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3.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,157 ratings  ·  147 reviews
Imagine a near-future city, say London, where medical science has advanced beyond our own and a single-dose pill has been developed that, taken when pregnant, eradicates many common genetic defects from an unborn child. Hope Morrison is expecting her second child and refuses to take The Fix, as the pill is known.
Hardcover, 387 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Orbit
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Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,157 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Ruediger Landmann
I found this book deeply frustrating. Like my favourite kind of science fiction, it poses some really interesting questions about technology, society, and the interaction of the two. However, as a novel, I found it absolutely wretched.

The central premise of the book is that in the near future, a pill ("the Fix") is available to pregnant women that eliminates a wide variety of genetic disorders from their unborn children. A fairly oppressive nanny-state government makes taking the Fix all but co
Mouldy Squid
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: science fiction fans, Ken MacLeod fans, people concerned about nanny-states.
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a strange moment for me. I want to assign a high rating for this book, I want to love it and I want to tell everyone to rush out and buy a copy. But I can't do any of those things and this leaves me feeling conflicted and confused. I love Ken MacLeod books, and I do not love this one. This leads to a cognitive dissonance I seldom experience.

There is nothing egregiously wrong with Intrusion, but there is nothing wonderfully great about it either. The characters are well rounded, the plot
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Story set in the near future - a world transformed by bio-tech and computing power but subject in the free world to a high level of police surveillance and control. Individual rights (e.g. women's rights) have been subsumed into the rights of society to make the right choices for people (with in particular control of pregnancy and even pre-pregnancy effectively turning women back into domestic slaves with intrusive monitoring of their health and lifestyle choices) and free market doctrines repla ...more
Mar 08, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I actually got my biro pen and started editing this book at one point, it was that awful. The female characters are flat, forced and uninspiring, and they seem mostly irrational.

Half of the text could have been missed out as it was just filler, the dialogue was terrible ("Man!" Said Bernard.) - there was so much rambling going on. I read 115 pages and still nothing had happened. When something exciting finally did happen it felt really out of place and unjustified.

I really like dystopian thrill
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this British dystopia of the liberal nanny state. It's so refreshing to read a thoughtful, creative dystopia that does what good SF does best: extrapolates current social trends to their extreme. In future Britain, women's bodies are tightly regulated so as to prevent any harm to future children, but in a way that seems perfectly normal, rational, and egalitarian (Handmaid's Tale this is not). When one average woman decides that, for no apparent reason, she doesn't want to take ...more
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, scifi, dystopia
I was really impressed with 'Intrusion'. The near-future setting was excellently drawn and extremely thought-provoking. On the one hand, I found the casual loss of civil liberties and oppressive state protectiveness towards women and children convincing. On the other hand, I had the horrible feeling that this was the best case scenario; it felt like a legacy of Blair and Brown, not of the Coalition's assault on the NHS. (Indeed the government in confirmed to be Labour-led.) Although 'Intrusion' ...more
Jun 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I’ve seen some SF novels described as being ‘cosy catastrophes’, I think Intrusion could be described by a related term, ‘cosy dystopia’. The world the characters live in (a near future Britain) is superficially pleasant and at the start of the novel they’d probably say they were genuinely content with their life, but despite that this is clearly a dystopian novel. One of the effective parts of the book is how Hope Morrison’s life gradually falls apart and her discontent grows with the world she ...more
I keep reading and reasonably enjoying Ken MacLeod's books, and i'm not entirely sure why. This one starts out with a really intriguing social-sf question - should a woman have to take a simple pill, with no side effects, to make sure her unborn child is healthy - and degenerates into (totally unrelated to the question) silly science subplots, ideological wankery and lame thriller-lite evil-government shenanigans. That said, I still think it's a step up from his recent books - the characterizati ...more
Liam Proven
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ken Macleod has been moving his SF from far future tales spanning distant star systems to colder, more rationally-extrapolated near-future visions of distinctly worryingly plausible futures. Intrusion features perhaps his most minimally-different future yet: a Britain of ubiquitous surveillance, extreme policing and enforced conformity done with the best possible taste. No Orwellian dystopias here: Macleod is almost infinitely cleverer and more believable, not to mention being far better SF.

Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
A disturbing, near future dystopian vision of Britain that is frighteningly plausible.

