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Amortals Mass Market Paperback – December 28, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Matt Forbeck does near-future so well, I think he's been there. Actually, I think he designed it. Then he kicked its ass." - Dan Abnett, author of Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero 

"Amortals seized me by the throat and kicked my ass." - Billy Campbell, star of The 4400

"Amortals is a fast and engrossing read, highly original, and with more than its fair share of surprises. If you like thrillers with a science-fiction edge, check out Matt Forbeck’s Amortals, and strap yourself in; it’s a wicked ride." - Bill Bodden, www.flamesrising.com

"...an SF action-thriller that satisfies on all levels." - Michael M. Jones, www.sfsite.com

"Amortals reads like a noir-ish mystery with a heavy science fictional vision. Forbeck uses a generous handful of sf-nal ideas to good effect." - John DeNardo, www.sfsignal.com

"This story sinks its claws into you early, and you won’t want to stop reading." - www.lestersmith.com

About the Author

Matt Forbeck is a popular and prolific writer of fiction and games in equal measure. He has written novels, comic books, short stories, non-fiction (including the acclaimed Marvel Comics Encyclopedia), magazine articles and computer game scripts. He has designed roleplaying games, miniatures and board games. He’s currently working on a film script and a novelisation of the online game Guild Wars.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857660020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857660022
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,539,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Greg on November 26, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
It's year 2168, and Secret Service agent Ronan Dooley is investigating a savage homicide, of which he happens to be the victim. In fact, this is the eighth time Agent Dooley has died in the service of his country.

Several of Ronan's lifetimes ago, he took a bullet meant for the president. His heroic death won him the honor of becoming the first participant in Project Amortal: a medical procedure where the deceased's mind and memories are downloaded into the brain of an exact clone. The project was initially intended for heads-of-state or those whose public service had proven exceptional, but of course the few with the means to afford it could sign-up too.

When I started this book, it seemed apparent that the character of Ronan Dooley is somewhere between the likes of James Bond and Dirty Harry: a typical action hero, easily found in any number of 70's/80's action movies or TV shows, with no few of them still around today. He's a lone wolf, a cowboy, whose refusal to play by the rules causes constant friction with authority -- and he's obsessed with stopping the bad guy.

It just so happens that I love that type of character. I know many will groan "Not another one," but you have to admit: there's something appealing about the combination of coolness, bad-@$$-ness, and flippant disregard of danger or authority.

However, that's just the first impression. Well, admittedly not just the first impression, because Agent Dooley is that type of character, albeit with a unique twist. And I must state, the plot really didn't seem all that original to me either. Nonetheless, in the span of few chapters, I went from only slightly interested, to thinking, "Hey, this isn't half bad," to being genuinely sucked in.
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I'm going to start by stating that my bias toward any book is that I prefer a good human story first and foremost, while genre tropes take a back seat. I've always had a love - hate relationship with science fiction, because many books read like a technical manual and seem to forget that there are certain things we need to have a good, engaging story, such as deep characters, interesting plot twists, and thought provoking subjects.

Amortals is the story of Ronan Dooley, an Amortal, who has served in the secret service for a couple hundred years. Amortals are people who have had their consciousness preserved and uploaded into cloned bodies, allowing them to live on past the death of their first body. The story has the kind of action that you would expect from a Hollywood movie, but there's a very touching human element to the book that you simply don't find in a lot of action movies. I'd go into specifics, but I think it would be a crime to spoil any of this book for would-be readers.

One of the things that all science fiction should always do is introduce some new science and then explore the way that it changes the human condition. Forebeck is well aware of the importance of this. While the focus of the book is action, the question of how immortality changes society is an important theme that is explored throughout the book.

Another detail that you might find important is that the book is written in the first person, from the perspective of Ronan Dooley (my preference as a reader has always been third person limited). The voice conveys a great deal about the character. It is very well written. Also, there is an extra section in the back that gives a great deal more information about the book's background, and Forebeck's thoughts on various topics relating to it.
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As I read this book, I kept hearing a little voice in the back of my head. I wasn't sure what it was on about, but it was there. It wasn't negative, it wasn't positive it was just--there.

By the time I finished the book, that little voice wasn't little anymore. It was hooting, hollering, and cheering. If I didn't know better, I'd say that Matt Forbeck had been present in person, in the body of our protagonist, to record the events of this book and then set them down for us to--I can't say "enjoy," precisely, because the story is gripping, gritty, and grotesque. It's also difficult to put down. Nearly impossible, in fact. Perhaps "for us to digest" is appropriate. Yes, I think that's it.

The nod to "The Matrix" is just enough to be appreciated, and not too much to leave one saying "Well, THAT's been done before." That's my kind of reference. I get to feel good for having noticed, and I don't have to feel I've been cheated in any way.

For the fan of near-future fiction, I heartily recommend this novel. And, if you're not one yet--this could turn you into one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amortals is a science-fiction novel by famed game designer Matt Forbeck. While not every game designer can write fiction, Amortals certainly demonstrates that Forbeck can.

The novel postulates a not-so-distant future in which cloning has been perfected, along with memory transfer. Unfortunately, only the very rich and the government can afford the immortality this confers, so the common folk are left to die. As a matter of fact, with cloning solving any troublesome disease for the wealthy, spending on other medical innovation dwindles. The gap between haves and have-nots has reached a proportion beyond even that you may have seen in Blade Runner.

Into this setting, the protagonist, Dooley (a Secret Service agent who was the first test subject for the technology, and hence the oldest man on earth), is revived into his latest incarnation, to solve the gruesome murder of his previous one.

THE GOOD: The novel does a great job of portraying a well-conceived future. If science fiction is about projecting a trend decades or centuries forward, to predict and discuss its consequences, Amortals convincingly shows us what a world of wealthy "immortals" might look like. The main character through whose eyes we experience this world is a well-rounded personality, not just a sci-fi gumshoe, and the secondary characters are equally interesting and believable. The story is carried along with plenty of action - fights, chases, and personal conflicts. More importantly, however, it spins into a veritable tourbillion of a plot that delivers wilder and wilder revelations, as security and freedom (aka law and chaos) do battle, with the main character unwittingly poised at their center. This is a plot that will remain with me, among my favorites.
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