, and
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
This was one of the first books I have read by this author. While the testimony on the back says "(strangeFlesh==(sex&&games)," is odd but brief description of what lies inside. Combining a mix of hacking, a game of cat and mouse, murders, robotic sex, suicide, gaming, and a family's odd history gives this book a cyberpunk feel.

He is paid by Billy's twin siblings Blythe and Blake, who have a complicated history with their brother to say the least.Focused on exposing Billy Randell, James is chas
Virgil Larson
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
The tone of this book is young heterosexual male fantasy set in a world of computer hacking and online game development. On this background is told a tale of sibling rivalry and revenge. Twins Blythe and Blake Randall are recently graduated from Harvard and now running the family business, which strongly resembles Comcast. Their estranged half brother, Billy, has taken his share of the family fortune to the online gaming sector. Billy is convinced his siblings caused the death of his girlfriend, ...more
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, 2012
I'm kind of kicking myself that I actually bought this one. Ugh. I read the starred reviews in PW and Booklist, and I decided I needed to read it. Uh-oh. Expectations. Having finished it, I have to say I'm rather shocked at the praise. They describe it as a "headspinning literary thriller"-- it did have a lot of big words (allowing me to make use of my kindle dictionary-- woo!), but my takeaway tended toward "pretentious cyber-hipster melodrama." I found it difficult to read as I really disliked ...more
Jeff Raymond
Apr 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
It's taking a lot for me to not write "not my genre, not my genre" over and over, but I think it's just that this was not that good.

The story revolves around a mysterious suicide, which then brings our hero into a corporate underworld of sorts where people are inventing virtual reality sex robots. So there's plenty of virtual reality robot sex, plenty of reality reality non-robot sex, and a murder mystery that plays second fiddle to all the virtual sex being had and discussed in the book.

It's re
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-i-won
**I received this book through a First Reads Giveaway.

I really liked this book!! This is a totally different genre from what I normally read, but I was interested in the "online fantasy world" aspect mixed with a plot involving sibling rivalry and unrequited love. The tagline alone pulled me in: This is a story about sex and games. And it surely delivered!

Virtual games...
Money games...
Sex games...
Love games...
Evil games...
Deadly games...

Amidst the many games and pawns in play, I actually learned
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I haven't received my copy yet, just received notice I had won. 2/6/12
Received my copy last night, and hope to start soon. Have 4 more plus current read in front. 2/22/12
Started yesterday 3/18/12

James is a hacker. He works at a security firm that specializes in finding people that don't want to be found. The Randall twins need his help finding their half brother. While still at Harvard, Blythe Randall broke James' heart and now she is asking for his help. Billy, the half brother, is actually hid
I really wanted to love this book being a long time user of some of the places mentioned in this book namely second life and imvu and definately have been linked to some of the seedier sides. However, I found that this book was so difficult to get into that it took me well over 300 pages before I could find myself getting interested in the characters. I started to suspect the answers to the mystery early on but found the book difficult to read with too much unnecessary technical gibberish which ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sterlingcindysu lent me this ARC. This is a very good thriller that takes one into a virtual world most of us would rather not know about but touch with every day on our computers. The story has to do with dragging that virtual world into the tangible one we touch and feel. You feel less secure with our "communities" (even this one). I see young men caught up in the gaming world; a Second Life, literally and figuratively, and this book shows where this could go at the extremes. Virtual sex, Sade ...more
Lindsey Lang
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
i actually received a free arc copy in the mail from the publisher and it sounded interesting enough to start right away!

this was definitely an interesting read! i found myself not able to put it down for too long needing to know what was going to happen next! i'd recommend it to anyone not faint of heart as there is obviously a lot of sex and violence but it's necessary to the story too. i'll keep my eyes open for anything else by this author as i also enjoyed the pacing and the way the story w
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Michael Olson, a Harvard graduate, worked in investment banking and software engineering before taking a master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Technology Program, where he designed a locomotion interface for virtual environments.

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