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New Model Army

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  615 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Adam Roberts' new novel is a terrifying vision of a near future war - a civil war that tears the UK apart as new technologies allow the world's first truly democratic army to take on the British army and wrest control from the powers that be.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 15th 2010 by Gollancz
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
If you love a good high-concept novel, you'll love New Model Army.

Roberts is one of the most interesting writers working in Science Fiction, consistently producing work that while not always perfect is always both thoughtful and fascinating. New Model Army is as interesting and imaginative as his other works, but comes closer to perfection than many of them.

Tony Block, our narrator, is a born soldier, a man whose only home is in a fighting force. Block is a soldier in Pantegral, a ‘New Model Arm
James Kemp
May 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no-one
It has a Fab Concept. However it doesn't quite work. Some of it is too heavy handed and not well enough researched to be credible.

I bought this book because I liked the premise, a change in the nature of warfare brought about by better information available to the whole army through a wiki style network. It has promise for some very interesting stories, but the author instead wrote a political polemic based on very old fashioned stereotypes and without bothering to do his research.

Accepting th
Jim Smith
Nov 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I am a fan of Adam Robert's work, but found myself by turns frustrated and dazzled with the ideas and concepts he throws around in this latest book. In one sense, the book works best as a philosophical discussion of the nature of modern combat. It's when you look at the practicalities of the storyline that some problems emerge (well, for me anyway).

First off, money. Who is paying these troops and how is their equipment financed/obtained? Next, a totally democratic and decentralised chain of comm
K.J. Charles
An intriguing near-future read, where 'new model armies' (mercenaries, basically, connected by tech and run as democracies on an ongoing basis) are 'disrupting' the hell out of the UK. The Scottish Parliament has hired a NMA to do their fighting for independence. It's a terrific concept, with lots to say about the nature of true democracy (the armies are literally making mutual decisions about battle plans based on votes as they fight), based on Hobbes' Leviathan, with more than a dash of Wells ...more
Andrew Liptak
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
New Model Army, by Adam Roberts, takes an interesting look at the function of warfare and society with the question: What if a hierarchical military, such as ones set up along the lines of the British or U.S. Armies, and pitted it against an army that was fully democratic in its organization?

The concept is an interesting one, and the book as a whole is a perfect example of something that I’ve wanted to see in the subgenre: a world in which the military itself is examined, not only in the tactica
Malcolm F. Cross
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Hebblethwaite
May 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I can safely say that New Model Army is like no other book I’ve ever read. I know this because I have no name for the feeling I was left with after I’d finished it. That’s a recommendation, by the way.

A few decades hence, a new kind of fighting force has emerged: organised on democratic principles (Athenian democracy, that is), New Model Armies (NMAs for short) have no command structure, and no specialisms; soldiers communicate with each other in the field via private wikis, and all decisions ar
Jason Fischer
Jun 12, 2014 rated it liked it
I want to give this a 3.5/5. I was initially sceptical of the concept that an unhackable wiki could effectively train laypeople to become multifunction soldiers. Ie the soldiers referring to photos on wikipedia to treat gun-shot wounds, when it takes years of training to be a combat medic. There would be many real-world ways for traditional law enforcement and military to overcome the New Model Armies. There would need to be firearms training, finance trails, procurement of illegal weapons from ...more
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: action-sci-fi
Fantastic concepts and big ideas that at times would get bogged down by completely unreadable sections where the author attempted to write in a more poetic and metaphorical style. It's not that metaphor and abstraction can be bad, it's simply that in this case it was bad. There is an interminable segment wheeee the protagonist gets a bird's eye view of Europe and the reader is expected to slog through page after page of awkward metaphor and description.

Which is too bad, because this is a great b
Adam Whitehead
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Britain has been engulfed by war. The Scottish Parliament has declared independence only to find the British Army being deployed to keep control of the country. In retaliation Scotland has contracted a New Model Army, Pantegral, to fight on its behalf.

New Model Armies are paramilitary forces the likes of which the world has not seen before. They are democratic mercenary forces where every soldier is consulted - via real-time communications - over the formulation of tactics and strategy. NMAs are
Christopher Law
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Nobody
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Scots have finally seen sense and contracted a 'new model army' to rid themselves of Westminster imperialism and colonialism. This is the now, this is Wiki-warfare. The directly democratically run Pantegral is running rings around the lumbering wreck of the clumsy 'British' army which is not cut out for this sort of highly mobile, high tech warfare of the collective. modern cities are 'delicate corals' just waiting to be tipped by just that bit too much revolt and rebellion. Meanwhile the 'a ...more
Owen Townend
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I went into this book unclear on the premise and unfortunately come out barely wiser. A purely democratic approach to the military is an intriguing premise but hasn't really stuck with me.
Unfortunately I've always had this problem with Roberts' work: one worthy concept or theme that seems to have been wasted by flaws in execution. In the case of New Model Army I would say that the problem lies with how the philosophy is used. While it is very effective in certain parts of the plot, the rest of t
Allan Hansen
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I like the concept and how the first half of the book is told. Then the reader slowly starts noticing how chapters begin to alter, one chapter being told normally, the next one in a very strange I-say-then-you-say-then-I-say way and the words get more and more difficult to read. Near the end, I find myself unable to understand more than half of what I am reading, and that takes away from my enjoyment of the story.
I am not a Brit with a PhD in literature, that should not be needed to read and enj
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Adam Roberts wins my award for the most outlandish-yet-believable settings. If you haven't read Salt or On, read those and be amazed. This one though, with the interesting idea of a very modern type of mercenary army, ended in such a bizarre way that I was let down. The ideas were great, the character development was second to none, and I had to pull up my dictionary more than a few times. Yet the ending was so strange and disjointed and not customary of his quick wrap-up endings.
Gregory Webster
May 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not a believable concept. Glorified guerrilla warfare that is somehow noble in cause and just in action fails to ring true.
Sue Chant
May 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sff-unclassified
Don't usually like MilSF but this was quite interesting.
George Moody
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy-sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, fiction, richard-s, books
Last year's Yellow Blue Tibia was probably my favourite SF book, so I was looking forward to this. Actually, to digress before I review this, something I like about Adam Roberts is that he doesn't write the same book twice; in style or theme, and he doesn't appear to be interested in writing multi-volume series (not that they are inherently bad, but it's good when a talented writer produces something different every time).

