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The Outside

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Super-intelligent AI Gods rule the galaxy. Their algorithms determine the rewards you reap before and after death. But the Gods give and the Gods take away. And Yasira has never been good at Gods...

Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive on board The Pride of Jai that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality
Kindle Edition, 406 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Angry Robot
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  253 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
This is the 3rd book recently that I have read or reading that has characters with disabilities and I think that’s bloody brilliant!

This book was crazy as hell and I loved it! I mean an autistic scientist WOMAN! <-- Hell yes! Freaking robot angels and computer Gods! <-- Dude, that's some crazy stuff right there.

Praise to the Gods of the galaxy, who brought us out of Old Earth.
Praise to the Gods of the warp drive, who push at the edges of space.
Praise to the Gods of the portal, who op
You know those times when you're super anxious about new (to you) authors you request on Netgalley just by the looks of the cover?

Yeah, well, I think I've just found my second squeeworthy book for the year and I'm going to say just this one thing:

If there's any justice in the world, this book is going to get nominated and rise to the very top of the hopefuls for 2020's Hugo Awards for best novel.

Wow, right? Like, WHY?

It tickled ALL my hot buttons. I'm a superfan of good science, Hard-SF beautifu
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was wonderful! I don't have anything particularly intelligent to say about this book otherwise as I'm still in the "I love it!" phase. I loved main character Yasira Shien, with her love of science, her difficulties relating to others because of her sensitivities (autism-related), and how that was handled through the story, her love of Tiv, her partner, and how Tiv understood what Yasira needed to function in a demanding environment. And just how great Tiv is, in general.
And the Lovecra
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Space opera with a Lovecraftian edge and a neuro-diverse cast.

Humanity has spread to the stars thanks to the Gods, entities far-evolved from human-created quantum super computers. Scientist Yasira Shien leads an effort about a space station orbiting the planet of Jai to create something special with only the technology that the Gods allow humans. But soon after Yasira's experimental reactor comes online a terrible disaster destroys the station, bringing Yasira the direct attention of an Angel of
Chris Berko
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything I love about fiction is found in here. You can tell who the author's influences are, no shocker there look at the front cover and read the back cover, but this story is totally its own thing and remains fresh and unique throughout. If you plan on reading this and I recommend you do, try not to do too much research into what it is about and go in with as little knowledge as possible. All will be explained and it is a seriously kick ass ride.
3.5 stars

A mind bender, but not so much so that I couldn't follow what was going on. There were some great ideas, such as the Gods and minion angels being ascended from quantum computers that achieved sentience and essentially took over shepherding humanity in a way that suits their interests, most notably by limiting human advances in science and technology.

The writing was quite good, and the characters had a lot of potential. I'm not sure I would have necessarily picked up that the main charac
Bogi Takács
I was asked to blurb this book, and this is what I wrote:

"THE OUTSIDE combines science and magic into a terrifyingly coherent whole. Yasira’s quest reaches beyond the limits of human minds, and Hoffmann takes us all the way there, with paradoxical precision. THE OUTSIDE tackles themes of neuroatypicality, teacher-student relationships and artificial intelligence with subtlety and grace, expanding the boundaries of cosmic horror. THE OUTSIDE is a powerful, striking debut, and Ada Hoffmann is an a
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and half stars

(sorry for my English)

I agree with the comments from another Goodreads users: this is a half science fiction/half cosmic horror novel

Mrs. Hoffmann develops an interesting and very promising story. “Outside” has good ideas and most are well developed. It occurs to me that the author has not the writing skills that Peter Watts (my previous reading) or has the H. P. Lovecraft's (father of the horror cosmic subgenre) ability to captivate and transmit feelings, but maybe she will
Hélène Louise
I was very excited by the premises of this book ; its beginning (aside from one point, see below) was really good. In fact I read with pleasure most of the book before losing patience and interest.
Why, it's rather difficult to say, probably because the story in itself didn't manage to be good enough to make up for the points which annoyed me...

The story is original for its setting which was the reason why I read eagerly for a while. The idea of overpowering IA which have became gods was great an
Sara Norja
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclosure: I received an ebook ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

THE OUTSIDE is a space opera with Lovecraftian influence, dealing with mechanical Gods and angels, the very nature of reality, and complex psychological and moral dilemmas. It also features a wonderful queer couple.

I fell in love with this weird, twisty book from the very start. Such a complex journey. I especially enjoyed how the main character Yasira's personal arc goes in directions that are unusual for a p
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-s, sci-five, ebooks

First off, can I just say how impressed I was to receive a debut novel featuring an autistic central character written by an autistic writer? So often we get characters who aren’t neurotypical written by those who are and it’s hard to know how well it actually represents them.

That aside, this was an intense read. The technology and world building were mind blowing. It was a little hard to wrap my head around at first (a glossary or index would have been great), but the more I read it the
+e-ARC gently provided by Netgalley and publishers in exchange for an honest review+

3.5 the truth is not always there stars

Yasira Shien is a scientist working in a new human tech in a spacial station in 2791 when all goes terrible wrong. Now the gods and angels give her another assignment.

It is not a bad book, but in my case it made me go uphill to finish reading it. It is probably because my neurons were not on par with the pseudoscience that appears here, but in large part it was because I cou
Jul 25, 2018 marked it as anti-library  ·  review of another edition
This is a 'Lovecraftian sci-fi with cyborg angels (and supercomputer Gods, and an #ownvoices autistic protag)'* and I can't waaaaaaaait

Hester J. Rook
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a good book! Full of gays and space and tech gods. Full of interesting ideas and beautifully written.
Annemieke / A Dance with Books
Thank you to Angry Robot and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion about the book in any way.

