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The Affinities

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  2,130 ratings  ·  371 reviews
In our rapidly changing world of social media, everyday people are more and more able to sort themselves into social groups based on finer and finer criteria. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities, this process is supercharged by new analytic technologies: genetic, brain-mapping, behavioral. To join one of the twenty-two Affinities is to change one's ...more
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by Tor Books
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Chris That thought occurred to me as well from reading the summary.

That said, there only so many plots, but an infinite number of ways of telling a story.

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

My thoughts on The Affinities in a nutshell: Loved loved loved the idea, but not so keen on the execution. Social science fiction is an enjoyable subgenre for me, but when the socio-political part of that equation gets lost in the narrative, I confess having trouble getting into the story. Nevertheless, there are a lot of interesting themes in here, many of which can be gleaned from the general description of the novel
Jun 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Two stars for the story. It lost one story when it made the psycho chick bipolar and a cutter. It absolutely infuriates me because people can be psycho without being mentally ill! It feeds the stereotype, which this idiot author apparently shares. It was particularly frustrating because there was absolutely no need of an explanation for her behavior. He could have just made her psycho and walked away from saying why.

Even aside from that, this was a boring book. The story sounds really cool with
May 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own-it, 2015, audiobook
3.5 stars

The Affinities is one science fiction book that isn't far off from reality. It's set in a world that is essentially our own, where people can opt to be tested into one of 22 Affinities, much like the Meyers-Briggs social categorization groups. You might not fit into any of the 22 groups, which, in that case, would mean you go on living your life like normal. If you make it into an Affinity, like our narrator Adam Fisk, then you gain a whole new group of friends that understand you on an
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mon avis en Français

My English review

When I saw the summary of the novel, I admit that I was immediately very attracted. I did not really have the opportunity to read a story highlighting social networks but I admit that I was intrigued by the idea. Moreover, even if the author goes far in his ideas, to things that do not yet exist, there is a possibility of this to happen one day, especially when we see what internet is gradually becoming.

We discover a world as we know it but where a company
Apr 23, 2015 rated it liked it
engaging despite that its subject is not one that usually interests me, but the narrator voice works very well and kept me turning the pages till the end; the disjointness of the novel and the rushed and somewhat pointless ending take it down two notches

overall, better than i expected based on subject but quite far from the author's top work and like with Burning Paradise, his last novel, (similar feeling - fast moving, not to be put down, great potential and then everything falling apart at the
All Things Urban Fantasy
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-by-kim
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

Lost in a crowd? Need to find yourself? A place where you just belong? THE AFFINITIES introduces a wonderful/scary world where finding your place in the world is simply an inexpensive test away; and if you don't fit into any of the 22 standard profiles, or affinities, you even get your money back!

THE AFFINITIES was scientifically and socially interesting; I loved seeing how the different categories of people worked together (and against each other).
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Affinities

Robert Charles Wilson is, without a doubt, an excellent writer. His characters are well developed, they speak and interact well with each other. I've read several of his works (the “Spin Trilogy”, “Bios”, “The Chronoliths” amongst others) and for the most part, his work is flawless.

With “The Affinities” while the premise of groups of people with similar interests and aptitudes find each other via a system based on algorithms: the forming several “Affinities” of which one becomes a
Aug 03, 2015 rated it liked it
THE AFFINITIES is a fascinating idea incompletely realized. The MacGuffin is a scientific theory of social interaction that can sort people into groups (affinities) most likely to cooperate based on intuitive understanding, i.e., the 'it's like you've known me all my life' feeling. In all, 22 affinities are formed (along with a substantial percentage of the population that can't be sorted), leading to the creation of social groups knit together closer than many families. But the implications of ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Zedsdead by: ?
Shelves: review
(Update: It really is pretty bland but I love the concept so much and I keep revisiting this book in my head, so I'm bumping it to 5.)

A social-science fiction novel. A new subgenre, perhaps?

In the near future, a company develops a method (personality testing, brain mapping, and complex algorithm) for grouping people behaviorally and socially into "Affinities". It's a little like a dating service but an Affinity is comprised of people that trust each other naturally and cooperate extremely
Apr 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book felt like homework. High school homework. It was lecturey, annoying, occasionally pedantic and worst of all, it wasn't entertaining. I stuck with it because of all the blurbs on the book praising it.

The political stereotypes are hopelessly and offensively juvenile. Republicans are wife-beating bad guys. Conservatives (the Het affinity)are mean-spirited,brutally authoritarian and need a dictator to tell them what to do and will kill you if necessary. Progressives are represented by the
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
When I finished this book I seriously thought about throwing it across the room. With the exception of one character who was peripheral, every last character in this book was selfish and despicable.

The social dynamics and the science behind it where interesting. So was the political ramifications of the affinities. When I started reading it, I thought wow that's pretty awesome. I thought it would be pretty great to find a group of people that just get you and can help you to reach your goals
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books-read
This book is based on an interesting idea, but it's a snooze-fest. I hate to say that about a book by one of my favorite authors, but they can't all be home runs. A company has found a way to study people's brains and group people into categories with groups of people who get along well and think alike. Groups of these people have bonded together and created their own groups with ties stronger than their families. Eventually, the groups start fighting each other. I'm not really sure why. There ...more
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Buddies and their systems
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work

It's the signature malaise of our time: solitude we did not choose for ourselves, the loneliness that gets manufactured for us when we're surrounded by devices for which we care, instead of people for whom we care. Some call it "atomistic individualism," a phrase libertarians seem to hate (which to me is just more confirmation that there's something to it). Whatever you call it, though, I think it's hard to deny that most of you reading these words, most of us, find it harder than
Fantasy Literature
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Adam Fink was just another graphic art student in Toronto before he took InterAlia’a affinity test. The affinity test examines a person’s genes, brain patterns, and behavior and sorts people into one of twenty-two affinities (or into none of them). InterAlia has an algorithm that’s sort of like online dating, but it looks like they got it right this time.:

The Affinities are still new when Adam takes the test. Not a lot is widely known about them, but
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
While the idea of social networks developing into distinct societies is an interesting one (and timely, I suppose), this book doesn't live up to the potential of that idea or to what the book hints at.

