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One of Us

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,544 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Hap Thompson had never been that good a criminal. So it's a lucky thing he's discovered something that pays even better than crime. And it's legal. Almost. Hap is a receiver at REMtemp, working during the night hours, having people's dreams for them. Hap is one of the best REMtemp has ever seen. He's so good they offer him some under-the-cover work - taking on memories ins ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 3rd 1998 by Bantam (first published 1998)
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Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Philip Dick, sci-fi noir
Shelves: sci-fi, mindbender
I've chewed on this review for a ridiculous amount of time. After two months, I'm left with a movie analogy:

I think if Only Forward was The Fifth Element, (spoiler for those who don't want images) (view spoiler)

One of Us is Blade Runner (old school, not the new one).
(view spoiler)
One of Us, like the movies and Only Forward, is a genre mash-up. Noir mystery, future science fiction and somewhat mystical fiction with a grim overtone. The main character is not enti
This book is loaded with more Awesome than many I have come across...How much Awesome you ask?...More units of Awesome than a Vulcan DJ or Robocop riding a Unicorn……
That is significant Awesome!!!

6.0 stars. This is the fourth book I have read by Michael Marshall Smith (MMS) and the lowest I have rated any of them is 5 stars (with this book and Only Forward being on my list of All Time Favorites. I guess you could call me a huge fan of his work.

One of Us is a "hardboiled" style science fiction
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is only the fourth MMS (including The Straw Men, by his alter ego, MM) that I've read.
The great thing about this guy is that he has such a rich imagination, it's exciting to start one of his novels because you have no idea where he is going to take you.

Having said that, I'd have to say that One of Us left me wanting just a little more. Indeed, he ultimately took me to a bizarre and original place, but it is the one novel of his that I've read that didn't have as much of the amusing and poig
Just on originality alone this book gets full four stars all fat and juicy -- I also had a rollicking good time reading it being that it's so goddamn funny in parts and running on high-octane adrenaline in others. It's such a mish-mash of genres it left my head spinning in places, but at its core, after you strip away all the fun bells and whistles, this is a "noire-ish" hard-boiled detective story. There's an anti-hero on the run, trying to solve a mystery before time runs out, there's a best f ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Early Jeterians and Lethemites, with occasional music
Recommended to Alan by: Uncle Hugo
It's a shame that Michael Marshall Smith never quite achieved breakout status as a science-fiction writer, because the novels he wrote before he switched names (to Michael Marshall) and genres (to more conventional thrillers)—SF like Spares, Only Forward and the novel currently at hand, One of Us—were really original, and really good. I'd compare One of Us with classic works of weirdness like Jonathan Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music or K.W. Jeter's novel Noir (the latter also from 1998, by t ...more
This book was not very good but it is rather hard to review. There is no clear way to explain even what this book was about and the synopsis on the jacket is inaccurate. The sci-fi concepts and worldbuilding are terrible. The main character is an unlikable petty criminal. The story unfolds unremarkably until a certain point in the book wherein the plot derails into complete nonsense.
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the author's earlier books - a sci-fi mystery with a dark sense of humour. Alarm clocks with lives of their own and people who hold other people's memories - for a price. Hap Thompson makes a good living out of taking on other people's memories, until something really bad happens. A young woman leaves him with the memory of a murder and won't take it back. Hap ends up on the run from the police and hit men (including his ex wife) while people in his life keep disappearing. It's a bizarre ...more
Michael Marshall Smith seems to have stopped writing science fiction after this novel, which is a sad loss to the genre as his books inject a welcome sense of an author not taking himself (or the genre) too seriously; something that SF could do with a bit more of. One Of Us is a near-future action thriller with cyberpunk themes. Hap is a small-time crook and a drifter, who earns money by temporarily storing the dreams and memories within his own mind that other people would rather forget for a w ...more
May 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Few books have as pacey, engrossing and spectacular a start as this novel. The setting, premise and world are introduced with a deft hand, and a skilled walk on the tightrope between alienation and overexplanation. At heart of the novel is the first person narrator, Hap Thompson, who acts as storage bank for annoying dreams and memories. Except, then there is a memory that could cost him dearly if it's found in his possession...

