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The Boost

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Ralf is a software prodigy. He works in the US government office that updates the software in the population's boosts—networked supercomputers contained in a chip implanted within the brains of 99 percent of the world's population. Invented by Chinese researchers in 2032, the boost is credited with leading humanity to its most significant cognitive leap since the discovery ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 20th 2014 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  172 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-copy
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

This book is an interesting look into our not too distant future, perhaps one that is more plausible than we think. Mobile devices have already led to wearables, miniature electronic devices that act as an extension of our minds and bodies. Implants, therefore, are just the next logical step. Called “boosts”, these implants are processors that integrate with the “wet brains” in our heads, allowing us to do incredible thing
Benoit Lelièvre
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
This had so much potential, but ended up stumbling and ultimately collapsing under its own ambition. THE BOOST raises a very pertinent, contemporary question: what will happen when technology will have conquered its last frontier, the mind of its users? In this world, most people on Earth have a chip in their brain which resembles the OS on your smartphone and that lets its software write the pattern of your thought. I mean, this is really a cool idea for a novel.

The delivery was profoundly unde
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
I have seen the future and it is full of whiny,disconnected, disengaged,dopey post-millenials. Or that is just how these characters were written, but boy was it annoying. Way too much over explaining plot points over and over. Too much bouncing between different characters without ever really knowing why they were involved or getting to know someone well enough to care if they were safe or not.
The book's premise is good and very plausible as the rate of people already so attached to their elect
Jessica Strider
Sep 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
Pros: thought provoking premise, interesting characters, quick paced

Cons: some world-building and logistical issues

Ten days before the national update for the boost, networked supercomputers implanted in people’s brains, Ralf Alvare, a software engineer, finds himself on the run after learning about an open surveillance gate in the program that would allow companies direct access to people’s thoughts and memories. His own boost chip has been ripped out and, newly ‘wild’, he’s heading to see his
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mon avis en Français

My English review

I do not read a lot of sci-fi books, but as soon as I read the synopsis, I knew that the story would please me. The idea of ​​a plot, and a world governed by boosts that each person would own to allow them to live in a virtual world, was very interested. I must say that this is a bit of a caricature of our society, as well as quite plausible possibility for our future.

In this context, we discover Ralf, a man working for the government, a network prodigy whose
Matt Stevens
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was probably the worst book that I actually finished. Don't get me the wrong, the central idea of the book is extremely interesting. Its just the characters and plot turns are crap.

Imagine Google Glasses have gone far enough that they are actually implanted in your head, and you have all that computer power and everything available. Then, an update comes and there is the ability for "Authority" to command respect via additional brain stimulus. Some people try to stop this from happening -
Is this worth reading? Yes. Regardless of the flaws, this really is a fantastic exploration of the relationship between humanity and technology. If you’re interested in seeing what could happen in the future where computers become part of us, which is something I could visualize happening, then take a look. I’m anxious to see what sort of novel Baker writes next.

Read my full review here:
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
The book started off with a great premise and somewhat believable story (think Michael Crichton). As it progressed though, I found it to be less enjoyable. Some of the more interesting characters were left on the sidelines, and the main characters became less interesting. Great start at the beginning though - hopefully the next book will carry that pace through the whole novel.
Gary Nelson
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
A good premise, poorly executed.

Over-narrated, not enough dialogue to develop the characters and build a connection to them. Plot devices were shallow and abrupt, with far more "tell" than "show". The reader was not allowed to wonder or use their intelligence for long, as each potential mystery was quickly defused in an overly obvious and overly explained way.

I finished the novel, but mostly to continue finding examples of what not to do when writing a thriller. I was not disappointed, as the "c
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Almost post apocalyptic word. Governments control chips in your head, Chinese chips are in US heads, and a businessman who controls the US market tries for nastier control of the brain in coming update. Plucky group of people do standard things and have far too many coincidences. Very standards take on the danger of information control.
Peter Tillman
Eh. Abandoned maybe 1/3 in. Not for me!
Adam Duclos
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jon Snow
Aug 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Haven’t really read sci-fi in a while, I was really excited at the chance to read The Boost by Stephen Baker. I love sci-fi, I love the ideas that classic sci-fi represents. The cover of The Boost says ‘A fast, Orwellian vision of a future’, which got me clambering to read this. 1984 is one of the classic sci-fi books that everyone should read.

The Boost is a small electronic device that is implanted in your brain. It allows you access essentially “the internet” all by thought. You can instant me
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
I was provided an advance copy by Tor. Spoiler free review.

I think this is a fairly solid 3 for me. Like another recent reviewer here, I went into this thinking I was getting a techno-thriller. I think that other potential readers should know right out of the gate that this is NOT what you'll get. While the 'techno' is the lynchpin here, there is very little thriller; no suspense to be found.

The overall premise here, that we will one day (almost) all have embedded chips which have taken the plac
Darren Vincent
Oct 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Giving this book 3 stars is VERY generous.

