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3.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,189 ratings  ·  217 reviews
What if you could live multiple lives simultaneously, have constant, perfect companionship, and never die? That’s the promise of Join, a revolutionary technology that allows small groups of minds to unite, forming a single consciousness that experiences the world through multiple bodies. But as two best friends discover, the light of that miracle may be blinding the world ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 19th 2016 by Soho Press
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John Shaw In that people share a consciousness yes but in this story it is technology based and you chose to Join or not or based on economic and/or social fact…moreIn that people share a consciousness yes but in this story it is technology based and you chose to Join or not or based on economic and/or social factors you either object to or are prevented from joining with another. It focuses more on how those who chose to Join are changed and how their personal changes are reflected on societies relationship with their physical environment(less)
Steve Toutonghi Hi,

Thanks for the question. I wrote it as a stand-alone novel. Since finishing it, I've thought about other stories set in the same world, but don't …more

Thanks for the question. I wrote it as a stand-alone novel. Since finishing it, I've thought about other stories set in the same world, but don't have plans for anything further at the moment.



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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,189 ratings  ·  217 reviews

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Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
What initially begins as a pretty interesting thought experiment about small groups of joined minds and experiences under a quantum entanglement surgery quickly becomes a lot more.

Doesn't it sound interesting when it quietly becomes a murder mystery, a philosophical discussion about immortality, including mental illness, meme propagation, obsession, and later, a myopic cautionary tale pitting the Joined against the Solos and eventually even a fascinating evolution of humanity as it reaches for t
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.75ish stars

Maybe it's a reflection of my intelligence level, but this was a challenging read. I found myself repeatedly having to reread sentences and paragraphs to make sure I knew what was going on. Maybe it's just the nature of the book. For me, at least, there's some pretty hard science going on combined with the meta aspect of singular consciousnesses inhabiting multiple bodies. Throw in some philosophy and environmental commentary and it makes for a pretty heavy novel. In spite of all th
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
The future world of Join is one of environmental devastation where many of the survivors have turned to a new technology that allows a group consciousness.

Chance is a five, a group consciousness of three male and two female bodies. Chance's newest drive (human body) has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer and Chance is struggling with the concept of losing part of itself. At the same time Chance's oldest friend, another join called Leap is displaying an odd tic which is pretty alarming bec
Jessica Woodbury
A dreamy, lyrical, and inventive sci-fi novel with a big concept that's beautifully built and imagined. In the world of JOIN, you can form a single entity by joining your consciousness with another person. That shared consciousness lives in both of your bodies, managing them the way you manage your limbs.

You spend the first part of this novel learning how this world works, watching Chance, a join of five "drives" navigates life and experiences the world. Chance has just added its fifth drive on
Richard Derus
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.5* of five

An excellent, provocative read. I wasn't impressed by Ancillary Justice, a different take on multi-consciousness society, but this other-end-of-the-stick vision of it was fascinating to me.

A better review was, horrifyingly, eaten by Blogger! I'm still distraught.

EDIT But no longer! The real review is finally, finally, finally live.
ash c
3.5 stars. Review to come.

Great idea, weird plot. I give 5 stars for the premise of the join and the worldbuilding that went along with it, and 2 stars for the story.

On to the premise, and I will talk more about the premise and my thoughts about the idea but I have no thoughts about the confusing plot itself. Toutonghi paints a very comprehensive picture of a world where fusing minds in different bodies is possible and has been for a few decades (I use the word fusing instead of his chosen word
K.M. Alexander
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, arc
Steve Toutonghi's debut novel, Join, is one of those science fiction books that stick with you much like the work of Philip K. Dick or, more recently, Jeff VanderMeer. It's the kind of book that comes up while you're at work or socializing or brushing your teeth. Its themes both challenge and provoke, all with an engaging plot. I was hooked. In fact, it's rare that I have to force myself to slow down with a book.

Set in a near future where Earth is ravaged by extreme weather events, we find ourse
Tudor Ciocarlie
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-my-best-of
After Too Like the Lightning and Ninefox Gambit, Join is another ground breaking novel that I've read in 2016 and probably that greatest use of quantum physics that I've ever encountered in a book. This kind of speculative fiction, full of complex, mind-blowing ideas and with a difficult, innovative structure, is the main reason why I'm reading science-fiction. Like Gravity or Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora, Join talks about why we should look into ourselves and at the suffering Earth, and not at ...more
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
4 Stars

Join by Steve Toutonghi is an original piece of science fiction crossed with speculative fiction and a dab of psychology. It explores to some degree the question as to What is it to be human? It more readily explores and contemplate, What is death? Join does a good job at world building and explaining enough to allow the reader feel comfortable in the setting along this group of characters.

Toutonghi has developed an awesome take on the evolution of Man with the onset of the hive mind. E
Darth J
Apr 21, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: would-accept-r4r
The premise makes this sound a lot like Sense8, so I want to read this before the second season premiers.

April Cote
Jul 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book is a bad story with sci-fi thrown in to try and confuse the reader into thinking it's a good story. ...more
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Thought provoking. The story is part thriller and part vision of human evolution. It pivots on the idea of “Join”, a future technology that enables humans to combine their minds while keeping separate bodies (drives).

“Join” has advantages. Virtual immortality is an obvious one, even if your body perishes, your personality would survive in the joined “entity”, or would it? (view spoiler)
I'm not saying "if you love Sense8, read this one!" BUT if you like the sharing headspace kind of thing from Sense8 and don't mind characters who are more distanced, less touchable, while getting a thoroughly fucked up, very science-y story, THEN you should definitely read this.

