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Golden State

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  3,607 ratings  ·  703 reviews
Golden State by Ben Winters is an ambitious and frighteningly timely novel set in a world where everything is recorded and no one can be trusted. For anyone who loved The Handmaid's Tale, The Power and Station Eleven.

Welcome to Golden State, where the biggest crime you can commit is to lie.

This is the last remaining safe haven after the erosion of truth changed the world a
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 24th 2019 by Century (first published January 22nd 2019)
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3.52  · 
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 ·  3,607 ratings  ·  703 reviews

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Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What if the truth was built on lies?
Absolutely loved this book and I do love this writer who writes dark and thought provoking dystopian novels. 4.6 so five stars. I read some of the criticism on details of the storyline, but h*ll, loved it from start to finish. Weird and out of this world. Could this happen? As usual more to follow but I do recommend this out of the box book.

Welcome to Golden State, where the worst crime you can commit is to lie, in a world where everything is recorded and no o
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
This book gave me 1984 and The Giver vibes with its dystopian world.

A world where truth is important and lying can get you exiled.

An interesting premise but a shorter format would have worked better for me.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben H. Winters writes a thrilling dystopian novel with a central mystery that puts the protagonist on a challenging road that questions everything he has ever believed in. Golden State is a future version of California, a state where truth and objectivity is everything and to veer from this central tenet risks jail and exile. There is no past, no history, no documents, only what is. The concept of fiction no longer exists, and a novel is now understood to be a true history or truth, an interesti ...more
Can you handle the truth? I am asking you, Tom Cruise.

This dystopian-speculative-noir beauty will draw you in, and bring to mind classics of its ilk: 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. This book is set in an unknown time, in the state formerly known as California. Something of great import has happened to cause the government to protect its citizens by enforcing a society based on TRUTH, or, as they call it, "Objectively So".

Sounds okay, but it isn't. It's a militaristic, big-brother-esque world in which
The BOTM picks are up!! This is not a drill.

They are up and I chose this one. This speculative fiction definitely sounds up my alley. I have been craving stories like this lately.
Andrew Smith
It’s not clear when it happened or what happened, but it was BIG. Now nobody talks about it, in fact everything before has been erased: there are no documents, there is no known history. This new world, in the same place as the old world, has rules that preclude lots of things and knowledge of the past is one of them. But the biggest sin is to lie, to lie about anything. To disobey this edict can result in serious jail time.

The place is called the Golden State and it’s what used to be Californi
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2019
Sometimes a book sits with you to the point that you can’t stop thinking about it. Golden State won’t be for everyone, but it’s one of those books that leave the reader thinking. I like books that question reality and what reality means. In today’s world that’s more important than ever. With news being flung around at a frantic pace without fact-checking, we are susceptible to misinformation. This book imagines what it would be like if lying were against the law. Ben Winters crafts an intriguing ...more
Lark Benobi
Let it be known that I loved this novel. It kept making me happier and happier. Instead of the cranky nihilism I've come to expect from dystopian novels, this novel instead evolves into a lovely fatalism. I loved that love wins, if in an extreme sort of way.

