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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  532 ratings  ·  110 reviews
The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg's Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada.

Marmeg Guinto doesn’t have funding, and she doesn’t have support. She cobbled h
Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  532 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
If you’re looking for a fun, bite-sized book snack in between larger reads then look no further - S.B Divya’s Runtime is the literary doughnut you are hankering for.

It’s small, satisfying, and occasionally a little too sweet, but this novella goes down very, very easily.

Divya sets her story in a convincing American dystopia, where citizens are classed on whether they are native born and registered (in which case they get access to health, education, etc.) or unregistered, in which case they are
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stars-4-0, 2017
Divya paints a very interesting world with a few strokes. Through the eyes of Marmeg, we see the raging social inequalities held in place, surprisingly by both sides. Dualities seem to be everywhere: people benefiting from the system and those who don't, people with exoskeletons and opting for a neutral gender and those firm against any technology. In fact, most characters in this novella see things one way or the other, black or white, and this is where Marmeg shines in her refusal to follow th ...more
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A terrific little novella with elements of human cyber-enhancement and the lived experience of being an illegal immigrant in the US.

Marmeg is of Filipino descent and living as an unlicensed person in the US like most of her family. In this US of the future you need a citizen license to access any of society's infrastructure and it costs a lot of money to get one. (A background piece early on shows politicians trying to make it more expensive). She's under huge pressure from her mother to give u
Bridget Mckinney
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I read all of’s novellas, which is a good thing because I otherwise might have missed out on this gem by S.B. Divya. I would never have picked up a story about a cyborg endurance race on my own, but I’m glad I read this one. Runtime is a marvel of world building and character portraiture wrapped around a perfectly executed straightforward plot and just the right amount of smart-but-not-overbearing social commentary. It’s a near-perfect use of the novella length, and I cannot wait to see ...more
Stefan Fergus
There's some interesting stuff in this novella, but it felt underdeveloped. It never caught fire, and so often didn't fulfill its promise. Certain things are given a cursory nod, when it would have been great to hear/read more.
Beth Cato
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, novella, 2016
I received a signed copy of this novella from the author during Nebula Weekend.

Divya's novella is fine scifi: an underdog tale of a cross-country runner with an exoskeleton built out of scrap parts. Marmeg is a heroine you can truly root for, someone who works with black market goods out of necessity to survive, but keeps her eyes on the prize of college and a better life beyond. The world-building here is really something. This is a future America with frequent body modifications and an unsettl
Rachel (Kalanadi)
I received this as an egalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This was a pretty interesting story of a young woman entering a race (using an exoskeleton suit), hoping to win and use the prize money to better her life and her family's. It tackles some ethical questions about cheating and doing the right thing even when it means it might hurt you.

It was enjoyable and I thought the use of language was strong, but the story didn't go as deep as I wanted it to. I would love to rea
Carolyn F.
Small book about the US having a caste system and one woman's attempt to get out of hers. Kind of heart breaking toward the end with a nice HEA (happy every after).
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well, fuck me. This was way too short. I was loving this and digging this world and so ready for what was going on with gender and then it stopped. Apparently this was just a novella. Damn.

But regardless, this was excellent. Loved the setting, loved the shit about immigrants and naturals and citizens, loved the gender stuff.

Want more, please.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are the bones of an interesting world here, but the story fails to sufficiently flesh them out. S.B. Divya is a talented writer, but I needed more from this novella. I enjoyed that the story got going right away, but there was not sufficient time left for world-building. Additionally, there were two aspects that made me very frustrated.

The conflation of cyborg mods and gender identity was probably the thing I disliked most about this book. It felt like gender identity was entirely tied to
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
The main character is born in a no-win situation, attempts to escape to a maybe-win situation, is trapped in another probably-win situation (it just requires giving up their ethics) by situations beyond their control, and chooses to lose for the sake of their ethics. And thus, wins.

It's also a fun and interesting piece of SF, with registered citizens having all the benefits of the future, our character's family having almost none, and the determined struggle to get to the point where they can h
This was a pretty quick read and tangled with some neat topics around body modification, ~cyborgs~, gender, and doing the wrong things for the right reasons. I really loved Marmeg. I wanted this to be longer, tho! Ah, Tor novellas, you're really digging in on that "always leave them wanting more" shtick.

Fangirl Happy Hour discussion:
Thomas Wagner
Full review coming. Rock-solid 3.5 stars. Divya's story takes the hackneyed premise so common to the YA dystopian genre (have-not partakes in a grueling competition to better her and her family's mobility) and actually uses it for the purpose of meaningful cultural commentary.
Che Adventure
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Listen to me ramble about exoskeleton suits, a cyborg adventure race, and the consequences to winning a race no matter the cost or means to do so.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
How this is a nominee for a Nebula makes we shake my head till dizzy. Great basic idea, weak execution, glaring unresolved plot points and a surprisingly wasted ending. There are better novellas written that deserve their nominations.
The novellas have generally been an interesting bunch, and Runtime definitely adds to the mix. There’s a lot of background stuff which I find really intriguing: the society, the genderless/third gender (it’s not entirely clear what this should be considered as), the tech… The idea of what amounts to a caste system in America is pretty topical, given the attitude to immigrants at the moment, and it doesn’t feel that far off or strange.