Besides the central premise, there are many other extrapolations arising from society as we know it to construct something that, taken as a whole, paints quite a worrying picture of our future. There are several parallels with George Orwell's "1984" although this story presents a far more subtler mechanism of control, and one no doubt more relevant to today's readers. What we have here is a "nanny state" tyran
Jan 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'd never read or heard of McLeod before, but the back of the book sounded interesting. However, it was let down majorly by the writing style. Why do I care about the name of every street in Acton? I live locally so recognise town names such as Ealing/Hayes/Uxbridge but can't imagine how boring that is to someone unfamiliar to the area. And don't get me started on the endless Scottish landscape descriptions most of which I ended up skimming over. The two halves of the plot took too long to meet ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Brilliant stuff! I'm love stories in which a democratic society "evolves" into a dystopian one. This is a very disturbing near future, in the tradition of 1984, but with some very interesting science-fictional twists and with some very real and plausible future technological trends. Alongside Paul McAuley's In the Mouth of the Whale, this novel is the best of 2012 so far. ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned-books
Got annoyed and bored (great combination) and decided I had better things to do that read any more.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this in one sick day, because I couldn't put it down. The way a society slides into total control felt sickeningly believable, and the contrast between the "free"--yet heavily regulated--world and the "other side" is something I've been discussing with people for years. I found the other SF plot of this intriguing and wish it had been allowed to go further. ...more
Sandra "Jeanz"
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I requested and gratefully received this paperback from Orbit Books with the intention of reading and reviewing giving you my honest opinion.
So I’ll start with the cover which did initially attract me to the book. It shows a spoon holding a rather “normal” looking somewhat inoffensive tablet. Upon reading the book you find out the tablet is called “The Fix” in simple, basic terms it is a tablet all pregnant women are encouraged and somewhat expected to take. The Fix claims to literally
Simon Mcleish
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review first appeared on my blog here.

Ken MacLeod is an author whose work I sometimes really like (the Star Faction books) but who at other times doesn't really connect with me (the Engines of Light trilogy). Intrusion falls into the second category.

It is one of several recent novels by MacLeod which are stand-alone near future dystopias, rather like the series of similar works produced by John Brunner in the 1970s. There are two main elements to Intrusion: an encroaching "nanny state", par
Dark Matter
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This and more reviews, interviews etc on Dark Matter Zine, an online magazine. This review was written by Nalini Haynes for Dark Matter Zine.

Hope and Hugh Morrison are expecting their second child. This is the second time Hope has refused ‘the fix’, a magic bullet that cures all genetic abnormalities while immunising the foetus against many childhood illnesses.

In this Brave New World overtly referencing 1984, a father sued his wife forcing her to take the fix becau
Anne Charnock
Ken MacLeod presents a vision of a near-future world in which many of our freedoms are rolled back in the cause of child protection, specifically the protection of the unborn foetus. For starters, smoking and drinking are illegal in pregnancy. Employers must prove their workplaces pose zero risk to pregnant women and as a result many women (pregnant or otherwise) operate from home where the legal restrictions are looser. And then there’s ‘the fix’ – single-dose medication (produced by SynBioTech ...more
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intrusion is a fine example of how fiction can bring philosophical debates closer to home. It takes the ethical debates about the possibilities of biotechnology choosing their most affecting parts (what about the children?!?) and crafts them into a dystopian vision.

In the world where Hope and Hugh live genetic engineering has found way to remove almost all of the childhood ailments in a simple gene-altering pill form. Hope is tempted by its possibilities but would choose not to take it neverthel
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, sf-fantasy
Ken MacLeod may have moved away from the SF novels of his earlier career to (more lucrative?) mainstream techno thrillers, but his interest in politics and sociology remains as urgent as ever. This makes Intrusion a superb example of extrapolative SF, a sort of 1984 for the modern world.

Except in this extrapolation of 1984, everyone is fed, schooled, employed and safe; all the infrastructure necessary for civilisation is in place. And what culminated in the institutionalisation of the ultimate p
Mark Harding
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Generally, I prefer KM’s space operas to his techno-thriller type novels but this one really hits the nail on the head. Generally, I hate books that make me frustrated and angry but this one does it for a purpose that justifies the agro. A deep insight into the relationship between government and the public, and KM makes you experience the issues, and feel them.