But what a pretzel of a book! At first it fooled me into thinking it was some kind of futuristic police procedural, and then a thriller, and then a story of conspiracy about the evil state…and then? Well. The novel just transforms itself int
Well, this book was a rollercoaster ride in terms of what rating I thought I would give it. It started out a solid 4 stars, with a decent possibility of a 5 as I went along. We then came to one of the most annoying tropes that could have possibly been picked, and it went down to 3 stars. Then something happened that I found clever and thought I may have to reread the book to see if I missed something and it went back to a 4. The book then tried to subvert expectations, undid the fairly clever th ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really good! I’d never heard of this author before but was granted an ARC of this book from Netgalley. It is a commentary on truth- is there such a thing as absolute truth? Can it be determined through a society where everything is documented and recorded? Does everyone live by the same rules or are some exempt? How fear of the unknown can imprison us. Excellent read!
Blake Crouch
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Golden State is a prescient, devastating commentary on humanity's disintegrating attachment to reality and truth, expertly told through the prism of a police-procedural, dystopian nightmare. Winters has written a 1984 for the 21st century. Not just a thrilling book, but an important one.
Liz Barnsley
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m the BIGGEST fan of The Last Policeman trilogy so to say I was excited to read “Golden State” would be a serious understatement.
It didn’t disappoint- this is a hugely relevant speculative tale, but also a massively entertaining piece of fiction that had me banging through it in record time…
Laz is brilliant, so engaging, living in the shadow of his legendary brother, one of the few people tasked with keeping the record quite literally straight as he senses lies in the air around him.
The world
I'm always a BIG fan of science fiction that girds its loins in the heaviest armor and strides boldly into the darkest, most complicated territories. The more ambitious the novel, the more props I am absolutely forced to give it. :) Of course, it has to also blow me away, but the core courage and not just good writing has to shine through for me to WOOOOOOOO!!!! ;)

It's easy enough to say this is a panopticon where every last bit of our modern lives in this future Utopian California resembles 198
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This started out well enough but turned into a goddamn mess by the end.

Mr Laszlo Ratesic is a Speculator tasked with searching out liars. It's something more than just an instinct, he can feel the sickening nature equivocations, half truths, avoidances, and outright fabrications all around him. When a man falls to his death from the roof of a house, there seems like there may be more to the story than meets the eye, and with his fresh faced new parter in tow, he is drawn into the kind of conspi
This was a strange book that progressively got more strange as I got closer to the end. This is a dystopian novel about a futuristic California where there are police who detect lies, and lying causes you to go to prison (or even worse, face execution.) I’m not a huge fan of dystopians but this one sounded interesting, and it is very similar to Fahrenheit 451 as the description claims.

I was really invested in the beginning of this story, it’s very thought provoking and it has a lot to say about
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars

Another great read by science fiction novelist Ben H. Winters. This had all the elements of a dystopian novel, fear and hope under new systems of belief and justice and the establishment of a new normal. With hints of 1984 and a touch of supernatural, main protagonist Lazlo Ratesic can sniff out a lie in a noisy and crowded café, and lies are just not on in the Golden State.

As far as mystery’s go, this one had me guessing all the way with its current story arc and the flashbacks to Lazlo
"They are librarians, and they do not fuck around." This is one of my favorite lines in this novel. I'll leave out the context so I don't spoil it for you, but I will say that everyone's permanent record is taken very seriously in this tale.

I liked this novel very much. It had enough twists and turns to keep my interest. Toward the end, it was a real page turner. It was a thoughtful dystopian tale with lots of layers. In reality, all of us buy into the world order we are sold and anyone going ro
Emily B
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t not enjoy this book very much at all which was disappointing.

It didn’t make enough sense and not enough was explained. It was hard to follow at times. I’m still not sure how it all connects and even why some characters were present and what exactly they added to the plot.
It all felt like a bit of a mess
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5, rounded up.

I'm not quite sure why I didn't cotton to this more than I did - it should have been right up my alley, but I was left more or less ambivalent. It took me an absurdly long time to get into it (three days to get through the first 70 pages), but then it picked up, and I found myself reading it quickly, but more just to get done with it than with any real enthusiasm. It's kind of a strange amalgamation of J G Ballard/Philip K. Dick rewriting the noir detective fiction of Cain/Hamme
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. As I reading this my mind kept thinking - what rating will I give it! A solid 4 stars? A bit higher? Lower? Because as I was reading it my opinion kept bouncing around. I loved it. I hated it. It made me mad. It confused me, and then it sort of all made sense.

I am long time fan of the classic Twilight Zone series and I really felt like all this needed was a Rod Serling intro and it could sit nicely with some of the mind bending favorites of the series.

Golden State is Golden because it is t
Bridget Jack Jeffries
I can’t even with the terribleness that was this book. This is what really bad 1984 / Fahrenheit 451 fan fiction looks like. This book was a hot mess, the Lindsay Lohan of sci-fi books.

