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The Resisters

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  580 ratings  ·  115 reviews
An audacious marvel of a novel about baseball and a future America, from the always inventive and exciting author of The Love Wife and Who's Irish

The time: a not-so-distant future. The place: AutoAmerica. The land: half under water. The Internetthe new face of governmentis "Aunt Nettie": a mix of artificial intelligence, surveillance technology, and pesky maxims. The
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Knopf
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  580 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, edelweiss
The Resisters takes place in a world where most jobs have been eliminated due to automation, the world is flooded thanks to climate change, and America is run by a deranged AI people refer to as Aunt Nettie. We follow the lives of one Surplus family, through the eyes of the husband and father, Grant. (Surplus are those people that were deemed unretrainable when Automation took over, and therefore don't work anymore, but are expected to consume via their Living Points, alotted to them via Aunt ...more
Mar 02, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying!"
"There's no crying in baseball!"

The NY Times said this was a '1984' for our times.
'Dont dare call this fantasy or science fiction. This is a world all too terrifying, dangerous and real.'

I read dystopian books. This just didn't work. The telling of the story was not good plus there was no story to tell.
What am i missing?
Why is the story of Gwen told through the eyes of her father and not Gwen? I found that clunky and awkward.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Baseball isnt my thing, to watch, but I read a lot of novels and non-fiction where baseball and its players are featured: Empty seats by Wanda Adams Fischer, See No Color by Shannon Gibney, Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes, and Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin had some baseball, too and the fantasy novel Summerland by Michael Chabon. (It seems improbable to me that these two are the only speculative fiction with baseball as a central ...more
Cia Mcalarney
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To say this book is amazing sells it short. The dystopian vision of the future here, is all too plausible -- centered on climate change, the rise of AI and class segregation. Yet the plot, centered on a family of resisters, is hopeful and compelling.

Couldn't put it down. Literally woke up in the middle of the night to finish the last few pages because I couldn't get it out of my mind.

Resistance, family, hope and, oh yes, baseball!
Wendy Cosin
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
I read half of The Resisters before putting it down. It is the USA in the near future when everything you imagine could be bad about the Internet, AI, climate change and race/class divides is happening. There wasn't anything particularly surprising about the Internet//AI part of this vision of the future, but the way people lived in a world divided between land and water was interesting, as was the creation of a "Surplus" class of people who receive a minimum stipend to live, but are not ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: advance-read
Gwen is a girl that has an amazing pitching arm since birth. Set in a world controlled by artificial intelligence and climate, society is divided into the haves and have-nots. Many of those who have been placed in the lower class by the artificial intelligent computer that controls their lives find small ways to circumvent the rules. This was a free review copy obtained via
Mar 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
Its as if the author prepared to write this book by Googling a bunch of baseball jargon and then regurgitating every term they learned. Then they took a bunch of emerging technologies and tried to shoehorn them into baseball games, smashing their names together to make utterly ridiculous and twee names like PermaDerm, HowdIDo, HowdHeDo, DoItAgainSam, and GreetingGram, and expecting it to somehow not come off as a complete farce. Then slapping some class inequality on top to make it woke, ...more
Geonn Cannon
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it
This book could have been so good. I was hoping for "A League of Their Own, but make it postapocalypse." I... sort of got it? This is a case of a book being told from the wrong POV. It should have been Gwen's story. It could even have been Eleanor's. It's even dedicated to "the Eleanors I've known." So why is it narrated by the father...? It puts a level of disconnected between the majority of the emotional beats. It gets to the point where the father is just passively spying/reading long
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me about 50-60 pages to really get into this novel, but then I couldnt get enough. The story is creative and it touches on many relevant political/societal/cultural themes at times more subtly than others. Overall, Im glad I picked this one up. ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Baseball is theater. You have to plan your moments.

Coach makes the above observation when helping Gwen with her in-game pitching strategy, but his words ring true in a broader context for this delightfully bizarre take on Dystopia.

Dystopian is far from my favorite genre, but baseball fiction is one of my most favorite genres, so I decided to give this one a shot. Gish Jens lovely New York Times interview also helped me decide to dive in on this one. And Im so glad I did.

While this book had many
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
"The Resisters is an enjoyable read - smart, and even funny in places. I was lucky enough to be able to catch a Q&A with Gish Jen at the Central Library in Downtown LA this week; her effervescent personality shines through in a novel that, thankfully, isnt really about baseball much at all. Its about a parents love for a child, and the need to protect them as they head out into the world. It's also about humanity and contains a message that, even if our world is consumed or drastically ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Technology has invaded every aspect of everyones lives. Peoples homes are equipped with semi-required microphones, and all citizens are chipped like animals. The Resisters is the story of a female Satchel Paige who just wants to play ball in a society oppressed by technology and capitalism.