One Of Us stays the course of a ripping sci-fi yarn for almost three
Aug 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who reads humouristic sci - fi
I do not have a clue how this book ended up on my shelf, I can only remember it appeared there about a year ago and was subsequently neglected until I picked it up last week.

Needless to say, this was my first novel by the author and I was, especially for someone who doesn't read sci - fi all too often, thoroughly impressed. Smith's writing style is so fluid, full of matter - of - fact British humour and throughout the book you have the impression he is sitting opposite you, while he is telling y
May 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Man, Smith is nuts. I mean, I knew this and it's part of why I've always loved his books, but One of Us really rams the point home. I read it when it first came out in 1999, and just reread it as part of my rereading-MMS kick, and I still have no idea what it's about. God? Guns? Why alarm clocks really deserve to have the %^#@ kicked out of them? Who cares? I love MMS books for their atmosphere and skiffy insanity; I don't demand coherence. One of Us is pretty much an everything-jammed-in mess, ...more
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Michael Marshall Smith's sci fi books are always full of the unexpected - which is very refreshing.
Michael Marshall Smith keeps exploring a certain "noir" feeling in a near future, almost close to current events and yet different from what we would call "normal" life.

In this case the premise is less wild than others, dealing with transferred memories and dreams. A not-very simpathetic criminal with good friends gets tangled up in a metaphysical chase, getting ahead by a mix of smartassness and bloodymindedness, supported by a healthy dose of luck.

What makes you read MMS is not the plot, or ev
Apr 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The oddest compliment I can give this fine almost-sci-fi novel is that I would read it again, if only because I can't remember how it ends. I found the writing compelling and the storyline interesting enough to keep me reading on a long flight. Didn't like the other Marshall Smith novels I read, so this one felt like a fluke, or a gift.
Melani Smith
it was nicely written but I don't think it was my cup of tea. Michael has a vivid imagination and I applaud him for it but I think this book was just a bit too out there for my tastes.
Trip Maus
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I really enjoy a first-person tale, esp when as deftly written as this. It is an interesting SF mystery. Very evocative. Loved the clock. Just go read it.
Sam Reader
"Sorry. Ambient light projector."
- God

I should have known a book by Michael Marshall Smith wouldn't play straight with its own premise. Walking into this, I was ready to talk about a book that was just some kind of dark, twisted Noir story about a man who deals in memories and dreams for a living. I was ready to tell you that this was a slow, brutal burner about things going slowly wrong for Hap Thompson as he tried to dig himself further and further out of a slowly-tightening net. And I was a
Ian Casey
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fixing things doesn't solve everything: Your life will still have been broken. But at least you can use it again.

One never doubts that they're reading the same author between Michael Marshall Smith's first three novels in the 1990s. Even if the settings aren't explicitly intended to depict the same canonical universe, they may as well be with their darkly humorous late-stage-capitalist dystopian societies including such shared absurdities as appliances with personalities and agency.

Smith veers s
Kiril Valchev
Майкъл Маршaл Смит бе явление на литературния ми небосклон преди време, когато посегнах към негова книга, без да я проуча предварително (нещо, което много рядко правя). Книгата беше "За подмяна" и си остава една от любимите ми. С големи очаквания (може би прекалени) зачетох "Един от нас" и затова в края, удовлетворението не беше пълно. Имам чувството, че това бяха два-три романа събрани в един (нещо, което не е непременно лошо, но в този случай изпълнението не беше на висота). Странна амалгама о ...more
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Steve Howarth
I must admit, I feel this one lags behind Only Forward and Spares by a small amount and 4 Stars seems harsh.

Once again it is an entertaining and vivid twist on human nature with a splatter of the surreal thrown in. The characters and story are as well formed as the other books - if not better which makes for a great and stylish book.

You will never look around the kitchen the same again...
Ce livre raconte les aventures de Hap Thomson, looser à la petite semaine, porteur de rêves et de souvenirs récupérés chez des gens qui n'en ont plus envie.

Bien sûr, on est chez MM Smith, et d'après ce que j'ai pu comprendre (en lisant la quatrième de couverture), l'ambiance se retrouve aussi dans ses autres ouvrages. Et cette ambiance, fabuleux mélange de vrai roman noir et de cyberpunk étrange, avec un peu de fantastique sur les bords, est vraiment l'un des points forts du roman. Lorsque Hap,
The Brain in the Jar
It took me a really long time to read this, probably about as long as it took me to read A Feast for Crows. It has more to do with circumstances though, rather than the book itself. You may also want to blame Diablo II and Morrowind, but, well, it's Diablo II and Morrowind.