The Golden State is about a dystopian society, established somewhere in California, centered around belief in the Objectively So. This society is dependent on members of the Speculative Service, a police-like force whose members have a sixth sense for detecting lies. That they actually have this power is demonstr
Lisa Wolf
Golden State is a weird mind-f*ck of a novel, and that's what makes it so wonderful. In a society where adherence to the Objectively So is the primary goal, the crime of telling a lie can lead to lengthy imprisonment or even exile, a fate assumed to be equivalent to death. Law enforcement agents like Lazlo can feel when a lie has been told, and their ability to sense anomalies leads them in pursuit of those who attempt to subvert the State with their untruths. People greet each other on the stre ...more
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Liberty Hardy

The future is no place for liars in this Orwellian thriller about surveillance and secrets. So when I got my hands on Golden State I was thrilled. A wildly imaginative tale of a future California where citizens are subject to constant scrutiny, and lying is the most serious offense a person can commit? Yikes—and count me in.

Laszlo Ratesic is a skilled member of the Speculative Service, a special branch of the Golden State government that employs a select few who can
Cindy Burnett
Golden State takes place in a futuristic society that values truth above all else. Both the title of the book and the locale bear the name Golden State, a nation that occupies portions of present-day California. Golden State is a closed place created when the spreading of lies became so widespread that the former society could no longer exist. In this new world, truth is valued above all else to the point that citizens are under constant surveillance, much of their lives are recorded, and those ...more
David Yoon
It's just such a delicious writerly challenge. You envision some future world - a seemingly benign surveillance state where everything is on video, where everyone records the facts of their days and lives entirely by truth. Where lies are punishable by law and enforced by Speculators that can sense lies in the very air. Where even fiction is banned and TV shows are just curated recordings of actual surveilled events. Now, how does one get away with murder in this world?

And there is this joyful s
Roman Clodia
There are some thought-provoking ideas on display here as Winters creates a world that is based on a dystopian California where to lie is outlawed and where the whole state apparatus is geared to creating, demonstrating and validating a single and allegedly provable and objective truth and reality. Fiction no longer exists and the term 'novel' has been re-engineered to mean truthful story or history.

The problem is, I immediately started questioning a) how this could have come about, b) how huma
The Golden State is a futuristic dystopian California where truth is all important and those who lie are jailed. Everyone is constantly under constant video surveillance and must keep a Day Book recording all their daily actions and conversations. People greet each other by reeling off facts (such as the square of three is nine) and there is no fiction only 'novels' stating known truths. Laszlo Ratesic is a human lie detector, employed by the Speculative Services to enforce the law as he can som ...more
Jessica Sullivan
This thought-provoking dystopian thriller imagines a world in which lying is the ultimate crime.

Laszlo Ratesic works as a Speculator, a law enforcement official whose purpose is to identify liars and bring them to justice. The worst punishment of all is being exiled from this society they call the Golden State and into the unknown world beyond.

When Laszlo and his new partner are assigned to investigate an ostensibly open-and-shut case of a construction worker falling to his death, they become en
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine taking telling the truth so seriously that lying at personal, professional and governmental levels is policed by special Investigators, and being caught lying is punishable by prison, and for really serious offenses, by exile.
That’s the situation at this story’s open. Investigator Lazlo Ratesic is given a new Investigator to mentor and is immediately off to the scene of an accidental death of a roofing contractor. Lazlo is a big bear of a man still grieving over his brother’s death and h
Katie Long
This was a great idea, especially since these days we spend a lot of time trying to ferret out the truth when we are given only self-serving fiction, but the execution fell a bit short for me. The pacing and plotting could certainly have used some tightening up, especially in the last half, but not bad overall.
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Book of The Month: Golden State 7 48 Mar 22, 2019 08:54PM  

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“They are Librarians, and they do not fuck around.” 3 likes
“This is how it ends: you just stop.” 2 likes
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