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Unity

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Evoking the grittiness of Mad Max and the idealism of Sense8, this absorbing sci-fi debut is a dynamic vision of the fluidity of identity. With Unity, breakout author Elly Bangs has created a prescient, moving, and unforgettable adventure that expands upon human consciousness and its possibilities.

“Imagine Neuromancer and Lilith’s Brood conceived a baby while listening to
...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 13th 2021 by Tachyon Publications
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Average rating 4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  49 ratings  ·  26 reviews


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Charlie Jane Anders
Apr 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Unity by Elly Bangs is both exhilarating and refreshing: a brand new spin on the ideas of personhood and identity that science fiction, and cyberpunk in particular, have been playing with forever. If you've always been fascinated by Star Trek's Trills, or the body-swapping hijinks of Altered Carbon and other brain-upload fantasies, then you're in for a treat here. Unity follows Danae, a young woman who's not what she appears: She's actually just one body in a huge gestalt, a shared consciousness ...more
Reid
Apr 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: apocalyptica, sff, owned
What an absolutely wonderful debut this is! While it shares some of the limitations of other first-time novels, it is mostly clever, original, compelling, and well-structured. I enjoyed it very much.

Danae is a person with a secret: she figured out many years ago how to thoroughly unify with others, leaving no barriers between them. As you might imagine, this has to potential to be both highly beneficial and to have some rather nasty unintended consequences. But Danae and her fellow unifiers are
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Midu Hadi

I requested this book on Netgalley and I'm so glad I did!

Like most of my favorite sf movies, such as Total Recall, Mad Max Fury Road, and Matrix, this book doesn't let off on the action. Our protagonists are constantly on the run and things keep on happening. In short, I liked the fast pace. But like those same movies, this book was a collection of ideas and all of them could be potentially explored for world-building and extending purposes. Since this is a stand-alone, I felt like that didn't
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Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

Unity is an incredibly thought provoking and morally complex story that I quite enjoyed once I got into it. I'll admit that my one qualm with the book was that I was a little lost at first. But as I got into it, I really got into it.

I am going to keep it short, because learning about the world and what was happening is truly part of the enjoyment of this book. Look, I know the comps say M
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Wendy
May 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Unity starts with Danae and her lover, Naoto hiring a mercenary called Alexei to help them escape from the underwater city where they live. Alexei guides them out of the city, but that is just the beginning. The three fugitives have to get across the post apocalyptic Southwest. To add to the danger, they are being chased by the Duke and The Borrower. They want what is inside Danae.

Danae is not just one person. She is concealing part of a collective mind inside her body. She must get to the rest
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Jael
Mar 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
A dystopian future featuring nanobots and underwater cities. Aptly described as "evoking the grittiness of Mad Max and the idealism of Sense8". Great commentary on what it means to be human with some transcendentalist undertones. Highly recommended for all science fiction/cyberpunk fans!

I really enjoyed Unity. The world building was superb, the two main characters were likeable despite their flaws, and the villains were unhinged and legitimately terrifying (looking at you, Luther, you incel mfer
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Isaiah
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was ok
To see a full review check it out here

I wanted to love this book, but I was lost more than I was following. It was beautifully written, but I was not the target audience it seems. It would have made for a video game that I would have loved though.
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Corvus
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

One thing I can say for sure about Elly Bangs is that she is not short on creative and interesting ideas. Her first novel- Unity- is quite the showcase of these ideas. It is difficult to describe this book in a review without giving spoilers, but I am going to do my best. In the afterword of the book, Bangs tells us that she started Unity in high school 18 years ago and that the book kept evolving and transforming as her life did. I can see these kinds of themes throughout the book amon
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Joanne Rixon
Apr 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: Elly is my friend, and I think she's one of the coolest people I know, so take that into consideration when I say that book is fucking amazing and I'm so glad I read it. Even with covid-related-attention-deficit I finished it in a single day. I felt SO MANY FEELINGS.