Reading The Straw Men and its sequel, The Lonely Dead, Michael Smith stood out in the world of thriller writers. I had a phase where I read a lot of them, and despite the good times it's true what they say. These thrillers ten
Glen Engel-Cox
The spine of this book labels it as "suspense," and it certainly does share some aspects of that genre. It is also, however, a science fiction, mystery, fantasy, speculative religious thriller. This is both the joy of the book, and its curse. The joy is simply reading it for the excitement of not knowing what Smith is going to throw at you next. The curse is wanting it to coalesce into something besides the ephemeral pleasure of a roller coaster ride, and being disappointed when the coaster car ...more
Oct 31, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A sci-fi geek I didn't like much
Shelves: wasted_paper
I don't know where to start complaining about this one. From the idea of renting out one's brain space (stolen from Johnny Mnemonic) through the notion of rogue appliances wandering the landscape (stolen from Transmetropolitan and Futurama), on to the one dimensional characters who all seemed cut from the auditions of almost every faux-Bladerunner film of the last 20 years, this book is a spirited attempt at plagiarism. Supporting characters are given one-syllable names like Deck, Quat, and Vent ...more
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just this moment finished "One of Us" by Michael Marshall Smith. And I have almost no idea what to make of it.

In the near future, we have found a way to subcontract out dreams. We've also got the ability to shift memory to someone else. Want to pass a polygraph? Have someone else remember the crime for awhile. Hap Thompson dreams other peoples dreams and stores their memories, for awhile. Until one day he gets a memory that the sender won't take back. He's on the run trying to find a way to g
Tom Czerwinski
Michael Marshall Smith delivers characteristic hard-driving, plot-driven prose which propels the story at a very quick clip. Like his other books, difficult to put down.

Sadly, the plot is overly complicated. Marshall Smith wastes a great premise (I world in which you can pay to dump your dreams and memories into someone else’s head) by mashing it up with a completely unrelated plot line about aliens and men in grey suits. Plot offshoots are numerous, and it just feels bloated and hard to follow
Feb 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This has very strong Philip K Dick overtones. A great read and a typical Marshall-Smith novel written in the first person by the grumpy but funny old-skool crim. Not bad but seems to be a bit scattered and rushed at the end.

It's not what you've done that counts—it's what you remember....

If you could sell your conscience, could you get away with murder?

Hap Thompson works the gray area between truth and lies. He works for REMtemp, taking on other people's memories. It's illegal, but usually h
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ci ho messo una vita a finirlo perch� � talmente denso che mi rigirava nell'anima con tutti i suoi quesiti..... Certamente, un argomento fuori dal comune, che tratta meravigliosamente il "concetto" dei sogni, e dei ricordi, sottolineando la loro importanza. Paghereste, perch� qualcuno al vostro posto sognasse i vostri sogni? eppure, loro ci parlano, continuando a ignorarli, � come ignorare una spina che vaga nella carne.... E paghereste, per affidare i vostri ricordi a un volontario, per essere ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that I can't decide exactly how I feel. I've had a preview copy sitting on my shelves forever and I've never heard it mentioned elsewhere so I think it didn't achieve literary heights, but there are some definite good points to this book. I think maybe the author tried to too hard to shove too many good ideas into one title. I couldn't quite figure out the metaphors that he was trying to add, but I do appreciate the humanity and tone that he set. I found myself enamor ...more
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Michael Marshall (Smith) is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. His first novel, ONLY FORWARD, won the August Derleth and Philip K. Dick awards. SPARES and ONE OF US were optioned for film by DreamWorks and Warner Brothers, and the Straw Men trilogy - THE STRAW MEN, THE LONELY DEAD and BLOOD OF ANGELS - were international bestsellers. His most recent novels are THE INTRUDERS, BAD THINGS and K ...more
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“There are times when life seems like a struggle where the only reward you get for hanging on is the chance to struggle some more.” 6 likes
“If people knew that I really am what I say I am,' he said, 'you know they'd never forgive me.'
'Don't worry,' I said, 'Your lack of a secret is safe with us.”
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