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(The Bounceback #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  380 ratings  ·  98 reviews
Neuromancer meets Star Trek in Gamechanger, a fantastic new book from award-winning author L. X. Beckett.

First there was the Setback. Then came the Clawback. Now humanity thrives.

Rubi Whiting is a member of the Bounceback Generation. The first to be raised free of the troubles of the late twenty-first century. Now she works as a public defender to help troubled individuals
Hardcover, 567 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Tor Books
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wishforagiraffe No on-screen sex, plenty of language, some violence.

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Suddenly Life
Nov 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
After the first few pages (following the long prologue) I imagined the author to be a boomer (a person in his late 40s to early 60s) trying to write a book that would appeal to millenials. The more I kept reading, excruciatingly I might add, the more that image became cemented in my mind. It's as if the author doesn't understand this culture and has written a completely detached and deeply flawed analysis of it.

First of all, a writer that adds sound effects (boom, bang, crunch, screeeeeeeech [I
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I knew, when I first heard about this book last year, that it would probably tick a lot of my boxes. What I didn't expect was just HOW MANY that would end up being.

Gamechanger is a fairly near-future story, but one that I think could have only been written in the post-2016 US election world. It's a story that sharpens the impact of our current trajectory, politically, economically, ecologically, but one that ultimately feels believable.

Social media becomes omnipresent, but as an almost too sim
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
2.5 stars rounded up?

This is not the worst book I’ve read this year- but I have to say, it’s probably the most unsatisfying.

We’re given all these awesome ideas- immediate and public social justice, a world that seems relatively free of judgement concerning race and gender, cool tech, small jobs and volunteer work on the fly, virtual assistant AI, gaming.. the list goes on.

I mean really- the world building in Gamechanger is almost as impressive as a personal favorite of mine: Too Like the Lightni
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gamechanger at its heart is a mystery of one entity that has cracked the code and become a thorn in the side of society’s new regs. The novel is an exploration of the relative near-future. It is scary, exciting, and a look through your fingers as you cover your eyes.

The worldbuilding is tremendous. Immersive and mindbending, but somehow totally realistic. To be honest though, it took me awhile to read this one. It was hard at times to get back into the future speak. It’s not a world that is easy
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Let's start with the good stuff: I really do like that authors are trying to imagine new ways we might live, ways to be human without destroying the planet or ourselves. And this is one such book.

Okay, that said, let's move on to what didn't work, which is: the entire rest of the novel!

So, first, while I do love to see a good "how we can live differently" book, ideally the answer wouldn't be "by creating a panopticon dystopia." Now, I don't know for sure that Beckett knew they were creating one,
Oct 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
One of those books I give up on after a while.

I liked -bits- of it, but... Well, usually I'm 'ok' with character names and whatnot, but this one just kept throwing names at me and introducing people (or non-people) once and then just assuming I knew immediately who was who and which was which. It got frustrating quickly and since the story was interesting but didn't fully grab and drag me along by the collar, I let this one go.
To go with the style in the book: #shrugemoji?
Mike Stolfi
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I stopped about a third through, no really compelling characters & the kind of tech fetishism that annoys me when reading copies of Wired.
Jon Tyler
Oct 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-star
2 stars, a bit of a noble failure

Noble failure is my way of saying that this book has many admirable qualities, one that I still kind of want to like even though it failed to win me over. I guess I'll start by saying what I liked because I do think this is a book worth checking out and others might enjoy it more than I did. The worldbuilding is wide-reaching and pretty good at projecting to what a near future world dominated by social media might look like. I also really like this book's optimis
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book takes you on a wild emotional ride while challenging your views on what humanity actually is.
Nov 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Oof. Where to start.

I really wanted to like this book. It purported itself as a post climate crisis "bounceback" society trying to fix itself. Instead, I got nearly 600 pages of Mary Sue Extraordinaire Rubi Whiting, the lawyer/pro gamer/world renowned climate activist/street fighter/friend of world leaders/AI expert/anything else she needs to be tromping through multiple realms of meatspace and the internet...I mean "Sensorium." Gamechanger suffers from the classic high school writing assignmen
Paula Lyle
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019, dnf
Made it through chapter 23, but gave up. There are just too many words that don't really add to the story. #, @, TM, all avatars from the "future" (not really sure that's true), but just clutter in the story. Too much flash, not enough actual. ...more
Peter Tillman
I had marked this one as "probably won't read," based on a LOT of neggies here. But I just came across Liz Bourke's review. She liked it, and has been a pretty reliable guide for me in the past:
"Beckett has written a science fiction novel that’s immensely hopeful about human potential while also realistic about human flaws—and they have, as well, avoided portraying their future as utopian. The innovative features of society are treated as quotidian, with m
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For whatever reason I’d decided this would be a breezy sci-fi romp that I could fly through in a few days despite being a solid NOV at 567 pages, but I should have heeded the Neal Stephenson comparison in the blurbs and realized I was in for a book dense with world building, tech details, and a whole lot of plot. None of which is a criticism! I thoroughly loved this book, it’s just definitely got the most complex world building I’ve read in a sci-fi novel in a minute, and I spent a lot of time d ...more
Sam Benson
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer
I love me some future earth world-building! And lots of queerness. So obviously I’m the right demographic here... plus I do enjoy authors who can imagine a future that manages to skirt both dystopian atmosphere and...utopian vibes (somehow?). That feels really true to my own experience of the world. It is so awful and shitty and at the same time full of hope of you know where to look for it. The book definitely takes on way more than is advisable in one story (it seriously almost jumps the shark ...more
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for a review.

