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Spares Hardcover – March 31, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (March 31, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055310604X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553106046
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,628,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Imagine a future--next year, perhaps?--in which the wealthy clone themselves at birth to provide spare parts for their bodies as they become needed. Drop into that scenario a tough but compassionate ex-cop who decides to liberate seven "spares" from the farm where they're being kept until needed, and you've got a lively, very moving combination of genres that has already been bought for the big screen.

From Publishers Weekly

Coma meets Blade Runner in this future noir thriller, a compulsively readable melding of hardboiled narrative and hardware invention. Smith forecasts a decadent future in which the rich clone themselves at birth and callously harvest replacement organs from their "spares" as they need them. Narrator Jack Randall, a debauched but conscientious ex-cop, flees to the megalopolis of New Richmond with seven clones he has liberated from a spare farm and is almost immediately relieved of them by a gang of thugs. Jack's efforts to find out who has abducted the spares and marked them for death plunge him into a mystery that ultimately links the two events that have shattered his life: the brutal unsolved murder of his wife and child, and his soul-searing tour of military duty in The Gap. A virtual world built from the flotsam and jetsam cluttering the Internet, The Gap is an awesome conception made to seem supernaturally eerie yet scientifically feasible. Smith elaborates this creation brilliantly, as a surreal battleground where Jack confronts the demons that have haunted him for a decade, and as a symbol of emptiness and waste that brings the novel's numerous depictions of personal and social devaluation into sharp focus. Both a disconcerting portrait of a future that might be, and a poignant study of one man's fight to resist it, this novel augurs a promising future of another sort for its author. Film rights to Dreamworks SKG. (May) FYI: This novel is an expansion of Smith's horror short story "To Receive Is Better."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Novelist, short story writer and screenwriter, writing under the names Michael Marshall Smith and Michael Marshall. As the former, winner of the International Horror Guild and Philip K Dick Award - in addition to winning the British Fantasy Award for best short story more than any other author in history. As Michael Marshall, an internationally-bestselling writer of thrillers.

Customer Reviews

While reading the book, I was actually scared to go to sleep sometimes!
John A Barbour
Rather, the story is more of a prolonged chase of the main character which is both boring and predictable.
lh
Michael Marshall Smith is a great new writer with a very unique and invividual voice.
Craig Larson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Craig Larson VINE VOICE on March 30, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Michael Marshall Smith is a great new writer with a very unique and invividual voice. Coming on the heels of his debut, _Only Forward_, _Spares_ confirms that he is definitely someone to watch!
Some reviewers have faulted Smith for attempting to shoehorn too many diverse ideas into a single book, or for creating such an unlikeable person in his protagonist, Jack Randall. Depending on your point of view, this may be a valid criticism. For me, the mix worked and worked in a magical way I come across all too infrequently in my reading these days.
Jack is a drug-addicted former policeman in the surreal future world of New Richmond, Virginia, a grounded MegaMall which has been taken over as the basis for a city. On the run with a group of spares he's liberated from a Farm, Jack comes up against the same forces which necessitated his escape five years previously. Throw in the Gap, a strange, interdimensional reality, not quite analagous to cyberspace but similar, in which a war was fought 20 years ago, a war Jack and several of the other characters are veterans of, and the book is almost overflowing with ideas, originality, and an amazing level of energy.
If you're a fan of cross-genre mixes, hardboiled/sci-fi, this book is definitely worth your while. Based on his first two novels and a number of his short stories, including "More Tomorrow," an excellent Internet horror tale, Smith has quite a future ahead of him and, for now, a dedicated new fan in this critic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Sheer unadulterated brilliance is what Marshall Smith deliveres here. In a surreal world where people are cloned for spare parts, one man, down on his luck, comes to the rescue of beings considered less than human. Always enthralling, but at times you are unable to tell if this book is incredibly hilarious or really scary. Prepare for the most enjoyable assault on your imagination.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "petehybertsen" on September 30, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Spares is not something massively profound and life-changing but it is a great book just the same. Spares manages to mold tragedy, comedy, and some awesome sci-fi into one great story. The comedy aspect will have you laughing hysterically at times and the first time one reads this book it distracts from the other elements. The second time through it becomes apparent that the comedy is really just Jack's way of masking his despair and depression. This is the tale of a desperate man who is in the process of having everything and everyone that he cares about taken away from him. Spares is a complete book in every sense of the word. I would highly recommend that you read it. Now where is the movie thats supposedly in the works?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By THOMAS I WELSCH on June 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a great primer for Marshall Smith. He's out ofBritain, so some of his stuff isn't available on amazom.com so checkamazon.co.uk. It's worth the extra shipping fees. He's probably the best satirical sf writer out today. No dragons or ogres, just almost normal people in a messed up situation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is amazing, really. The hero is sort of an anti-hero. By all normal standards, I should despise him, but he has some hidden inner qualities that far outweigh his vices.
The subject, which centers on cloning, is becoming almost too real for comfort (especially after reading this book!). The reasons for cloning in the book are horrifying, but not at all unrealistic.
Read it. Be disturbed. Watch the news.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mathew VINE VOICE on May 21, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Once again, a bizarre and twisted mix of fantasy, horror, SF, comedy and thriller. The plot lurches from mood to mood like a manic depressive; I laughed, I shivered and I almost cried in the space of a single page. The most horrifying parts of the novel were also the most plausible.
Stylistically, it's not quite up to the standards of "Only Forward" -- but then, I doubt anyone's going to surprise me again the way *that* novel did. The sub-plot about the gap is perhaps a little too similar to elements of the first book, but I was prepared to overlook it given how amazing the rest of the story is. And I had no trouble identifying with the protagonist.
If you're a fan of Philip K Dick, Stanislaw Lem, William Gibson, Rudy Rucker or Harlan Ellison, then you really ought to read this novel. Don't wait for the movie, there's no way any Hollywood studio will have the guts to do it justice.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By darklordzden on May 31, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Michael Marshall Smith effortlessly blends the worlds of Douglas Adams, William Gibson, Will Self and Raymond Chandler in this illuminating Sophomore novel. "Spares" is a humane, cleverly written rumination on the nature of humanity, and how far we'll go to convince ourselves that we've lost it, masquerading as a cyber-punk detective-thriller/comedy/fantasy/horror novel. Taking, as it does, our worst fears about the misuse of cloning technology and accelarating them to the Nth degree, Michael Marshall Smith plunges us into the world of Jack Cardigan, a disgraced former policeman/war veteran/drug addict running from a past he can't escape into a future he can't control. On the way he'll revisit another plain of reality, be accosted by a talking Fridge and explain to you where cats really do "go" when you let them out. Yes, it is as off the wall as it sounds and several times more ingenious than you suspect. If you're a would-be writer, you'll put down your pen and not want to bother after reading this. It really is that good.
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