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Imagine a world where your influence on social media determines your job, your home and your friends. A world without politicians, where the corporations run the country.

Set in a dystopian London, Fluence is a story of aspiration and desperation and of power seen and unseen. Amber is young and ambitious. Martin is burnt out by years of struggling. She cheats to get what she wants while he barely clings on to what he has.

It's the week before the annual Pay Day when strata positions are decided by the algorithms. The social media feed is frenetic with people trying to boost their influence rating, while those above the strata and those who've opted out pursue their own manipulative goals.

To what extremes, and at what cost to their families, should Amber and Martin go to achieve the Fluence they desire?

316 pages, Paperback

First published June 26, 2015

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About the author

Stephen Oram

20 books40 followers
I write novels and flash fiction that are designed set off small firecrackers of thought to light the world slightly differently inside your head!

I've been a hippie-punk, a religious-squatter and a bureaucrat-anarchist; I thrive on contradictions and am a great believer in being slightly askew from the crowd. There's all sorts of ways of doing that - by being on the fringes of society, by travelling to other cultures or simply by being tipsy during the day.

I write contemporary dystopian fiction set in a recognisable near-future. I love taking reality, nudging it out of kilter and seeing what happens.

Like each and every one of us, my perspective of the world has been affected by many people and experiences: as a teenager I was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk; in my early twenties I embraced the squatter scene and then joined a religious cult, briefly; I did some computer stuff in what became London’s silicon roundabout; and I’m now a civil servant with a gentle attraction to anarchism.

You can find more about me and my writing on my website www.stephenoram.net

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,766 reviews590 followers
June 28, 2018
Social media. We are becoming a society that must check their “pages” on a regular basis. Who posted what? Did they see our posts? Did they react? Should we react to others’ posts? Had a good hair day? Post it and wait for the reactions. Have a bad break-up? Post your dirty laundry and wait for the reactions. BUT, be careful, because even employers are looking at your posts…

Welcome to a future that really doesn’t seem too farfetched. FLUENCE by Stephen Oram tells the stories of two people, each fighting for the coveted ratings on social media that could make or break their careers, finances and of course social standing in a society who plays Peeping Tom to your every post. The problem? These unknown faces are also your judge and jury and your fate lay in their unseen hands. Probably shouldn’t upset anyone or bore them, either.
Dystopian? You bet. Terrifying? Uh-huh. Possible? Definitely. Probable? ???????

Follow Amber, upwardly ambitious, a young go-getter who will stop at nothing to feather her nest. Meet Martin, a man burned out by life and trying to fit in in a world he really has no stomach for. Seems Martin’s heart and conscience are holding him back.

Edgy and tense, Stephen Oram’s world is as dark as it is fascinating as he makes no apologies for the characters and world he has created!

I received a complimentary copy from Silverwood Books!

Publisher: SilverWood Books (June 26, 2015)
Publication Date: June 26, 2015
Genre: Dystopian
Print Length: 333 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Yzabel Ginsberg.
Author 3 books102 followers
May 27, 2016
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

This was quite a gripping, intriguing and also worrying dystopian story. Set in a not so future London, where the government has failed and corporations have taken over, it deals with a lot of themes that seem potentially “silly” at first, yet quickly make you wonder more and more about whether this is possible or not... whether we might be close to that already, or not.

Society in “Fluence” is divided into stratae: at the top, the Reds, kind of a nobility that takes care of its own; at the bottom, the violets, and even lower the whites (people who've opted out of the system for various reasons: disability, being overstressed because of the system, and so on). Both main characters, Amber and Martin, work for a branch meant to deal with requests by various people to become “white”, and the approach taken here is rather chilling, casting a crude light on various questions—money and budget cuts remain, unsurprisingly, weighing factors.

Originally a Violet, Amber managed to climb her way to Yellow a first time, but had to drop back to Green after her first (Orange) husband died. Obsessed by the idea of going back to yellow status, she spends her day acting a role, going out to parties and events she chooses depending on how many “points” they'll earn her, and updating her personal feed so that people will vote for her—basically Facebook-like social networking pushed to the extreme, and let's be honest: isn't that a bit the case already for us today? Couldn't we easily veer towards a similar system at some point?