The story itself is relatively simple: Marmeg, the pro
Cybernetic body-modifications combined with extreme endurance racing in an America that's taken a jackhammer to birthright citizenship. While the story is appropriately novella-sized, it felt undercooked, and there were more than a couple cliches clunking around. There was a lot of thematic interestingness and societal questions to chew over, however, and Divya's skillful at doling out her multi-faceted worldbuilding while keeping the plot moving forward. I also quite enjoyed her setting descrip ...more
Feb 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Frustrating right from the start. Great concept but perhaps the novella is not the right format for world building.
Jun 10, 2018 added it
Just finished this in a day. It's short - novella-length - but fast, furious, fierce, and genre-bending. Five stars!
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.25 STARS
An upbeat YA underdog story from a future where people race with prosthetically enhanced bodies. Poor teen from wrong side of tracks with gift for hacking mods risks her tuition fund on the big race. Moves along at a brisk pace with likable heroine.
Hisham El-far
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Cyberpunk/SF, Fans of Rachel Bach's Paradox Trilogy.
I just finished reading this after acquiring an uncorrected proof copy whilst at Mancunicon (The 2016 British Eastercon) from the freebie table. I'll re-read the finished/final version upon its release and revisit this review at that time.

That being said and being put out there, I really, really enjoyed this novella.

(view spoiler)
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 2016
Marmeg Guinto is going to take on the Minerva Sierra Challenge, her mother be damned, the public be damned, everyone be damned. It's a dangerous race, but she's pulled enough cybernetic enhancements out of the trash to give it a shot. Now it's a matter of how far she'll go to win that sweet, sweet prize money that can take her (and her family) to a brighter future.

S.B. Divya portrays a futuristic society with social stratifications and bodymod-based prejudices and a commonly accepted (but not en
Chris Bauer
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Runtime" by S.B. Divya is concise, well-paced work which is jammed pack full of some amazing writing.

The writing is crisp and, for lack better word, utterly "clean". By that I mean the narrative structure, descriptive scenes, dialogue and overall writing is just right, Goldilocks-style. Divya has a genuine talent, from start to finish, of providing the reader just enough information to understand what is occurring in the story as well as imparting critical information without resorting to awkw
This book was provided by the publisher at no cost.

Things I liked about this story:
Technology was not at an end. It's a small thing, but often stories set "tomorrow" forget that technology keeps developing. There's a line in here about consumer tech not being ready for something but it soon would be - and I was very happy to read that.
The family relationships were complex and largely believable.
Struggling against a new class system that is completely rigged against you.
Enhanced ultra marathons.
Colin McEvoy
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
An enjoyable, quick read with a lot of really interesting ideas, so much so that I couldn't help but wishing the author had fleshed some of them out a bit more and made it into a full-blown novel instead of a novella.

Set in a near-future, near-dystopic California, there are a lot of fascinating and thought-provoking themes at play. There's an American caste system in which citizens have to be licensed to receive an education or social services. There's a myriad of moral quandaries that the prota
Tsana Dolichva
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Runtime by SB Divya is a science fiction novella and the author's debut book. I bought it from a while ago but hadn't gotten around to reading it until now. What triggered my picking it up was reading an excellent short story by Divya, "Contingency Plans for the Apocalypse", which made me want to read more of her work. I am not actually sure whether that story and Runtime are set in the same future, since they're set in different parts of the US, but they could be.

This was an interesting
Ronnie Catcus
May 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
First Line:“The wall behind Marmeg thrummed with the muffled impact of bass beats.”

Runtime was a finalist for the best Novella in the Nebulas this year. It takes place in the far future where immigrants are given scarcely any, if any, rights. Marmeg, is in a position where her only option for livelihood is becoming a nurse at an old age home but she dreams of racing instead.
(view spoiler)
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the start of this novella, I felt like I wouldn't like it. Our main character, Marmeg, lives in a near future, neither dystopic or otherwise, where it's common for young adults to enhance their bodies with cybernetic implants. To make it clear this is a different time, and that young people set themselves apart from the older generations, Divya has Marmeg and her contemporaries speak in a choppy style, eschewing complete sentences or even complete words as she conveys her thoughts in as few s ...more
Brad Scott
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book. Pretty cool concept, good writing style. Overall, the concept of a bunch of cyborgs competing in a grand race was compelling, as was our protagonist's plight, vying for a better life and using wits and ingenuity to try to attain it kept the story moving fluidly. Seeing pronouns zie, zir zis in print, peppered through the work purposefully was interesting to see, as I've not read many books which tackle this, and Divya does it well, even includes contrarian commentary fr ...more
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SciFi and Fantasy...: "Runtime" Buddy Read 11 17 Nov 29, 2018 04:49PM  

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