The summary of the plot had me intrigued. I love science fiction, and I love baseball. Plus, I would get to support an Asian American author by purchasing this book! Unfortunately, none of those qualities
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Rating 3.5

Thoughts: Overall the idea was really interesting, but the format wasn't really up my alley. I could have used more details as it felt a bit rushed on the backstory and characters so it was really hard to have any real connections.
Molly Riportella
Very good, but unable to finish due to required reading- will go back to.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it

All I knew going into this book was a) I like Gish Jen, and b) that is a badass cover and title. So I almost dont want to say anything else about it so you too can be surprised about where it starts, and where it ends up. Here are some tidbits: a near-future dystopia, race and class struggles, a father watching his daughter grow up . . . and baseball. (I am not a person particularly interested in sports, but Jen makes the baseball pretty compelling.) It's
Amber Stewart
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
A great dystopian novel. It is thought-provoking and hard to set down!
Alan Teder
Pitch meets 1984
Review of the Knopf hardcover edition (Feb. 2020)

The Resisters takes place in a post-climate change America where portions of the old continent are now underwater or partial boglands which are designated as the living spaces for the so-called Surplus peoples. The higher ground is controlled by the so-called Netted peoples. The country is known as AutoAmerica and is ruled by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) nicknamed Aunt Nettie. It is a surveillance state world monitored and
Bruin Mccon
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Its impossible to describe The Resisters, a speculative fiction book focused on baseball as...something.

TR is about a lot of things at once: conspicuous consumption, climate change, AI, income inequality, automation eliminating jobs, social media, and probably a dozen other topics. Its about everything. Its also about nothing, or as its referred to in English, baseball. Thats right, its about a heinously boring sport that I nearly detest. So my review is totally biased in that respect.

This book
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, read-in-2019
Thanks to the publisher for a free copy to review!

In the not too distant future, the country has been taken over by Aunt Nettie (the Autonet), dividing the population into the producing Netted and the consuming Surplus. As a Surplus, Gwen is constantly monitored by her smart home, though she avoids the mild sedatives in the food because her family has their own vegetable garden. She also has a former professor for a father and a revolutionary lawyer for a mother to home school her, but that's
George Otte
I saw comparisons of The Resisters with 1984 and even The Handmaid's Tale. Those turn out to be not entirely off base if you can imagine what either one might grow into after being grafted onto The Bad News Bears. In a world ruled by an AI entity called Aunt Nettie, a "Blasian" girl with a golden arm galvanizes her own people, the Surplus, and even a lot of the Netters, the "angelfair" patricians who produce while the Surplus only consume. Resistance on a scale heretofore unseen ensues. On one ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
I really liked the first third of this novel, but found it increasingly frustrating as I read on. To the point that I really only skimmed the last part. I love baseball so the plot hooked me right away. But I couldn't understand the author's purpose in choosing to write in the dad's POV instead of in the daughter's. Because of this, the entire middle part of the book was told as the daughter recollected events from the past. I also think that the author tried to build on too many social issues ...more
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The premise and framework is fun, feels random but almost plausible. It will appeal to baseball fans (kinda), sci-fi fans/futurists (maybe) and anyone who has concerns about a tech-infused dystopia. My main problem was on the narrative viewpoint, which totally broke down for me when the main character heads out of the house and reliance is on the dad eavesdropping and the daughter sending long messages back home....the first technique suggests a creepy dad and the second technique is exactly ...more
Meghan Burke
What a tough book to review. There was so much that was compelling here, and I do think that the author is a terrific writer. That said, there is almost TOO MUCH wit and too many details; I felt lost too often while reading this, including, importantly, during the end. While that could be the result of reading it during pandemic times, I do still think that there are too many trees in the book, for me at least, to fully appreciate the forest.

Should you read it? If the plot summary appeals to
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
About halfway through...

I could only ask myself: Whats the point? If Id been less than 45% I wouldve tanked the book. But I kept on til the predictably treacly, maudlin and smarmy conclusion. The schizophrenia of this book is totally and underwhelmingly disconcerting. Is it a baseball novel? A dystopian odyssey? A coming of age novel? It matters not. I couldnt get involved with the characters or the fates. This work would have benefitted from scalpel editing.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Sometimes I enjoyed this book and sometimes I did not. Part of that had to do with the uneven tone. For the first two-thirds, it felt almost like farce. The characters live in "AutoAmerica," they have evicted all immigrants under a program called "Ship'EmBack" and the underclass is forced to subsist on meals from mall food trucks. It took a turn for the serious in the last third that I wasn't prepared for. However, the ending was very satisfying.

Like another reviewer said, I was puzzled by the
Mar 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Has its ups and downs, but I was crying by the end.
3.5 stars. A really interesting book, definitely worth reading because it has some interesting things to say. Not quite 4 stars because the narrative had pacing issues and the age gap between two of the characters in a relationship squicked me out.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, dystopia
I don't really know how I felt about this one. There's good material in it, but I'm not sure it all works as a whole.

Part of the problem is the setup. She's loaded everything in to her dystopia: a suffocating state, overwhelming surveillance, class divisions, climate change, and racism. Of course, these things interlink, but it's a lot. Gwen comes from a Surplus family, one of the lower class, though her parents are a former professor (now Unretrainable) and her mother is a lawyer fighting the
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I definitely enjoyed this weird book. Slow in spots, it really makes up for it with the last twenty or so pages. Im reeling. ...more
Mar 05, 2020 marked it as abandoned
I didnt like the style of writing. I found it irritating. ...more
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Gish Jen grew up in New York, where she spoke more Yiddish than Chinese. She has been featured in a PBS American Masters program on the American novel. Her distinctions also include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Fulbright fellowship, and a Radcliffe Institute fellowship. She was awarded a Lannan Literary Prize in 1999 and received a Harold and Mildred ...more

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