It is not a bad book. It actually starts out very strong and the initial idea, is amazing. It seems like I have read books with similar technology, but it still felt intriguing and exciting. It is just that the details of the technology can't carry the book alone; it needs as good a plot to go with it and it doesn't get it. After setting up the conflict, the plot that is supposed to move toward the resolution isn't very exciting. There are a couple of no
Don Priest
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
The story starts out strong, with a near-future world where almost everyone has a special chip in their brain, allowing them to store memory and access a highly evolved, future version of the Internet in their own heads. The titular boost augments every function of the brain, but it quickly becomes apparent that heavy dependence renders people less capable in some ways than they might be without it. What results is a story where many characters with a boost comes across as at least slightly auti ...more
Vicki Elia
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Audiobook Review
3 5/8 Stars

How would you like to have your smartphone chip jammed into your brain with a non-stop Twitter feed via a heads-up display courtesy of a microchip-neural interface? Well, it would be cool until it was controlled by the Chinese, the puppet US Government, and of course evil Corporate interests. Welcome to The Boost.

Stephen Baker takes this not-so-far in the future possibility on to Reality Street in 2072. Ralf, a US software developer for the chip, finds a flaw in the n
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi
The author watched the old UK series "tripods", copied the concept of being "capped", transferred it to the town he lives in at the mexican border and uses all of his Spanish vocabulary - voila.

The most interesting character was actually a guy who didn't care about the main plot at all, only about eating more food. He seemed a really nice guy, and I was actually interested what he would do next - but for the main characters, not so much.

The writing style is very solemn. I think it's his first no
Apr 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This is not my normal read, an adult techno-thriller, so it was interesting to divert from my norm and read something entirely different. The book takes place in 2072 in a world where the majority of the population has a boost chip in their head that does about everything. Map to where you're going- it will tell you, need to pay for a purchase- money is on the chip, the food you eat- they're pellets but the chip can make it taste like whatever you want, meet someone on the street- the chip gives ...more
David Link
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
An interesting and thought-provoking look at our potential future as mobile computing becomes more and more connected to our physical selves. I found myself thinking of the implications of living in that world and alternating between wishing that I, myself, had a boost (computer in my brain) and feeling thankful that this particular future has not yet come true.

With scenes of stressful intensity interwoven with some moments of light humor, it's certainly a page turner. However, at first, I found
Matt Hlinak
Jun 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Set in 2072, ‘The Boost’ by Stephen Baker imagines a world in which everyone has a networked computer, called a “boost,” installed in his or her brain. Baker is a gifted futurist whose first stab at fiction is remarkably well written, although his inexperience does show in a few places. But Baker compensates with a fast pace and solid scientific grounding. ‘The Boost’ is a fun and thought-provoking exploration of the long-term effects of the ever-shrinking computer.

Read my full review at Pop Myt
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is about what happens in the not too distant future in regards to nano-chip technology. A "chip" or boost is implanted into almost everyone's brain. This makes everyone a walking breathing computer. Every year there is an update to the boost, but there is something wrong with the next update. The main character, Ralf, is going to try and fix it but is way laid. His boost ends up being taken out of his head. This leads to an adventure he wasn't expecting, being reunited with his estrang ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is a fantastic sci fi concept. What a great idea. I agree with other reviewers that something didn't quite work about the book, but I can't put my finger on what it was. Still, a great idea is a great idea. Set in the future, our iphones are now in a chip in our heads -- a "boost" if you will. So we can access all the information in the world, plus all our memories, etc. We can take perfectly nutritional tablets and make them taste like whatever we want via an app. But....what if an up ...more
Gerald Weaver
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly Written, in Major and Minor Key

This is not just a novel written by a very good writer of non-fiction technology books, trying his hand at fiction. It is well woven and multi-layered novel which delivers on all fronts. It is a fast-paced detective story, which is really a book about modern families, which is really a Carl Hiasssen-esque ironic look into the future, but it is also an intricate metaphor for the world in which we live at this very moment. You will not be able to put it
Steven Bertsch
May 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from a goodreads giveaway.

I really liked the premise around mind expansion technology, and thought that the book had a great start. I started to lose interest near the end where it became a bit too predictable. Overall, it was still an enjoyable read, and a solid 3/5.

I would *really* like to see a prequel set in the early days with competing chip programs, and the chip wars. I think there's a lot more interesting material there.
Karen A. Wyle
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm rounding up a bit, but after a bit of uncertainty early on, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I'm generally more drawn to likable and interesting characters than to plot, but while I gradually became engaged with several of the characters, it was the plot that pulled me in more and more as I kept reading. I also appreciated the many small well-imagined details about what life would be like in a society where almost everyone carried the successor to the Internet in a brain implant.
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This story contains a wonderfully detailed vision of what it will be like when we connect to the internet through a chip embedded in the brain. The characters are really well done, too. The plot, well, it helps give the vision context.
I am both excited and horrified by the idea. And the author does a good job of bringing out both aspects of being really connected.
Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Pretty interesting premise...once I sort of understood it. Basically, most people in the world are on a "boost" system....implanted in your head with constant contact with all virtual sites!! From food to sex to news and controlled by a Central group that wants to add another update that would make all addicted, in a way, to the program. Fairly entertaining. ...more
Joshua Tamayo
Jun 16, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While the concept and world had promise, the characters were so poorly written, one dimensional and lifeless. They felt more like how a 5 year old imagines people than fully fleshed out personalities. I tried hard to like this story, but I can't imagine recommending it to anyone. ...more
May 19, 2014 marked it as to-read
I just won this book free as a goodreads giveaway! I am waiting to read it. Thanks.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Stephen Baker is an American journalist. In 2008, he wrote The Numerati, a book about the Big Data economy. Until 2009 he worked for covered technology for BusinessWeek. In November, he left to go freelance and finish his second book, Final Jeopardy. His first novel, The Boo

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