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Buyout Paperback – March 31, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this neat, high-concept thriller, Irvine (The Narrows) introduces us to L.A. in the year 2040, where global warming and high-tech identity theft are daily facts of life. Martin Kindred, a mid-level insurance executive, works for a company pioneering a radical new prison cost-cutting program. Convicts serving life without parole are offered millions of dollars in exchange for immediately taking the needle, and Martin is tasked with vetting the prisoners for execution and presenting the awards to their beneficiaries. The controversial program immediately revitalizes the pro-life movement and puts increased strains on Martin's already fragile marriage. Then Martin's brother, a cop, is murdered and both the program and his life begin to unravel. This well-written, suspenseful and just slightly absurdist novel will appeal strongly to fans of classic dystopian science fiction with a smooth modern twist. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Painfully honest and not necessarily apt to think things through, Martin Kindred is the only man in his family who isn’t a cop. He has a lot to prove, he thinks, and being hired to be the front man for life-term buyouts seems like the perfect opportunity. “Life-term buyouts?” With ever-rising prison populations, the only solution seems to be privatization. The question then becomes how to make a profit. The answer is simple: offer those serving life without parole early buyouts; that is, give the prisoner millions for any specified beneficiary in exchange for accepting lethal injection. Martin is buyout’s public face, who reaps the benefits of attendant popularity but takes the fall when things go wrong. The political underpinnings of the buyout system start to come clear when Martin lets it get personal. Irvine expertly manages an atmosphere of pressure and political machination to complement the development of a discomfiting imagined future. --Regina Schroeder
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Original edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345494334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345494337
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,870,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading BUYOUT. It had been years since I read a nominal "SF" book. I found it to be very realistic about what living in the USA will be like in the near future, with the rapid expansion of digital technology and the loss of privacy. I bought into the "rebel underground" quality of some of the characters interwoven with law enforcement, big business, politics, etc - in short, a holistically complete social-slice-of-life adventure with an absorbing plot, real characters with depth, plot twists ( to say the least! ), and gadgetophile hooks. There's even a thorough diversion into probability that should satisfy any self-respecting savvy syfy sociologist. BUY BUYOUT lol.....no kidding. And yes, I'll read it again!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Irvine's way ahead of the pack on this one. This deserves to be a movie script. This is the future of the death penalty.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first half of the book discussed the ethical dilemma of is it ok for someone who is in prison for life without parole to choose execution and have part of the cost of keeping him alive for years given to whoever he wished as retribution. The discussion was long-winded and seemed to lead nowhere. It wasn't resolved one way or the other by the end of the book.

The second half of the book was after a character is killed, the protagonist has to figure out who did it. This was better and more interesting.

The best part of the book was the portrayal of life in 2040. It seemed like a realistic extrapolation of today's technology. However, this had nothing to do with the story, The book was science fiction because of this technology, but could have been set in 2013, in 1940, or even 1740. The basic issue had nothing to do with the technology.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The writing was awful, and boring. It was not a real science fiction story. The futuristic elements were not essential to the story. It was a not particularly inventive story either. I don't understand how this author won any awards.
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Format: Paperback
I love Sci-fi of all kinds, but I am drawn to those works that are outside the cliche. Those books/films that assume the technology, integrate the gadgets and functional artifacts, rather than attempt to build a story upon them. I read for the characters, for the arc of their unfolding in the story, for the ideas the story inspires and that with which the story is involved. Alex Irvine understands this so well that I could understand how a few "laser gun" sci-fi fans would miss it, and many non-sci-fi fans would get it. These are crude characterizations, but take them for what they are worth. This is not a shot against the "laser gun" fan or that sort of sci-fi, which I enjoy as distraction, as escape or just pure sensory enjoyment. However, one must be interested in the deeper promise offered by the writer of sci-fi who is using the potential of a slightly skewed future reality as vehicle, to the fullest.

To the book: It is carefully written, patient and excellent. The myriad perspectives explored from its character's various points-of-view add richness and completeness to the central concept. They do not distract or belabor. What is perfectly disturbing about Irvine's voice in this particular work is that just a couple of years after the release of Buyout I read a story about the first state prison being sold to a private corrections company...and now Irvine is prophetic. This is thrilling, in the same manner Brave New World or 1984 are thrilling or any great work of foretelling. In Buyout Irvine explores many unintentional consequences, moral and ethical implications, and practical eventualities arising from the foundation of imprisonment as a concept,and a system, as well as a socio-cultural practice. Here in the USA, it is also an irony ripe for the picking!
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Format: Paperback
Buyout should be made into a movie. It is a fascinating contemporary novel that deals with real social issues regarding our prison system, our treatment of prisoners, and the privatization of the prison industry. The concepts presented have real implications in today's world. I found the characters very human and believable in their relationships to one another. The futuristic nature of the technology presented in the story was completely believable. All in all, I couldn't put it down and hope for more books from this fine author.
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