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The Red Men

(The Seizure)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  354 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Nelson used to be a radical journalist, but now he works for Monad, one of the world's leading corporations. Monad make the Dr Easys, the androids which patrol London's streets: assisting police, easing tensions, calming the populace. But Monad also makes the Red Men - tireless, intelligent, creative and entirely virtual corporate workers - and it's looking to expand the p ...more
Paperback, 380 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Snowbooks (first published October 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  354 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Glenn Russell

Wild, wild ride.

The Red Men - a terrific action/adventure tale packed with an entire list of New Wave SF themes.

British author Matthew De Abaitua sets the frame thusly: one-time radical journalist Nelson Millar now works for Monad, a megacorporation focusing on futuristic technologies. But when Nelson oversees the creation of a digital suburb not too far from Liverpool called Redtown filled with Red Men (see below), events take unexpected turns and Nelson must face life and death moral choices.
Tim Pendry
Mar 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
A superior gnostic sci-fi horror which weaves the anomie of modern corporate man and a satire on the world of business gurudom with chaos magick and a dark seam of esoteric horror.

There are shades of J. G Ballard here and, if you can get past the knowing comic writing that is now de rigueur in any post-modern science fiction that deals with inner rather than outer space, there is something important being said about the way our minds and perceptions are being changed by the new technologies.

Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
“Yesterday we discussed how I am an artificial intelligence sent from the future who has unconsciously created a terrible enemy to evolve against. Today, we discuss my relationship with your laundry. Your company is a cavalcade of surprises, Nelson.”

I don't know why my review-writing brain has deserted me. I've been trying all day to come up with something profound to say about this excellent, hilarious book & nothing is clicking for me. Hurry back, words of mine! In the meantime, just read this
Jun 26, 2008 added it
This is the book we optioned. Excellent read and a smart book. SciFi mixed with a mid-life crisis. I've read it so many times I know it like the back of my hand now. And it's really funny to boot.

..but I would say that wouldn't I - we bought it.
Janos Honkonen
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Red Men was an awesome read, both as a sci-fi and as a literary experience. The story is a fascinating mix of corporate culture, pop-occult, themes of artificial consciousness and virtual worlds, Philip K. Dickian reality bending and interesting milieus and characterizations. The Kindle version of the book has some 13 000 words trimmed out, and apparently the more elaborate literary flourishes got the boot, which makes the text flow while feeling still rich and evocative. I picked up Red Men wit ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s hard to tell what is going on in de Abaitua’s novels (literally). But they’re thought provoking, and he has interesting commentary on how artificial intelligence, Big Data and the global market are controlling us.
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Reminded me of Seventies era science fiction, where new modes of consciousness were accessible through drugs, but now it's on a corporate scale ...more
Shawn Davies
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Near future Sci-Fi offers us the ability to reflect our own times and Matthew De Abaitua does that brilliantly with The Red Men. What better devices for metaphor than the avatars displayed in this tale of corporate greed, runaway technology and human frailty. He uses Technology as a mirror of our worse selves and our ultimate master, much to our own detriment.

What De Abaituna does really well though is delineate the domestic and the personal with the corporate and technological. Some of his pith
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
Starts out very strong with a scathing critique of contemporary tech mega corps. The red men concept is well conceived. The second section jarred me a bit by the introduction of Leto and his followers. It appears the author tried to do some high PKD style weirdness but it never really gels with the rest of the novel, at least for me. I was captivated though, a highly enjoyable read.
Vuk Trifkovic
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent piece. The characters are great, the observations really sharp. Plot can be a bit rough in places, a bit rushed and confused. The SF bits are meh, but overall impression is still very good. I'm surprised it has not been more popular... ...more
Andy Theyers
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Wonderfully inventive speculative fiction. More grounded than Jeff Noon, but in that same near future where the advancement of science is as much about the inside of our heads as it is about the outside world.
M.A. Stern
This book has an interesting premise and raises compelling questions about the nature of AI and our current socio-economic system. Unfortunately it is bogged down by mediocre execution and at times confusing narrative structure.
James Stewart
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
A pleasing, quick read written by someone who clearly knows my Hackney neighbourhood very well. I enjoyed the way the author played with gnostic concepts and the fact that it never quite resolved.
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.25 of 5

Monad is possibly the world's largest corporation - they make androids. The androids known as Dr Easys assist the London police, patrolling the streets and calming the citizens.

Monad also makes the Red Men androids. The Red Men are virtual corporate workers who never tire and are highly intelligent and very creative.

Redtown is a virtual city inhabited by copies of real people doing everyday, ordinary things from reading
Rachel Stevenson
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
What if someone who thought his dead dad was talking to him via CCTV, other people's mobile phones (or the TV) was actually not mentally ill but being stalked by an avatar?