Truly brilliant ending which puts a new focus on all the preceding events in the novel. I also like how seemingly disparate characters a
Kristi Sawyer
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is seriously addictive! A future world where pregnant women must take a "fix" to protect their children from genetic diseases, and you are always being watched. Hugh and Hope have made the decision to not take "the fix", but this isn't easy when you don't have a religion to hide behind as an excuse. On the run from the authorities, and trying to cover the tracks of their digital footprint, this makes for a thrilling read.

This book particularly appealed to me because it has a lot of ve
Bo'ness Library Bookgroup
Only two of the group really enjoyed this novel, three people didn't finish it, while most of us were disappointed, as we thought that the blurb had made it sound better than it actually was. To be fair, most of us tend not to read science fiction (or hard science fiction as this is classed), though we thought that it was an intriguing concept, and all too plausible with the prevalence of cctv, the introduction of self-drive cars, and the pressure on parents to have their children vaccinated. We ...more
Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Disturbingly real socialist dystopia, hinting at Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, with genetic technology update, drones patrolling private lives.
Mostly pessimistic as the protagonist, Hope, refuses to take a pill that will eradicate genetic defects from her baby's foetus. The intrusion, pressure and fear factor leads her to take the pill (fix) at the end of the novel. It is her husband Hugh, however, who hosts a genetic variant who promises a new and different future for mankind. Hope's already
Jul 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book, but alas. The female characters are flat and boring as heck. The whole novel could easily be summarised into one paragraph. Not even half way through the book I disliked all of the female characters. Personally I think that a cis man writing a book with a pregnant woman and this "fix" explains why the female characters are so boring and not even vaguely stereotypical.

I just feel really frustrated and somewhat disappointed with this book.
simon crossley
Apr 23, 2021 rated it liked it
Intrusion is a meditation on a near future where life is regulated with a high level of morality and ethics. Extrapolated ideas on what that may look like a quite restrained with the occasional AI toy and truck. The main debate centres on a medical “fix” for pregnant women and their forthcoming child. The conversations with the medical worker are necessarily disturbing on how people are expected to do the right thing or face the consequences. Black Mirror has explored multiple variations on this ...more
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The ideas in this book are great and combined well to make an interesting story line with a nice plot etc. the only problem is that the writing is dull and dry, which made getting through it somewhat hard. It started off very well, first page and it's the Chinese room argument with a wink to the knowledgable reader, the AI name being Searle. unfortunately it didn't quite continue in the same vein of writing and only towards the very end did it start to get better at it.
It combines such fantasy i
Juliet Hotel
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a Three-and-a-half Stars: Not a typical Ken McLeod piece. This book is more of a discussion about Totaltarianism, women's rights, children's rights, Police coercion ie. interrogation, racial profiling, and privacy issues. The book is flavoured by a unique take on "The Pill" arguement, involving genetherapy, and some unique genes that tilt the arguement in the protagonist's favor. Definately interesting, however the premises border on convoluted/messy, and the conflict involving an antogi ...more
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I basically read this over the course of 24 hours. It latched on and wouldn't let go. If that doesn't make it a great read, I'm not sure what would!

This is a near-future that you could believe might actually happen. It says a lot about individuality, the role of personal choice, and what it is to be a woman in a world that is obsessed with health & safety, surveillance that we all sign up for and the rights of the unborn.

The only reason this doesn't get a fifth star is the end. Realistic, perhap
Paul Waring
Jul 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mcrsf
The story in this book builds up well, up until about 75% of the way through, then it suddenly speeds up, as if the author realised a need to get it in under 400 pages. Just as you think everything is getting resolved and you'll find out what happens, it jerks in another direction (including a complete u-turn by one of the main characters) and leaves a major plot point unexplained. It's an interesting read, and makes you think about things like compulsory vaccination, but it could be so much bet ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: Intrusion by Ken MacLeod 3 15 Aug 10, 2015 07:15AM  
A Decent Read 3 10 Jan 29, 2013 11:23AM  

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Ken MacLeod is an award-winning Scottish science fiction writer.

His novels have won the Prometheus Award and the BSFA award, and been nominated for the Hugo and Nebula Awards. He lives near Edinburgh, Scotland.

MacLeod graduated from Glasgow University with a degree in zoology and has worked as a computer programmer and written a masters thesis on biomechanics.

His novels often explore socialist, c

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