Meanwhile, Martin is her polar opposite: older, tired of struggling to keep his place at Green level, but feeling forced to it because he wants his family to be happy. His own issues include his growing difficulty to perform well in his job, understanding the points/Fluence game, and his son, not legally adult yet, who's living on the fringe of society and doing shady deals with shady people.

While a bit rough in places, this story was highly entertaining, with more than just one twist that at some point seriously makes you start questioning what you're reading: who's manipulating who, who's betraying who, who's threatening this or that character, who's a real friend or only acting the part to earh yet more points... All this is both somewhat grotesque (the bulimia shows, the obscene parties...) and frighteningly believable (our obsession with ranking, performing well, being under constant scrutiny...). And even though the plot could've been a bit tighter and better defined, in the end it didn't matter that much to me, as I still enjoyed the various scenes and situations the characters went through.

3.5 to 4 stars.
Profile Image for Kate.
2,071 reviews311 followers
August 1, 2017
3-4 Fluctuating Stars.

For me personally this is a difficult book to rate. It isn’t cut and dry and there is no black and white when it comes to the plot of this story. I can also imagine that this type of dystopian novel doesn’t work for everyone. But it did work for me.

I’m not going to go into too much detail and leave some things cryptic as this is a book you need to go into with an open mind. Believe me it is worth it.

In a world where power, ambition matter and what kind of colored status you have purely based on how well you sell yourself and put yourself out there the pressure is high to achieve points to move up the ladder.

I can only say that although there are similarities to today’s society. The book takes it to the extreme. Now I personally am not a fan of Facebook, don’t get me wrong I have an account but I’m not the kind of person to share my life with everyone. I really also don’t think that people are interested in what I eat, drink or at what time I go to bad or go to work. I have other social media accounts but they seem to be different when I use them. But mainly it is about playing the system and getting what you want. It effects everything in your life to where you eat, live etc.

I realize I’m getting off the topic here.

It is intriguing, original and well thought out with exceptional writing by the author. It makes you think about today and the moral aspect of things, do you listen to your conscience or live for the rat race by stabbing as many people in the back to just gain a higher status.

It also made me feel slightly uneasy and to take a look at how I would react to it all. I think personally I would fail in a system like that or be mentally exhausted by the constant stress and worry to deviate from my target.

Book received via author in exchange for an honest review

Review can also be found at http://jerisbookattic-reviewblog.blog...
Profile Image for Amanda.
258 reviews8 followers
July 14, 2018
Thank you NetGalley for letting me read and review this novel. I loved it and can’t wait to read more by this author
Profile Image for Wendy.
549 reviews37 followers
July 5, 2015
Actual rating 4.5 / 5)

I liked this – A LOT. It offers an edgy, well-plotted and unnerving snapshot of a fictional society.

Given today’s craving for the next profile ‘like’ and daily updates we all seem to be compelled to comply with, this plot doesn’t seem too implausible. Imagine a world where you can lose or gain points at the drop of a hat if an online status update is not deemed popular enough. A real time popularity contest that can affect your quality of life is a frightening concept.

Whatever points you have gained through posting your updates are accrued as ‘Fluence’ until the next ‘pay day’. The grand total will be converted into a colour-coded status for the forthcoming year. This can determine where you shop, your choice of partner, and the area in which you live – class segregation is common place…

Some of the impoverished and vulnerable are stressed out by the constant need provide interesting status updates in exchange for Fluence on their ruyi, a portable mobile phone-like stick everyone carries round. Sounding oddly familiar yet?

There’s so much at stake for the characters here, and their posts have a danger of becoming outrageous to draw in the crowd. Often the need for more likeability points goes hand-in-hand with an ugly greed. This book singles out the most demeaning acts that people are willing to carry out to ‘achieve’ their goals, all driven by a desperate need to become a better ‘class’ of person, which is quite ironic. These acts are described in graphic detail, but this only reinforces what people are willing to sacrifice.