The blurb on the back of the book says that Nelson, the protagonist, used to work for a radical magazine, but is now a programmer for a mega-corp, but in reality the mag sounds more Sugar Ape meets Loaded. This isn’t "1980s left wing dude goes Thatcherite", this is someone who came of age in the 90s and turned 30 in the uncert
Zac Wood
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Eh, I had hoped for more. I first saw it on John Scalzi's "Big Idea" features, and loved the premise... but just wasn't feeling it.
The first few minutes of the book were made into a short film, which I had actually seen before (not knowing the connection). The film, called "Dr. Easy," is true to the book... and has the same kind of meh effect for me, even after rewatching with the book's context.
I might read something else from this guy, but I'm not going to hurry up and make it happen. I probab
Rachel Noel
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
*Book received via NetGalley for an honest review.

This was an interesting book. It felt like it was modeled after a 70's drug-trip dystopian movie. It goes back and forth between Nelson's perspective and his friend Raymond's with a couple other minor characters as well. I greatly appreciated Nelson's everyman perspective. He is genuinely a good person who wants to do the right thing, but wants to put his family's well being above all. I kinda wish we could've gotten to see the world from the per
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting ideas were shared through this book by Matthew De Abaitua, including the creation of an entire stimulated town. Although I enjoyed the scenario's we were shown in the first 1/2 parts of the book, the final addition in the storyline including a new competitor to the company Monad seemed a bit farfetched and too complicated (although it might just have gone over my head).
Throughout the book the author switched perspectives quite often which again didn't help the immersion.

It's not a
Jerry Balzano
Wow, what a mess. What an unrewarding, tedious slog this book was to read. The writing was choppy, the storytelling disjointed. The author's command of punctuation embarrassingly amateurish and inconsistent. Even when I was over 90% into this book, I was still tempted to stop reading altogether.

So some people actually liked this book, am I right? All I can say is, I would not welcome a book recommendation from any such person. Comparisons to Philip K. Dick? Forget it; whatever similarities there
Robert Collins
I struggled to finish this. Too much metaphysical mumbo jumbo. I wasn't invested in any of the characters, none were particularly identifiable. Even the idea of the man against the machine didn't work for me. ...more
Alan Fricker
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I struggled a bit. Loved the ideas but the Leto stuff was lost on me
J McEvoy
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting and inventive until it goes full-on Philip K Dick in druggie mode, at which point it becomes a pain to finish.
Aug 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This would be a solid 3.5 with a more granular review system.

The Red Men is an interesting fusion of Literary fiction and science fiction tropes, playing in the space that Gibson pioneered but with a great deal of fascinating original flourishes. The basic narrative follows a former editor for an underground magazine after he's sold out and works for a tech company that creates partial emulations of its clients to improve their work performance. Things get screwy from there, and there's an incr
Jun 21, 2011 rated it liked it
An interesting near-future satirical cyber-thriller that doesn't quite manage to come off. It starts well, with the development of the Red Men, who are essentially AI copies of human personalities. These are ostensibly done to enable certain individuals to establish a sort of ersatz immortality. However, the personalities, once in AI form, do not behave and respond as would be expected based on the people they are recorded from. The physicality of the brain having a significant effect on that.
Susie Munro
I think there are at least three novels crammed in to the Red Men - a near future dystopia with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek satirisng corporate culture via mid-life crisis man angst-ridden view point, an oddly half-formed weird novel involving possession by transplanted pig organs with lashings of occult and an completely out of place earnest sci-fi novel about AI, ethics and the role of storytelling in shaping our understanding of ourselves and the world. The look-how-clever I am sat ...more
The Sample Reader
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-buy-list
In a very general way, The Red Men puts me in mind of William Gibson. This is literary scifi with a strong sense of place–London, again–and a clear reflection of the contemporary. This really appeals to me, but not quite enough to force my hand–for now. It’s right at the top of my shopping list though.

Read the full ebook Sample Reader review here.
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a dystopia for the modern era with a fair bit of added humour. The author has used the original Karel Capek concept of robots and brought it up to date. The book could have perhaps done with a bit of polishing from a sympathetic editor, but it is still worth reading. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
James Murphy
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is one of the more intriguing science fiction novels I have read. It certainly gives one food for thought about artificial intelligence and its potential applications. Worth checking out if you're in the mood for dystopian near-future science fiction. ...more
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A novel about artificial intelligence, what we might use it for, and how it is likely to be literally inhuman in its motivations. Reminded me of the work of Jeff Noon, with a dash of Michael Marshall Smith.

(Sadly not available in the US.)
Lilla Smee
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Another book that has to be officially and formally abandoned. I got a fair way through it - in fact I'm nearly at the end. But ultimately, I just don't care what happens to anyone. ...more
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