After an introduction into the concept of Affinities, I expected the scale of the story to expand as the novel progressed. But what happens is a personal story of the main character. There are hints of the Affinities having larger affects on the world (in info dumps) but these are just the back
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-stars, 2015
Competent, somewhat engaging, but not even as satisfying as pulp. The narration is monotone, and the storyline is surprisingly shallow. I would not recommend this book to anyone, even though the plot idea is provocative. It's sort of an attempt at mashing up Werner Erhard's EST training, without his insight or philosophy, with bookface and google circles, then watching any social evolution that might happen. According to the author, it's not utopia nor new dystopia, just another baskin robbins ...more
A real science fiction author's take on something akin to Divergent factions or tribes or clans. Or Harry Potter style houses. And kind of a nod towards Foundation's Psychohistory. This book was a quick short read. It jumped forward a bit, a technique that I don't like a whole lot. And I'm not sure that I agree with the author's choice of protagonist. But the idea is a good one and it was pretty well done. We definitely should be able to test for something like affinity groups, and I hope it ...more
Mark Schlatter
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shreve, new_book_area
Here’s the premise of the novel: assume that besides just taking the Myers Briggs test or an eHarmony test or that “Which Disney Princess Are You” online quiz, you actually decided who you would associate with based on the results. You wouldn’t just date people who scored like you, you would base your entire social and work life around these people. Assume, in addition, that a personality test was created that ensured that you and the people who scored like you could form a “hyper-collaborative” ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This is really 3 1/2 but I'm not giving it 4 because it kind of petered out at the end. An interesting idea--people are analyzed and put into Affinity groups with others similar in some essential way to them giving them instant friends who become closer than family. Eventually, the Affinity groups grow too powerful and go to war amongst themselves. It follows one youngish guy estranged from his family who finds friends, love and success with his Affinity group. And it takes an interesting twist ...more
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
A great, fun idea that turned out rather boring and even unimaginative. 22 Affinities, and there are only 2 at all fleshed out? (view spoiler) Read it if you want, but I can't recommend this.

e rainbow bee
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
i didn't finish this book, and in fact didn't get past his trip home. partly because one of the first sentences of the book uses the word quixotic, partly because of descriptions of his neighbor and his step-mother. one is a "retired librarian that was grateful" when he gave her his ex-roommate's kitty. and the other insisted on doing all of the housework and cooking, etc. by herself, but she was proud of it and knew that everyone appreciated her for it.

PLEASE will someone tell these men
It's difficult to really like a book in which you really don't like the narrator, unless the writing is stupendous and there is a point beyond the obvious plot. Sympathetic secondary characters help.
This book displays none of these. The characters are rather odious and derivative and the writing is as limp as the smug hero. Because of this, the overarching theme, which I take to be the dangers of social control, is considerably muddied.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
It was good but not great. I liked the concept but was hoping for so much more to happen.
Costi Gurgu
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good social science fiction thriller.
Keri Bender
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this a quick read and very much enjoyed the storyline. It was very thought provoking, especially the ending.
I am really sick of lazy authors who don't think through the implications of their stories. And a lot of this book had the same problems Daughters of the North had. Like always, spoilers abound.

1. Style
From a technical level, this book is mostly correct in its use of English. However, much like Daughters of the North, I got the impression of the author thumbing through a thesaurus to find some sort of word to make himself sound smarter than he is. It's pretentious.

It also has severe pacing
Daniel Roy
Apr 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
I'm a big fan of Robert Charles Wilson, and I like to say a lesser book by Mr. Wilson is still better than most other SF authors' above-averages. The Affinities is a good test of this assertion: if, like me, you find yourself enjoying it despite it all, then you may just be a Wilson fan.

Oh, it's not a terrible book by any stretch of the imagination. As with every other Wilson book, it's got a pretty cool Big Idea: in this case, the eponymous Affinities, twenty-two socially attuned groups that
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a book for the social network age. Wilson posits a near future where a company has come up with a complex formula for testing one's social nature and (for profit, of course--one must pay for the privilege) putting one in touch with others who share one's characteristics and therefore are people with whom one is more likely to be able to relate and co-operate well. He is careful to suggest (without going into too much detail) that the process is sufficiently complex that it involves not ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since I read a book in one sitting. This one pulled me in right from the start, and it helps that it's a relatively short book (also physically MUCH lighter than the last book I read, which was a solid tome).

Because I devoured the book so fast, I feel like I need time to digest it. There's a lot to think about. It's the kind of book I want to give to all my friends, just to see what they think of some of the ideas in the book. The idea of Affinities is tempting to me. But then
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Does anyone want to start an actual Affinity? 2 11 Sep 03, 2015 09:58AM  
Divergent? 1 9 Apr 06, 2015 12:23PM  
More Details 1 13 Jul 22, 2014 06:55AM  

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I've been writing science fiction professionally since my first novel A Hidden Place was published in 1986. My books include Darwinia, Blind Lake, and the Hugo Award-winning Spin. My newest novel is The Affinities (April 2015).
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“Suddenly I wanted the earlier version back, but there was no retrieving it. When I blurred the lines to soften them it was as if she began to disappear.” 0 likes
“When I blurred the lines to soften them it was as if she began to disappear.” 0 likes
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