The two main characters, Amber and Martin, are part of a disability assessment team. They determine if people are fit to work, or if they can be funded by their government. Austerity cuts state that assessors should not declare people as unfit if they can help it. Here enters the dilemma of gaining more Fluence points for great job performance, or wrestling with their conscience and helping those less fortunate. But life’s not that cut and dry, as power-hungry people with their own agendas are watching…

Throughout this book you will see people gambling with their morals to gain a few points here and there. It’s fascinating to see the end result and how they cope with the pressure being piled upon them. With everyone making a scramble to improve their situation it begs the question, just how far would YOU go?

All credit to the author for his shrewd people observation skills and for holding my attention from beginning to end.

My thanks to the author and book tour hosts, Brook Cottage Books, for providing a copy of this book for review.)
Profile Image for Joanna Lambert.
Author 6 books31 followers
July 15, 2015
This was a very thought provoking read. Here we have an imagined world (not so far away from the one we currently live in) where individuals compete on social media for Fluence points. At the end of the year scores are then added up and colour graded according to the number of points achieved. The colour an individual is awarded is fixed for a year and dictates their social status and class. It controls every aspect of their lives, including where they live and who they socialise with

Amber and Martin work at the same place – the Bureaucracy – as part of a disability assessment team. Their job is to determine whether people are fit to work, or if they need to be supported by the government. There are Fluence points to be gained for good job performance, keeping those disability figures down – so there’s a conflict of conscience straight away. Gain points by reducing the numbers on government support, or make an honest assessment to assist those less fortunate.

Amber is both knowledgeable of how the system works and very focussed. She plays to win, her only goal to increase her colour level and social status within society. Martin, however, is tired of the game, happy to stay in Green but concerned his score is currently in freefall. He is struggling.

The story, although central to these two characters who are at different ends of their game, also shows the bigger picture. Here we have a world where people are pitched against each other.. One man’s rise means another man’s downfall. At the end of the day if being a winner is to the detriment of someone else – can your conscience live with this? Or has the system conditioned you not to care?

Profile Image for Lene Blackthorn .
1,468 reviews5 followers
October 23, 2018
This book might be difficult to read, but also forces to think about our world, it´s morals, values, and major drivers in the society and its behavior.
Amber is ambitious young woman, desperate to climb the social ladder several levels up, to improve her strata and live comfortably. Martin, one of her coworkers, would be happy to remain on his level, but struggles to keep it that way. We follow their lives over one week, the most important week leading to Pay Day. Through their intertwined lives, we see the glamour and the deception of the society ruled by corporations, the light and dark side of the advanced technology. Many situations lead to thoughtful moments, wondering how we would cope with suh environment. The detailed description of a not-so-impossible future life is a bit frightening, with all the skewed morals, mean individualists manipulating the social networks that have major influence and constant watch over people´s lives, and relationships breaking down at every turn. The characters were not flawless, sometimes not even likable, but their realistic behavior and personalities painted the whole picture very well, with the raw emotions and dystopian world driving this story. I really liked the book, and if there was any continuation, I´d give it a try.
Profile Image for C.R..
Author 4 books40 followers
April 8, 2017
This has been on my ‘to read’ list ever since I finished Stephen Oram’s first book Quantum Confessions, which has stuck with me ever since like a vivid dream. I'm glad I got round to it because this is another illuminating and imaginative glimpse into a potential future for humanity.

This time we are introduced to a world in which social media influence is treated as currency (called fluence) and directly decides which class (strata) you belong to and therefore which privileges you have access to. The stratum are give the names of rainbow colours; red being highest, violet lowest, and white reserved for the disabled. The reds are the ruling strata, seemingly taking the place of government. There is also a group of people who have dropped out of the system altogether known as outliers. We get a taste of the way each strata lives, and the various struggles they face.

The central plot follows main characters Amber, Martin and Max in an intertwined way. All three are struggling with the system that contains them, and seeking the gold at the end of the rainbow. Every character is realistic and believable, which means they are not always likeable, but definitely relatable.
What really made this book a delight for me was the imagery. There was evidently a lot of imagination behind the futuristic lifestyles of the higher classes in particular. At one point Amber goes to a decadent party where games are played to win influence points, the detail of which is beautifully original and has left strong impressions in my mind. I also loved the in-depth descriptions of clothing and food throughout, because they highlighted the materiality of the world whilst subtly illustrating the contrasting motivations of the characters.