New Model Army is based around the idea of a truly democratic army (in an
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was breathlessly recommended by someone whose opinion I respect. I don't think it deserved the breathlessness, but it was pretty good.

It's a hard book to review without spoiling it. I don't think the ending was quite set up as well as it should have been, though at the same time I'm not sure how it could have been set up better without tipping the author's hand. (Not that the ending was a huge surprise, if you're familiar with common SF tropes.)

The book was fun, the descriptive languag
Stuart McMillan
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How to categorise this? Is it really SF?

I'd say Adam Roberts has worked hard to make this an accessible entry to the genre, with a reliance on technology that's familiar to most of us by now to create a fluidly democratic army based around wiki's and 'Like' voting buttons.

The premise that such a socially cohesive unit could form is an interesting idea, but I'm not convinced that societal changes are possible to this extent. Obviously this is a meme explored in other relatively recent books - Cor
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Interesting premise but sad to say I abandoned reading it three quarters of the way through. The criticism of "feudal" command structures is certainly a very good one, but I think Roberts doesn't realise that the modern British army doesn't merely consist of soldiers blindly following orders, though I like the idea that an "NMA" type army could collectively decide its objectives in real-time. But the idea a bunch of civilians could cobble together an effective fighting force with limited trainin ...more
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I finished "New Model Army" and I was a little mixed - it's a very readable book and a page turner and actually the concept of the New Model Army makes sense and it could be real with a little more improvement in technology - you should think a New Model Army (NMA short and there are tons around btw) as a new kind of sentient organism composed by some thousands of smaller sentient cells (ie people) that makes war because it's fun, the new kid on the block that smashes things as he experiments; o ...more
Nov 27, 2012 rated it liked it
The first part of this book was a very solid 5*. I loved the concept of an army that operated in a more free borg like manner. Essentially thousands of people all joining their minds and thoughts together to make educated, discussed and fair decisions. Want to blow up that bridge? Put it to a vote. Take prisoners? Put it to a vote, and whatever answer you get you go with, whether you agree or not. An army with no leaders. A true democracy.
I loved reading about the conflicts and movements of the
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Scottish Parliament after declaring independence hires the services of Pantegral, A 'New Model Army' to fight on its behalf.

NMA's are democratic mercenary forces with every soldier equipped with a wrist computer enabling real-time communications via a secure Wiki. Tactics are democratically decided during battle and the movements of all groups are guided with personal access to live sat maps and intelligence from networked ground troops.

Every NMA soldier is trained to be infantry, engineer,
Richard Watt
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may be the most satisfying Adam Roberts book I've read. His ideas are never less than brilliant - this one is about a civil war in England fought between a traditional army, and one with no leaders or hierarchy which relies on technology to make all strategic decisions democratically and on the fly.

The plot follows a traditional Roberts structure - plunging you into the setup and showing you what's happening as you go along. Unlike some others I've read, however, this one maintains the inte
Jeremy Hornik
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a couple of things. They don't quite all come together but I really liked it. I've mostly soured on sci-fi as a grownup person, even though I keep trying. Now, between this and "Yellow Blue Tibia" I think Adam Roberts is pretty delightful... they're books where big crazy ideas are acted out, with a human depth to their generally antisocial protagonists.

This one starts with a long combat sequence, focusing on the actions of a perfectly small-d democratic and wireless army... a wiki-style
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I recently read Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts and while I liked it quite a bit I felt it was missing the transcendent. Fortunately, New Model Army has oodles.

For me NMA was very evocative of Starship Troopers; half the book is the story of an army of the future at war, and the other half is a philosophical exploration of the nature of just government.

But this is no golden age young-adultish book, but an intellectual exploration of a future much closer to now than Heinlein's. Gripping and tho
Feb 10, 2013 rated it liked it
This book has some fabulous ideas and was a fun read. It imagines near-future small guerrilla armies that make all decisions through democracy. The first half reads as the memoirs/propaganda of a soldier from one of these armies. The first trap of the book is to play armchair general and nitpick the how these engagements would "really" play out. It's a work of fiction rather than legitimate military doctrine and is much more enjoyable if you play by its rules. The first half of the book is very ...more
Jun 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book, and also to not give any reviews on my page for under four stars, but it ended up being just too frustrating. Worth reading though? Yes, especially if you're interested in futuristic warfare, small 'l' libertarianism, and why democracy is great.

The problem? Little too much choppy off-the-cuff 1st person narrative. Little too much of the main character's trysting with his ex. And the last few chapters, in Strasbourg? WTF.

Still, the ideas put forth are nothing if
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Adam Roberts (born 1965) is an academic, critic and novelist. He also writes parodies under the pseudonyms of A.R.R.R. Roberts, A3R Roberts and Don Brine. He also blogs at The Valve, a group blog devoted to literature and cultural studies.

He has a degree in English from the

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