The setting is feral and fresh and upsettingly plausible while still somehow featuring a Mad Max-esque warlord-torn Arizona that nearly gets eaten by nanobots after a nuclear-brinksmanship-esque cold war goes hot. Y
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Dave
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read an ARC of Unity and really enjoyed it. Plays with themes of humanity and personhood and grief and redemption. Doesn't hold your hand figuring out the worldbuilding. The POVs were slightly confusing at the beginning, but the process of becoming oriented to them felt like it was a key part of understanding what "unity" meant to Danae.

If you've read Wildseed by Ocvtavia Butler, I got a real Doro and Anyanwu vibe from two characters in the book (or if you haven't read Earthseed, sorta like a P
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Kelly
Apr 13, 2021 added it
Unity is a bold and impressive debut novel from author Elly Bangs. The premise and the plot are made out of big ideas spread over a landscape scarred with the detritus of innumerable lifetimes.

War is coming to Bloom City, an underwater ‘aquapolis,’ and three people are looking to get out before it happens. Danae wants to return home to reunite with her other selves. Her lover, Naoto, will not leave her side. But, Alexei, the mercenary they hire to help them escape, doesn’t exactly inspire confid
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Joe Karpierz
Mar 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Tachyon Publications has been making a habit of introducing readers to new writers, most recently with Kimberly Unger's NUCLEATION. Now, they've given us a terrific novel by Elly Bangs. UNITY is a lot of things: post apocalyptic, cyberpunk, adventure, thriller. But most of all, it's an exploration of human consciousness and what it means to be human.

Danae is a worker in the underwater city of Bloom. The landscape has been obliterated, forcing most of society to live below ground. Danae does not
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Monika
Mar 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-cis-authors
When Tachyon Publications reached out to me about Unity, Elly Bangs's post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk, sci-fi debut, I couldn't resist accepting a review copy based on the blurbs I read. The novel is said to "evoke the perilous grittiness of Mad Max and the redemptive unification of Sense8." And then Meredith Russo's description really got my attention: "Imagine Neuromancer and Lilith’s Brood conceived a baby while listening to My Chemical Romance and then that baby was adopted by Ghost in the Shell ...more
Jimbo
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Elly Bangs's debut novel is a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk thriller (at least by what she calls it) AND in more ways than one she is right on the money.

The book starts out in an underwater city/nation. Most people live in these nations, while the planet recovers slowly from the destruction of the apocalypse. The land is inhabitable in certain places and there are scavengers and survivors living there.
Nanotechnology has been developed, but only Danae has very advanced nanotech in her body. Develope
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Cole Greenberg
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow....Wow Wow Wow. I JUST finished this book, and all I can say is Wow. I can't put into words the impact this book has just had on me. The philosophical inquiry into consciousness and the human condition that this book entails are mind changing to say the least. I think it's fitting that I can't actually put into words what I'm feeling given the whole plot of this book. I feel like a part of me became Enlightened after reading this. What's funny to me too is that the first part of this book, T ...more
John Rennie
I really wanted to like this book but I didn't.

I read Neuromancer back in 1984 when it was originally published and it instantly converted me to the genre. Since then I have read every cyberpunk book I could get my hands on, so Unity should have been an ideal read for me.

And it does have lots of great ideas, but the problem is that it's littered with lengthy info dumps that slow the pace to a crawl and destroy any feeling of immersion in the story. The plot is a bit naive, but that's OK as I'm g
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Morgan
Dec 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my fair and honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed are completely my own.

This was largely a novel of ideas. The characters themselves were not a strong point, nor was the world the author had created. You had your pretty typical dystopian world, a mishmash of different potential awful futures. It might not even be that far off. Everything politically destabilized, constant war, undersea cities, the land destroyed ecologically, irradiated
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Robert Sullivan
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Unity is an interesting and enjoyable science fiction novel, set in future ravaged by climate change, war, and political and social collapse. But science has continued to develop nano-technology, produce horrific weapons, and launch communications satellites. And super-hackers are still around to stroll through firewalls and advance the plot.

