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Deep State (Dagmar Shaw) Paperback – February 7, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Powerful ideas, brilliantly executed ... you should take this as a recommendation Charles Stross, award-winning author of HALTING STATE With admirable topicality, DEEP STATE concerns the fomenting of revolution against an repressive regime using modern networked communications TELEGRAPH A neatly plausible scenario that riffs off recent events in Iran to fine effect as Williams brings an SF sensibility to what's essentially a spy thriller. Recommended. BBC FOCUS --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Walter Jon Williams has been nominated repeatedly for every major SF award, including Hugo and Nebula Award nominations for his novel City on Fire. His most recent books are The Sundering, The Praxis, Destiny's Way, and The Rift. Walter Jon Williams lives near Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dagmar Shaw
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 Original edition (February 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316098043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316098045
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #956,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ian K. VINE VOICE on March 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
One of the challenges of writing "hard" science fiction is to put in enough technical detail, but not so much that the novel will not age or, worse, is wrong on technical points.

In many cases Walter Jon Williams gets this balance right. He was quite successful in achieving this balance in "This is Not a Game", the predecessor to "Deep State". At the end of Deep State, the balance was lost. As others have noted, the "High Zap" which is introduced at the start of the novel is problematic. It did not have to be so. Williams could have simply described the "High Zap", with out giving details about how it was achieved. And he could have avoided going into technical counter measures. Unfortunately Williams succumbed to the temptation to provide unnecessary technical detail and the result makes no sense, at least to someone who understands the technology. Digging an even deeper hole, Williams develops the technology for a counter measure and then never uses it in the plot, suggesting that it could have been left out entirely. This would have been good, since the counter measure is entirely nonsensical from a technical point of view.

Even with these flaws, Deep State was a good read, although I kept cringing when Williams suggested technically ridiculous things near the end.

Deep State is set in Turkey. Right before I read Deep State, I read Ian McDonald's Dervish House (which I highly recommend). Like Deep State, Dervish House is set in Turkey. Perhaps Istanbul is becoming the new Tokyo for science fiction novels.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth Carey on February 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Dagmar Shaw is running an Augmented Reality Game, an ARG, in Turkey to promote the latest James Bond film, Stunrunner. She's not happy about being in Turkey, where a military junta has recently seized power, because she's had some seriously unpleasant experiences with military governments in the past, but, really, what can go wrong? Turkey is benefiting from the positive PR and the increase in tourism, and the generals are very pleased by that. Her company, Great Big Idea, is being very well paid by the movie promoters.

And then Dagmar and some of her people are invited to meet the generals, and Dagmar accidentally offends the head of the junta, General Bozbeyli.

Dagmar, her immediate boss Lincoln, and her top on-site American and Turkish employees, have to evade the junta while staging the last live event of the ARG--and that means moving the live event at very short notice. Dagmar and her team work out a way to do it, wrap up the game, and head home.

But before she leaves, Lincoln offers her a new job. Lincoln, it turns out, works for the US government and is in Special Ops. The current Turkish junta, unlike previous ones, is not interested in restoring a secular state and then turning the government back to democracy; they're in it for the money. Lincoln wants to use Dagmar's game-running skills to peacefully destabilize the current Turkish regime and force a return to democracy.

Working from a British military base on Cyprus, Dagmar and her team--Turks Ismet, Tuna, and Refet; Americans Judy, Lloyd, Lola, Magnus, and Byron--set to work, running an Augmented Reality Game with the very real-world goal of bringing down a government. Flash crowds form in places where it's hard for the police to respond quickly, and melt away before they can react.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dan Carey on June 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If I had started reading this book the same week the uprisings started in Egypt, I would have had a hard time distinguishing between the news and this novel. Mr. Williams should be glad this was published prior to the spreading unrest, lest he be charged with mere conspiracy mongering.

I am not one who especially likes series with a recurring hero/heroine, but Dagmar Shaw is pleasantly believable: flawed without being overwrought and angst-ridden, capable without being a Mary Sue, concerned about the ethics of her job without getting preachy. Williams also does a nice job of sketching out the various locations in which the narrative occurs, providing enough detail to help the mind's eye without getting bogged down in florid detail.

Your perception of this book is almost certain to be improved if you have read its predecessor, This Is Not a Game. This book can be read as a stand-alone, but Dagmar's character will be richer if you have read the other book first.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William Hertling on September 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed Deep State.

I did not read the previous book 'This is Not a Game', so I approached this book essentially as a stand-alone novel. It worked fine, although I just bought the previous book in the series. Many of Walter Jon Williams "series" are more like "chronological collections": they're books set in the same universe, in a particular order, but each tells a completely independent story. I like this, because you can read each book fresh, without trying to recollect a thousand details from the last book.

I found the premise of Deep State, that a woman who runs live-action role-playing games/puzzles is hired to coordinate a revolution, to be quite intriguing. It highlights just how much of public opinion and action can be influenced, and how ephemeral power can be. As other reviewers have mentioned, the timeliness of this book is just amazing, with revolts and protests all around the world being coordinated with text messages, twitter, and social media. The vulnerability of the Internet to government intrusion is also fascinating and timely, given the recent NSA revelations.

All in all, this is a good near-term technothriller / speculative fiction novel that kept me up late at night reading.
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