For anyone who has read my reviews before, what I look for in a book is something thought-provoking; something that sends me away having seen a new angle to a social or personal reality. Fluence helped me to affirm a few of things. Firstly this lovely, simple statement says such a lot:

‘booze, bargains and gambling. It's really no different from the elite enjoying fine wines, getting a good price on an antique, and making investments’.

At base, are they really all the same mechanisms with a different social symbols attached?

Without giving any spoilers, other things this book made me contemplate were: is a hierarchical structure impeding our free will, or is such an abstract grouping necessary to instil the psychological effect of making those who would otherwise collapse care and strive? What is more valuable to you: love and privacy, or status? And do we need people that are in alliance with each in order to function as a society?

Despite containing some big life questions, this book is very easy to follow and an entertaining page turner. There are no sections that drag or are unnecessary. The language is real and the concepts are believable as being not too far in our future. I'd even go so far as to say that, other than the ideas of future tech, it is a reality that is already here; albeit not in such obvious, vulgar terms.

Almost every review I have read of this book compares it to 1984 and/or Black Mirror, presumably because they are the most well known and loved of dystopian future fiction. But for me this needs no comparison: the story is original and great of its own right.

For the original review and more, please visit my blog.
Profile Image for Lourie.
124 reviews1 follower
May 13, 2016

*** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ***

I had a hard time rating this book. I couldn’t decide on a 3 or 4. In the end I choose to rate it a 4 because it did leave me contemplating todays society and where we are heading.

When I started reading “Fluence” I really thought it was going to be a satire on social media. And while it did start off that way it really proved to be more of a statement on social status and human behavior. Society in this book is based on what others think and how they feel about you as a person. Your job, home life, night life - everything is based on how much fluence you have. They use a portable device called a ruyi where they post updates (much like Facebook) about their lives and what they are doing to gain fluence. If people like what you have posted you gain more and if they don’t you can loose fluence. The corporations run the world and everyone is put into a class system. The more fluence you have the higher class you can achieve the better your life will be - that is according to them. With that being said you can also loss points hence loosing status and so on.

What I like about this book is how the author delved into a few different points of views with his characters and showed how it affected them. Amber is very successful but very ambitious and will stop at nothing to be in a higher social class. Martin is stressed just trying to keep what he has and yet Max has seen both sides of the system and would like to turn his back on it all and live his life outside of the system all together. There is a small bit of intrigue as the characters coexist and corruption, ambition and fear take over but in the end it will be every man for himself.

There are a few things that I didn’t like as well but they are minor and mostly just my opinion. There are moments where clothing options are detailed in such great length that it became borderline ridiculous. And few parties and the getting ready rituals were also expanded on but it felt out of place in the story for me. It was more gratuitous then needed to be.

Overall it was a good book and I look forward to seeing what Stephen Oram does next.
Profile Image for Naturalbri (Bri Wignall).
840 reviews89 followers
February 29, 2016
Fluence in the Big Brother, the 1984 of the social media age. Set in Orwell’s home city, this book takes place in a near-future London. Everything, statues, friendships, housing and even activity are decided based on the social media fluence points you earn in the earn. Rather than a time of money, the greed in solely based round your influence on the net, creating your world to the next year. Mess up, and you could lose your while life and everything you have worked for.

This story really caught me. I was a huge fan of 1984, durning my youth, and have a copy that I have read several times. This book is that, but for this generation. The scary thing - just like Orwell’s- this read has a lot of truth to it. We watch every day as the youth, and even the adults now, use social media as an outlet to show status. Often, building a life that isn’t true to its word, most people vie for their upcoming statuses by creating something fun, catchy and what they know will gain them the points they need, even if it isn’t true.

The media world becomes a cut-throat world, where everyone is out for themselves and often people get left behind in the dust, hurting and alone. I found the level of detail in this read superb. It made it very easy to become a part of the story and really see/feel what they characters were going through.

The detail in the characters, both in personality and actions created a very full, lifelike story. Just like today’s world, people are fighting to win, earn, everything they desire. It was easy to feel as though this was a very likely possibility, and soon.

I liked the pace of the read. We have a great deal of time to get to know the characters, world and what was taking place, but we also had the rushed, urgent feeling the characters experienced, as the final few days dwindled down.