This book really is a gamechanger. It redefines cyberpunk and offers a sustainable alternative to the grim, dark, corporate-owned settings while it never sugarcoats its failings. A clever, complex story set in a fast-paced yet humane world, it was a delight to read.
Doctor Science
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very solid hope/solarpunk set in 2101. It's about: generational change from the Setback generations (that's us), who destroyed the world, to the Clawback, and now to the Bounceback generation, people born c. 2070+ who are still working on saving the world, but want to have *fun* doing it.

It reminds me of Snow Crash and of Stand on Zanzibar, in presenting a near-future that is very much an extension of the current world -- which may mean it will date pretty badly. But it's got social media and so
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to enjoy this book, but in the end it just didn't grab me. The setting had all the right ingredients: a post #climatefail future where mankind is still squabbling and unable to pool their resources enough to #bounceback - our main character, Rubi, is having trouble getting face to face with a legal client. The reason might be an emerging AI, or is it?
Climate fiction, a setting where humans seem to have merged their "surface" (real world) and "VR/sensory" (online) worlds, the race
V. West
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love the world L.X. Beckett has created! Hope for the future of humanity through the tech that is currently thought to be destroying society. Thumbs up for this take!
This was a bit too dense with world-building and jargon for me to process atm. It does depict a world without policw which is a bonus.
Sara Norja
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book from the author.

What a fascinating world L. X. Beckett has built here! I loved that the narrative focused on a future where huge steps have been taken towards a more sustainable way of life, but it was in no way a utopia. I wouldn't want to live in the future where there's so little real food and half one's life is spent in the Sensorium, but it was great to read about.

I'm not really into gaming myself, so often narratives that centre games and VR don't grab me. B
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Good dog damn. This was the most brilliant of mind-fucks of a book. Partly a mind-fuck because it's so clearly rooted in the current landscape (social media, governmental leadership, capitalism as a death cult, even the gig economy, etc) but also a mind-fuck because it's such a tangled web of stories. The plot lines are all like "WHAT IS GOING ON AND HOW DOES THAT WORK AND COME ON ARE YOU KIDDING ME SERIOUSLY" but all beautifully mesh by the end. I love all the characters and the world-building ...more
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book now. I want to live in Sensorium and be best friends with all the characters. I adore every aspect of the worldbuilding, especially the linguistic conventions.
Jeremy Brett
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to acquire an ARC of this wonderful book, and I feel blessed at my fortune at getting to read it before everyone else. :) "Gamechanger" is a wonderfully thoughtful novel, deep with both concern for our future and with optimism that we might overcome the challenges before us and make a more acceptable, equitable society. Beckett draws a series of complex characters who realistically engage with an equally well-constructed post-soft apocalyptic world, that feels so very real and ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Decades after the climate crisis reached a head and killed far too many people, things are finally starting to get better again... thanks to universal rationing and reputation-based economy where those who aren't civic-minded get punished. You may not physically travel much but you can still interact with people all over the world, sometimes as though you are in the same room. Reproduction might be limited, but children are cherished and large families form to support them. But there are still r ...more
A.C. Wise
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the Bounceback generation, humanity is recovering from the environmental and social damage done by prior generations. Everyone is networked, every move and conversation recorded for the sake of transparency, and the currency of the day is social capital – strokes and strikes for good and bad behavior. Instead of single jobs, there is a gig economy, where individuals can sign up as needed to pilot drones, work clean-up crews, provide security, and more. Family units consist of multiple spouses ...more
Jun 08, 2019 marked it as to-read
PW Starred: As this exuberant, exciting near-future yarn keeps reinventing itself, the action gets wilder and the scope wider, until the future of humankind is at stake. Though the Clawback project is beginning to rejuvenate an ecologically ruined Earth, public responsibilities are still unsettled and fluid. Cherub “Rubi” Whiting, a popular star of elaborate multiplayer virtual reality games, is excited to become a lawyer, but her first client, Luciano Pox, turns out to be difficult—and dangerou ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, sci-fi, audiobook
I was at CanCon recently and was at two panels that LX Beckett moderated. They are a delight to listen to, and I knew instantly that I needed their book.

I picked up the audiobook, but a part of me wonders if this book might be better served reading it with eyeballs as opposed to ears. This is not a complaint on the narrator - they did an amazing job, especially with all the hashtags, and internet lingo. But their is a significant amount of world building happening here, taking our current teck
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gamechanger is an absolute treat to read- the thoroughness with which the author answers, "What if the world ends, and we figure out a new way to survive?" is very satisfying. I stayed up all night to finish it, and I cannot wait for the sequel so I can get back into this universe!

The book switches between different character perspectives, and the differences can be jarring- I'd hate to try to listen to this book on audio-book, honestly, as I think it'd be very difficult to follow. However, as t
Morgan McGuire
DNF, I stopped around chapter 4.

The sci-fi world is good, reminiscent of Ready Player One, Elysium, and Judge Dredd rolled into one, and ready for interesting stories. There's a mixture of augmented reality, virtual reality, internet stuff, and near-dystopian setups.

I found the style hard to read for two reasons. First, characters frequently react to situations before the situations are themselves described. For example, there will be a previously undescribed character in a room. It feels like e
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L.X. Beckett is a queer science fiction author and editor who lives in Toronto, Ontario. They are the author of “Freezing Rain, a Chance of Falling” a new novella coming soon to the pages of Fantasy and Science Fiction, as well as the upcoming novel Goldilocks Conditions from Tor Books.

L.X. Beckett used to kick trolls out of a Star Trek chat room for the TV channel now known as SyFy. These days th

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The Bounceback (2 books)
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