The main characters are flawed but engaging people - it's easy to get invested in their struggles.. The plot revolves around the intersection of nano-tech a
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James
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Unity is an action packed thrill ride. Danae, the main protagonist and one of three narrators creates a gestalt consciousness by "unifying" with another person. Each subsequent unity adds to her gestalt, increasing her intellectual capabilities exponentially. It is set in a horrific slow-rolling apocalypse where vast areas of the country as well as the world are deadly. No world-building exposition just gut-wrenching observations, which is excellent work - the author shows us rather than tells u ...more
Pamela Scott
Apr 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres...

This is the author’s debut. I really enjoyed it and look forward to seeing what the author comes up with next. I wasn’t sure I was going to like Unity at first; it’s so far outside my comfort zone, even for science fiction. It took a few chapters for me to really settle into the story and get to know the characters. I found the shared consciousness premise at first a little far out there and it took a while to get used to. However, I ended up really liking
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Paul Goat
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The debut novel from Bangs is so much more than a grand-scale post-apocalyptic novel about the consequences of humankind’s various self-destructive tendencies (fear, hatred, willing ignorance, etc.), it’s a visionary glimpse into the existential darkness that lights the way towards a glorious future for humankind. “The singularity wouldn’t be computerized or artificial. It would be human.” Post-apocalyptic masterworks have defined entire generations—Shute’s On the Beach; Miller, Jr.’s A Canticle ...more
James
Apr 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Slow start, but great middle and ending.

The book overall has this odd mid-to-late nineties feel, somewhere between Waterworld and The Matrix, but honestly, that doesn't make for bad reading.

The story and writing live up to the premise. I wouldn't classify this an LGBTQ read, in case anyone is looking for that, as I often I am, although it's definitely not hostile to the community. The main characters Danae and Alexei are fleshed out very well. All others, much less so.

Overall, I would read more
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William
May 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely, elementally perfect book. I cannot recommend or advocate for it enough. Beautifully written, beautifully creative, beautifully told. It feels like damning with faint praise to call it "cyberpunk", but if that gets eyeballs on it, all the better. Like Elly Bang's (phenomenal) short Dandelion, it reminds me of the best of Ted Chiang, where an arresting idea is fully excavated by a mind keen to the realities of humanity as much as science. ...more
Sarah
Apr 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, sci-fi
Ignore the list comparing this to everything under the sun, and just go in with a bit of an open mind. After a slightly slow start - a bit necessary as we find our own feet in this newly constructed world, which is far better than having everything spelled out at once - the pace picks up both in terms of action and intrigue. Lots of mysteries explored, from the hinted at traumas in both main characters' pasts, to the big question: what exactly is Unity?

Thought this was well done, and definitely
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Aneta
I absolutely loved parts of this book - even made me tear up a few times - but there were others where the execution was not to my liking. Overall, an imaginative and evocative read I fully recommend.
Andre Boone
Apr 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Unity" is one of the most thought-provoking books I've read in a while. Its message is delivered by a cast of complex and well-written characters. And there's action, tons and tons of action. ...more
Bethan Ackerley
rated it really liked it
Dec 28, 2020
Maddison Stoff
rated it it was amazing
Mar 26, 2021
Jill
rated it it was amazing
Sep 24, 2020
Simon P
rated it liked it
May 12, 2021
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Elly Bangs is a queer trans woman who was raised in a new-age cult, had six wisdom teeth, and once rode her bicycle alone from Seattle to the Panama Canal. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, Beneath Ceasless Skies, Escape Pod, Fireside Quarterly, and elsewhere -- and her debut apocalyptic cyberpunk novel, Unity, is coming in Spring 2021. She's a SFWA member and a 2017 graduat ...more

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