I highly recommend this read. It appears Big Brother is still watching…

**I received this book for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Kayti Raet.
Author 9 books126 followers
October 8, 2015
Fluence by Stephen Oram is subtitled a contemporary dystopian novel and the name fits perfectly. Set in a near future London divided into a class structure based on influence, your social media popularity is everything. It's a future geared toward the so-called digital native and gives the illusion of upward mobility — if you play the game right.
Told from two points of view that are a bit typical for the genre. Amber, is the driven and calculated career womam who clawed her way up from the bottom and is willing the do anything to get to the top, while Martin is an ex-hacker who's cast as the bumbling everyman struggling to balance what's right for his concious and what's right for his career.
Both characters are working towards PayDay, where if they get enough points they can move up a level and with it gain all then enimities their new status will provide.
I loved reading Fluence. It's a fast paced read that fully immerses you in this status obsessed future. As the minutes wind down till PayDay and the mad scramble begins. There's blackmail, and betrayal as Oram slowly peels back the shiny vaneer of London's new society. The best part about Fluence is how closely in resembles own, turning social media addiction into a game of life and death —literarly.
Profile Image for Gary Knapton.
112 reviews4 followers
August 5, 2017
The superficiality of ego, vanity and purchasing power. The compassionless pit of ambition and senseless "doing" rather than being - are themes explored in this upbeat and fun read which is a side-swipe satire on modern globalised tech-driven lifestyles. All of us. Our values. Our cognition patterns. The sum total of our behaviours. The cost to family life and emotional intelligence.

It's an on-trend topic. Movie: The Circle starring Emma Watson. TV: BlackMirror season 3 episode 1 entitled "NoseDive" starring Bryce Dallas Howard. Novels: 1984. Ready Player One.

You think you are playing with your smartphone. But it's playing you. This novel has a pacey narrative drive, a healthy range of real-edge characters, a clever observational eye and a cool combination of feel-good / feel-worried. There's an important message here and I really enjoyed it. It has a looking-glass London beat that reminded me of Alan Glynn's The Dark Fields & FSG's Jay Gatsby in the swell of a menacing NYC.

Celebrity chefs and traffic-jam hierarchies indeed.

Big thumbs up. Grab a copy.
Profile Image for Vinay Leo.
972 reviews71 followers
May 24, 2016
Review @ A Bookworm's Musing (Actual rating is 3.5 Stars): http://wp.me/p2J8yh-32s

Fluence is a dystopian fiction that covers the story of two characters in a world where the distinction between people happens by strata levels named with colors, the lowest being white and the highest being red. One character is hell bent to do anything to rise up the ladder from her current level, while the other wishes to stay at the level he's at, but finds his strata points reducing, putting him at risk of falling levels at the end of the year. Yet, what I related to was how close this scary world seems to the current world we live in. On some level, I could not connect with the two main characters even, but the setting and the world, that felt creepy. An interesting read, to say the least.
1,484 reviews24 followers
July 14, 2015
This is a very interesting read, it is a story that really makes you think what you would do. I liked how Amber and Martin the two main characters work together. It makes for an exciting read, I wanted to read on to find out what happens to them. I liked the author's writing style too, very descriptive.
June 20, 2018
Thanks to NetGalley for this book.

This is not the first book that revolves around this theme. It is the most complicated and layered one I've read so far.

When you live in a world where everything you do or say has a tremendous influence on your place in society, you can go two ways. Play along or get out. Amber is playing along, her colleague Martin wants out. We follow them both during the last week before the one day in the year it is decided what happens to people - go up or down in society. What happens can have great impact; you can lose your house or get a much bigger one, you can lose your job or get a better one.

Fluence is a rather complicated book with multiple storylines and sometimes a bit too much detail. In the middle of the book there is a long part where Amber goes partying; although this 'party' is very important for her, for me, as reader, it was a bit tedious to read.

The author has a unique style and the story itself is a solid one, with interesting characters.
Profile Image for Jantine.
676 reviews41 followers
June 30, 2018
This fast-paced book tells about a world that is not that dissimilar from the world we know now - except that it is plain that corporations own it all. People are divided into stratae, and their jobs and wealth depends on how influential they are on social media.

