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The Happier Dead Mass Market Paperback – February 25, 2014


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781081832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781081839
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,635,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This is equal parts imaginative science fiction,exciting political thriller and engrossing crime novel. (Kirkus)

About the Author

Ivo Stourton is the author of two previous non-SF novels "The Night Climbers" (Doubleday, 2007) and "The Book Lover's Tale" (Doubleday, 2011). He is married and lives in London

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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As well as being a good individual read, this would be a great choice for book groups, with so much to discuss.
S Riaz
It turns out he was working on something else, something with heinous implications, and there are factions, like the Mortal Reform, that will do anything to stop it.
MyBookishWays
Although the ending bothered me somewhat in its sudden shift away from our protagonist Oates, I very much enjoyed this book, both for its story and its prose.
W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MyBookishWays on April 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
When I started The Happier Dead, I expected a British procedural peppered with some SF elements, and I got that, but it’s really so much more…. Ok, so, here’s the gist: It’s 2035, and DCI Rob Oates is called to the scene of a brutal stabbing that’s taken place within the environs of The Great Spa. The Great Spa caters to those that have gone through the Treatment, but have had…problems. The Treatment takes those that can afford it back to an age usually somewhere between 20 to 25 (this is ultimately up to the person receiving the Treatment), and immortality is granted as part of the package. Britain has a monopoly on this technology, which of course give them quite a leg up on the world stage. However, immortality comes with a price. When one lives too long, one can become bored and require more extreme experiences in order to enjoy life, which can lead to bad things, even psychopathy, so in order to combat that, The Great Spa was built five years ago and contains a whole other reality that grants the new-young a sort of rebirth that will hopefully rejuvenate and rebuild their damaged souls. When Oates arrives at The Great Spa (technically called Avalon), he’s informed that they already have a suspect in custody, and he’s confessed. Oates is particularly good at ferreting out Eddys, which are people that have been paid to confess and serve time for someone else’s crimes, often with the promise of ultimately receiving the Treatment. Oates’s gut tells him this man, Ali Fazool, is innocent, but he confessed, so proving it is going to be the trick, and he may not have much time, because rioting has begun around the city by those that oppose The Treatment and what it promises, and tensions are rising to deadly levels.

So much for just a gist, huh?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C.M. Muller on April 8, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This unique novel of the future (part of which, interestingly enough, is set in “1976”) was a refreshing surprise, the type of thought-provoking tale one would expect from J.G. Ballard and Aldous Huxley in their prime, with more than a few shades of Philip K. Dick. The writing is poetic, philosophical, and consistently clever. It is not often one encounters speculative novels this imaginative and well-written. I do hope Ivo Stourton continues in this vein, for we need more authors like him in the genre. And you gotta love that title, which strikes me as a cross between a certain zombie epic and something that the distinguished English satirist, Evelyn Waugh, might have penned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada on February 25, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A science-fictional crime novel set in a near-future London. I was sold on reading The Happier Dead, novelist and play-wright Ivo Stourton's first SF novel, by those elements alone. Add some fascinating thought exercises about immortality, memory, and morality to that mix and The Happier Dead was a novel that was equal parts riveting action and thought-provoking ideas. Although the ending bothered me somewhat in its sudden shift away from our protagonist Oates, I very much enjoyed this book, both for its story and its prose.

The Happier Dead is set in a near-future London, but it remains unclear how near a future exactly. Some of the political elements, such as a war in Syria, seem to have their roots in the now and taking the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in consideration, I'd guess that means it couldn't be more than fifteen or twenty years in the future? Then again the building of the Dome and the perfecting of the Treatment in such a relatively short time seems implausible. The timespan doesn't truly matter to the plot and it isn't clearly mentioned anywhere, but I found myself distracted throughout the narrative when coming across historical references, trying to use them to pinpoint the time the novel is set in. Oates's city is also very much a recognisable London, which would probably feel quite familiar to its current residents.

I found it interesting to see how the London Riots of 2011 are starting to seep into fiction. The Happier Dead isn't the first book I've read in the past few months where their echoes can be clearly heard. The riots in the book mirror and increase the narrative tension.
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