When I started reading Join, I was mostly just ??? because it was super hard to tell all these characters apart who were part of a join. About 10% in it got fucked up fast though and I knew it was worth it to keep reading
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-requests
Surprisingly excellent. This has been compared to Ancillary Justice and I cannot help measuring one against the other. They are opposites in many ways - one into many versus many into one, galactic empire versus a single fragile Earth, looking inwards rather than ourwards. All themes that deserve exploration. Very well done for a debut.
A Memorable Futuristic Exploration of the Nature of Identity and Technology

Quite possibly one of the best debut novels of 2016, "Join" is the best debut speculative fiction novel I have seen from a mainstream literary fiction writer, with Steve Toutonghi worthy of substantial admiration for superb world building and in creating a believable dystopian near future. In "Join" he explores philosophical issues related to the nature of identity and our current concerns with technology. Simply for thes
Nov 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I honestly don't know WHAT I just read. It started out as a murder mystery which I was really into. Then they solved the murder and it was like NBD. They found the bad guy but no one was particularly worried about it. Then there was a different plot where a dude was dying of a mysterious disease, that had something to do with his mother. The mother, Josette, was a very interesting character and I really dug the storyline of her trying to decide if she wanted to "join". I would have loved more ab ...more
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Steve Toutonghi's debut novel, Join is a lovely piece of speculative fiction that explores a near future that explores the next phase of humanity and how the changes to the race have dire impact to the planet itself. In an unspecified future, individualism has a whole different look as more and more people chose to join. Small groups of people merge minds into a single consciousness while retaining their physical bodies, allowing them to experience life through multiple bodies, and in affect, li ...more
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book destroyed itself by putting way too much effort into trying to be hard sci-fi.

The main concept is multiple people joining into one consciousness. This is the only thing in the book that isn't over-explained. We never find out the logistics of how this works. But at least we get to hear about the physics behind futuristic cars. The entire text is bogged down by scientific details about things that don't matter, and it doesn't leave time to actually explore the concept.

There are actuall
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that sucks you in during the first few pages, but you're also trying not to get too attached to the characters because you know it's all going to go sideways in a minute. Then, it does, and you just can't put the book down. Excellent story well-written, and very much a sense of things coming full circle, a sense of completion at the end. I really wasn't sure I was going to like the story because the idea of a Join, completely sharing your thoughts/memories with another ...more
Darren C
I'm a sucker for character development and I was concerned that since the characters are complex and, well, non-standard (you're presented with this in the first few pages), I was concerned that I wouldn't connect with them, but that didn't turn out to be a problem. I'm impressed with how well the author presented a complicated concept in a way that was, to me, very accessible.

I was also pleased and impressed with how Toutonghi ended the book - I won't offer any spoilers here, but suffice to say
Mike Bridge
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Join is a masterfully written book and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole ride. When I first picked the book up, I was concerned that there would be a bit of confusion due to the way the author addresses the joins and drives in the story. But before I was even halfway through the book my mind really changed the way it thought of these characters, which is what I think the author was trying to accomplish. The book truly begs the question: "what's the value of identity?" ...more
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Oh man. This book was really fascinating and kept me hooked. At times it was hard to keep the characters straight and to follow, I had to keep flipping back a page thinking I may have missed something but I think that was also part of the point. Totally recommend for sci-fi fans.
May 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
It was all over the place. It took so long to understand who was who. I was trying to get out of my comfort zone and was quite glad it was chosen for our book club but it took forever for me to get in to the book and then when I finally did the ending was just wrong. It didn't fit. ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
ARC 3.5
Kelly Spoer
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dude. I'm pretty sure this might get a Hugo nomination.

Damn it's good.

Consciousness and science fiction? Count me in.
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, dystopian
Super interesting, great ideas. Exploration of a new type of consciousness and what it would mean for the world, very literally. Would recommend.
'No matter what you may wish from them, endings are always lies.'

Join ended up being a lot more science-y than sci-fi usually is but still not exactly hard sci-fi which in turn stopped me from really getting attached to the characters. Some of these characters are really fucked up, sure and they do go through one sort or another of character development, but never enough to fill the gap. A large part of that is also because of the secondary plot of climate change that converges with the main plo
Thikrayat Al-aradi
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That was mindblowing!!!

The story is one of a kind, it's so intresting it's so attention grabbing it's packed and oh my god I'm so impressed!
The writer's ability to build up a world that very unique with an amazing and complicated concept and have things going on is just so beautiful!!! I'm very impressed I'll read his other works 😍

At first I had a bit of trouble telling who is who because the whole thing is just unimaginable but I got the hang of it pretty fast and enjoyed the book very very muc
mad mags
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quirky and thought-provoking, with a darkly humorous streak.

(Full disclosure: I received a free ebook for review though Edelweiss. Trigger warning for offensive language.)

"That kind of intimacy among drives is mocked by solos. Before most solo resentment hardened into religious resistance, there was a famous sketch comedy show, Howard, Howard, Howard, Howard, Howard, Howard, and Howard, that parodied the closeness. The seven Howards would stand in a circle, five men and two women, picking one an
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Join is a challenging book from the outset. The premise is that multiple people can join their minds to become a single mind with multiple bodies, each able to work on separate tasks. The beginning of the book attempts to replicate this experience for the reader, jumping between multiple bodies (the main character starts with five) with multiple events happening simultaneously, expecting the reader to track them all. I felt as though my own brain struggled with it and maybe grew some new connect ...more
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A native of Seattle, Steve Toutonghi studied fiction and poetry while completing a BA in Anthropology at Stanford. After various professional forays, he began a career in technology that led him from Silicon Valley back to Seattle.

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