'Fluence' follows a couple of people, showing their struggle to get as much (in-)fluence as possible in the week before the yearly Pay Day. Although their struggles seemed surreal in the beginning, they were easy to get invested into. As I said, in the end the world in this book is not even that different from the world as we know it. In the end it all depends on who you know and who knows you.

I received a free copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jule.
809 reviews9 followers
July 19, 2018
The best dystopia is one that clearly shows you the downfalls of the present and the danger of being so close to becoming that terrible future. "Fluence" certainly manages that by making the reader think about social media. In this future, social media is all that counts. Your income, your job options, your status in society, the supermarket you shop at are determined by your level of interaction and popularity on social media and your willingness to cleverly and engagingly share your life and please a crowd. There is a lot of talk about how to reach an audience and about algorithms and trying to figure out the system behind it. Unusual for dystopian fiction, the plot of this story was not to overthrow the system, but merely the struggles of a couple of people right before the annual evaluation of the levels. That added a human element, made the book stand out and also showed the power of social media in being unchangeable. However, I found the narration weird. It was too disconnected between individual scenes and the different story lines. Also, a bit more exposition would have been great. But it is a worth while read with an interesting and terrifyingly compelling plot.

~ I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book and all opinions expressed above are my own.
Profile Image for BookwormishMe.
331 reviews16 followers
August 31, 2018

A rather dystopian take on London in the future, Fluence introduces us to a society determined by your social media status. Pay Day is coming, and this once a year event uses an algorithm to determine your strata for the coming year. Will you move up? Or will you move down?

Amber is currently a Green. She’s married to Terence, also a Green, but unlike Amber, Terence is perfectly happy to be a Green. He lacks the ambition and drive that Amber has for climbing the Strata to Orange. They live in an Orange home provided by Amber’s previous beau. Amber only has visions of going up, even though she does truly love Terence.

Martin is also a green. He has a family, wife Jenny, son Max, daughter Becka. They live in a Green community in the country. Unlike Amber, Martin is barely clinging to Green and fears that dropping to Blue will be the end of his life as he knows it. Jenny persistently pushes Martin to perform better, while their son Max has a hidden life that is helping him to get where he needs to be once he turns 21 and becomes one of the Strata seekers.

Amber and Martin work together for the Bureaucracy. In their department, they determine if people should be White, or those supported by the State. Amber does her job with little compassion or care, only making points to reach the next Strata. Martin has a heart and is bothered by every decision made that adversely affects the people he meets.

As the story continues, we watch as these people interact in this dystopian society. Every moment of their lives not only displayed on social media, but also tracked by the Bureaucracy. One of the things that makes this story appealing is the reality that our society is not far behind this dystopia. Our current society is fixated on social media and status just as this dystopian London is. I think that the similarities are both haunting and interesting.

Oram writes a tale that is thought provoking and entertaining. I wrestled with liking the characters and then despising how manipulative and dishonest they could be due to the circumstances of their lives. Choices they make affects everyone around them. Bumbling Martin can’t seem to make any of the right choices, while Amber makes unsavory choices to try to get ahead. I loved the way that Oram described in full detail some of the places that Amber went for entertainment, the debauchery of the higher strata. His attention to detail really brought the story to life. You can almost smell the beer in Martin’s local pub in the country, hear the accents of those he converses with. The story is rich in detail, which is important in bringing this fictional place to life.

This could also be looked at as a cautionary tale. Could this be where our own society is headed?
Profile Image for Gayathri.
231 reviews55 followers
April 11, 2016
I have wondered time and again of a world without a government, or without the rules as we know. Most dystopian novels help us have a glimpse of such a world but a very few makes us wish they were true. Go ahead read if this book made the cut.

Originally reviewed for Musings over Nothing
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author free of cost in return for an honest review.

I am so excited about the world the book is set in. A world ruled by corporate, a world that sustains on a assessment of performance - sort of- a class system based on the scores they have cut during the year. But he twist is the scores are based on their popularity or the Fluence points and magine people having to try and get more social credos by updating their social lives to run their normal life. I could not stop comparing the Facebook like that few people are desperate about even in our own world.