As soon as I saw in the netgalley synopsis that the main character was autistic I didn’t know how quickly to hit the request button. I was super excited to read it, and clearly I enjoyed it with my rating of 4 stars, but it also was very different from my expectations. It was a lot harder to get a grasp on. Confusing.

Beyond the autistic mc I
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Outside is a novel with brilliant protagonist who lead quite cool life, having good girfliend and leading a very important project. But suddenly something goes wrong, the project goes BUM and Yashira finds herself responsible for death of over a hundred people and kidnapped on foreign ship by the Gods. And who are Gods if not supercomputers created by humans? They tell Yashira that the real responsibility or a failure is on her mentor Dr Tallir who is heretic and is planning to kill a lot mo ...more
La La
The autism representation was just too off the tracks for me in this one. You can't teach people with autism to identify social constructs they don't see in the first place, and to be embarrassed about breaking them... like being too blunt (truthful). It's like saying you can teach a colorblind person to see colors they can't physically see because being able to sort laundry is a great skill to have. Trying to make those with autism more socially "acceptable" isn't for them, it's for you. What w ...more
S.J. Higbee
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This original, dystopian science fiction adventure features brilliant Yasira Shien, who happens to be on the autistic spectrum and gay. I liked the main protagonist, whose autism was convincingly depicted throughout, especially when she was in difficult situations – which happened a lot, especially when everything went to hell in a handcart on The Pride of Jai. Her emotions around Tiv, her lover, are clearly strong but curiously limited in the manner in which she thinks of her and describes her ...more
Emma Osborne
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclosure: I was given an ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review.

OK, so I absolutely fucking loved this book. Yasira is a brilliant protagonist (in so many senses of the word) and her relationships - with her ex-mentor, with her partner, with the Gods and Angels who rule the galaxy - are fascinating and beautifully drawn.

The world is beautifully developed. I loved the concept of the Gods - supercomputers, who run on human souls acquired after death - and their augmented ex-human (a
Isaac R. Fellman
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding worldbuilding, an original setting which combines theology with cosmology, and a special kind of authorial trust in the characters that is difficult to explain but gives the story a unique emotional reach. I received an ARC for this, and I fully expect it to be the next major space opera when it’s out.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Everyone seems to be making this huge deal about the main character being an autistic queer female, and that's great and all, but the overall story didn't do much for me. Honestly the main character got on my nerves with all her introspection. Overall it fluctuated between 2 and 3 stars for me.

The story was decent, my favorite parts were of the Gods and Archangels, especially Enga. I'd probably read the sequel just to read more from their point of view.

It started out strong and interesting, and
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I'd seen this book mentioned in a few places on Twitter, so I was very glad to see it pop up on Netgalley and then get approved for it - the premise alone was enough to intrigue me and I wondered whether it was going to live up to my expectations. In the end, it was a pretty good fit for me, though it didn't manage to snag a 5-star rating for reasons I'll explain below.

The basic premise of The Outside is that it's set in a universe where the use of computers has been strictly controlled by a num
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting concept but I felt like the execution was a bit complicated yet at the same time it was the right course? I'm a bit confused on what to feel about this book since there were many things introduced with minimal explanation to half of them. Nevertheless, it felt mind opening so I enjoyed it most of the time when I wasn't confused or tired from summer courses.

What I found the most interesting in this book is the world setting. It's the first I've ever read and I really l
I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

More queer autistic scientist women, please!

The Outside by Ada Hoffmann is a complicated novel that blends autism, heretics, "madness" and understanding in a world where humans are governed by AI Gods. Since the whole book is about going past what your mind is capable of understanding, it's not always easy to follow what's happening.

I loved the characters, and I loved Yashira, Elu and Egna especially. It was interesting to root
Whew, this is some mind-bendy super interesting science fiction! I’ve only read a little Iain M. Banks, but this kind of high concept SF with BIG AIs playing a major role in the story - Banks’s Player of Games kept coming back to me as I read The Outside (in a cool way, not a derivative way).

I really enjoyed the future setting here: the singularity has happened in the past, and now there are basically AI Gods. Humans are expected to worship/obey them, tech is restricted, there are varying levels
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Clever, thoughtful space SF.
Jess Crafts
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autistic-rep
This is an adult scifi all about the laws of physics, what monsters lurk just outside the limits of human perception and what happens if those laws of time and space aren't real. Or alternately, you could say it's all about AI that's become so advanced they claim themselves as gods and limit the technology humans are allowed to use by modifying certain humans to act as avenging angels. In space. It's both. And it was such an amazing and mind-bending ride (FYI, I had VERY weird dreams after readi ...more
Sunyi Dean
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fantasy
I received an ARC of this Angry Robot book via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. My opinions are my own :-)

Autistic writers are severely underrepresented in SFF, despite the fact that we make up a huge proportion of the fanbase. One could make a case for autistic people being absolutely foundational in SFF--we are often the super-fans, in this genre. And yet, as far as I am aware, no autistic SFF writers are published by the Big 5. (I would absolutely love to be corrected
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclosure: I received an ebook ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

It was a riveting, dazzling, glorious novel; whenever I thought I knew what was going to happen next, the plot took an unexpected turn; when I thought that all lies have been uncovered, Hoffmann peeled off another complex layer of interpretation and not-quite-truth. The book combined space opera with Lovecraftiana in a way I haven't seen done in fiction before. And last but not least - I still can't say who was
Tsana Dolichva
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Outside by Ada Hoffmann is the author's debut novel. It is a far-future science fiction story with some really interesting world-building details and an autistic protagonist. I enjoyed it a lot.

Really, the most interesting part of this story was the world-building and everything that went with it. From the very beginning, we see that humanity has spread through the galaxy, but that their level of technological advancement isn't necessarily what we might normally expect. As we learn fairly ea
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