The protagonists work for the Bureaucracy - the one that grades people into color codes as a part of disability management department. The department segregates people who have to be supported by the government from the other. Amber is trying to do her duty which is to reduce the number of people of with disability registered, so that she can gain her points for her performance. She is ambitious to move on higher status and focused on that, come what may. Martin on the other hand has lost his vigor to try and win and just wants to stay put on his green status, but to his dismay his score keeps dipping without apparent reason, and he is determined to find out why.

The book is well twined with loopholes and the story is set in a steady pace that it would be quite hard to put it down until you finish it. Being one of the outliers, I would have liked to see more of them and how the system would fall apart. Reading about people pitted against each other and the subject of a shallow morality have always worked for me, and Oram's Fluence is no different.

I liked the author's descriptive tone of narration at most places, it helped to understand the different world we are at - but oh enough of those building and bakeries already. Though I didn't feel connected with any of the central characters, I do understand their actions which speaks much of the author's writing tone. I would look forward to reading more of his books in future for sure.

This Review is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours
Profile Image for Vikas.
Author 3 books145 followers
April 2, 2020
I was given an e-book copy for review by the author:

On the face of it, the story is the struggles of two individuals who are fighting to stay afloat in a dystopian world. But it's a frightening world which is very much possible where governments have collapsed and the governance is handled by 5 super corporations. These corporations own everything and everyone works for them. Every year there comes a day called Pay Day when people change position, it's exactly like appraisal in our jobs.

This new world is based on colors White being the lowest and red being the highest, also everything a person does is tied to their Social Media Feed so imagine your career tied with your Facebook profile and twitter handler and we have our hell.

In this world we have Martin and Amber were in Martin is falling Amber wants to move upwards to a life of luxury.

Once again we read through the struggles of few individuals while they try to stay afloat in a very possible and different future but the more things change the more they stay the same. After all, even in a world where everything is controlled by the corporations the ultra-rich i.e. Red, they still have absolute power and poor still struggle.

Very nice book and I would recommend this book to every cyber citizen.

People who don't read generally ask me my reasons for reading. Simply put I just love reading and so to that end I have made it my motto to just Keep on Reading. I love to read everything except for Self Help books but even those once in a while. I read almost all the genre but YA, Fantasy, Biographies are the most. My favorite series is, of course, Harry Potter but then there are many more books that I just adore. I have bookcases filled with books which are waiting to be read so can't stay and spend more time in this review, so remember I loved reading this and love reading more, you should also read what you love and then just Keep on Reading.
Profile Image for CassieRose.
61 reviews3 followers
May 21, 2016
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Fluence is not your typical dystopian book, it is so much more! Stephen Oram created a world where the government is non-existent and big businesses control everything. You influence on social media determines how you live your life and is used as currency, Fluence. To improve your life style all you have to do is improve how influential you are and you will work your way up the levels of society, which are called Stara Levels.

Fluence focuses on two main characters, Amber and Martian.

Amber has been working her way up the strata levels for years because she never felt like she fit in the stara level she was born into. Amber had climbed her way up to yellow but took a hit last annual Pay Day for love. Amber is determined and will do anything she has to to work her way back into yellow because that is where she believes that she truly belongs. Amber uses her knowledge of the stara algorithms and the stara system as a whole to pursue the level yellow, but is there any lines she is not willing to cross to get where she wants to be?

Martian, an ex-hacker, is happy with his life with his family in the green level of the stara. All he wants is to provide for his family but for some reason no matter what he does his fluence just keeps dropping. Can Martian figure out what or who is causing his fluence to plummet before Pay Day hits or will he and his family have to adjust to life in level blue?

Fluence was by far one of the best books I have
Profile Image for Keith .
351 reviews7 followers
July 30, 2016
The book introduces a lot of characters, at one point I almost got a notebook to try and keep track of the people who pop in and out of the. . . story.
Truly, in a nutshell, the author has taken a page from many modern science-fiction. He's taken a word, in this case 'Influence' shortened it to 'Fluance' ant not only has he created a title for his work he's also created the thing people in this future strive for. It's as if Facebook and Twitter have taken over the world. The more likes, the more followers, the more reposts the more Fluance you have. The more you have decides your 'Strata'. These are defined by color, white being those who can't work, and often as in our world are told 'sure you can' and theit benefits are cut off. Reds seem to rule the world broth from in front of an behind the scenes. There are those who have completely dropped out of this corporate run world.
The story basically revolves around two players, both being run like puppets from above. Their struggles and problems feel real but, nothing really happens. Even in the end as things are resolved the story left me flat and wanting more. Everything was too easy too predictable. The writing wasn't bad, it wasn't great but it was readable as long as you can take endings that make you sit there and say 'that's it? It's over?' ? It needed more depth, more development. All in all though it wasn't bad.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
Profile Image for Pete.
Author 8 books80 followers
November 2, 2015
If you decide to try this novel, I suggest you buckle your mental seat belt. The world in which Amber and Martin exist is about as zany a place as any I’ve come across whilst reading through Al’s list. Amber dresses and acts like a high-society member of The Hunger Games' Capital City. Martin is haunted and stressed and as out of place in his strata-level as George Orwell’s Winston Smith in 1984.

The strataed-society with its color-coded citizens (nice touch) manipulated by a small group of corporate conglomerates is not an uncommon theme in this genre. Nor is the concept of an underclass of “outliers” who reject the controlled society in favor of freedom. If I have a complaint of the novel it would be that the central theme is unclear. At times the scenes are so directionless that it’s hard to see what purpose they play in advancing the story. But by the same token, those scenes are so crazy and off-the-wall and imaginative and just plain weird that I found myself enjoying them in-the-moment and to heck with the plot.

Overall, I enjoyed spending a few hours sharing Mr. Oram’s wild imaginings.

This review was originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog.
Profile Image for Alice Wood.
2 reviews
August 2, 2015
I took this book on holiday with me and couldn't put it down. It was a gripping count of social strata, ambition, and followed two families as they grappled with the demands of living in a society with rigid rules about scoring points using technology Facebook like, and meeting the demands of a society which expects everyone to fit I. With strata designed by corporations and overseen and manipulated by those in the highest strata, represented by colours.
As with his last book I loved the ideas and descriptive narration, only this time I warmed more to the characters and could see the future as we could know it one day if we're not careful to retain our ability to think independently. I hope there will be a sequel as I want to know what happens to the main protagonists and the children of the main family.
I recommend this book to science fiction fans and people looking for an intelligent and thoughtful but easy holiday read.
Profile Image for Arpita Dash.
60 reviews11 followers
April 15, 2016
Full review on http://shinningappy.blogspot.in/2016/...

This book will lead you to a different world or I can say a dystopian world, where people compete with each other on social medias for fluence points. These points impact on the colors and those colors states the individuals life style including with whom they will socialize with. The status of each individual change once in a year .e. on pay day.

The book centralized on two main characters; Amber, a clever, socially bright and focused girl and Martin, who is towards downfall and struggling. I liked them both as both seems quite strong. The author did an impressive job by portraying the story beautifully.

I'll give this 4 out of 5 stars for unique story line, well developed characters. This book is highly recommended to all dystopian fans.
Profile Image for Kristen Chandler.
212 reviews39 followers
April 11, 2016
This book was fantastic. I love dystopian, but what I love even more are fresh concepts and ideas. This book was all of the above.

I also loved how social media played such an important part in this book.............because right now, some peoples lives literally revolve around it.

AND this book is set in London. I love London :)

Also, Fluence is told from two points of view, another plus. Amber and Martin, who are polar opposites, take turns narrating this novel.

Fluence is interesting and definitely thought provoking. It was different, but a good different. I look forward to reading more from this author!
Profile Image for Jennifer Jamieson.
329 reviews7 followers
January 25, 2016
Reminds me a bit of Max Barry's Jennifer Government. Corporations ruling the world--poorly. People's values and judgement have faltered accordingly, and things are as amusingly disastrous as they sound. Entertaining read.
Profile Image for Andrea Stoeckel.
2,608 reviews105 followers
July 14, 2016
Expecting a "1984 wannabe" I was pleasantly surprised at the twists and turns in this labrynthal story. Vey well written, it makes you think long after you've finished it
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