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The Games Hardcover – March 13, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for The Games and Ted Kosmatka

"Exacting science and meticulous attention to detail provide the backbone for this thriller, which blends the best of Crichton and Koontz." --Publishers Weekly [Starred review]

"Very like something Michael Crichton might have written...An outstanding debut novel; expect big things from Kosmatka." --Booklist [Starred Review]

"Kosmatka successfully captures the thrill of groundbreaking technology characteristic of Michael Crichton’s technothrillers. . .The pleasure of his polished, action-packed storytelling is deepened by strong character development. This near-future sf thriller will capture the imagination of 'unstoppable monster' lovers and fans of disaster fiction alike and seems destined for the big screen." --Library Journal [Starred Review]

“Kosmatka’s debut novel is a…technological thriller that revs up like a racecar with a dose of bad attitude and steadily creeping horror… [Readers] who enjoy the karmic boomerang of authors like Michael Crichton or Preston and Child should eat this up.–School Library Journal [starred review]
"I stayed up very late just to finish this, and The Games certainly lives up to its buzz...The Games is a sci-fi/thriller with unexpected depth and humanity, and a few twists that I didn’t see coming. Very highly recommended!" --My Bookish Ways

“Modern SF started with something like E. E. Smith’s The Skylark of Space and progressed to Jack Williamson’s The Legion of Space, then to Heinlein’s classics, and on through the work of Larry Niven, John Varley, Greg Egan, Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow—and now, writers like Ted Kosmatka.”—Jonathan Strahan

About the Author

Ted Kosmatka was born and raised in northwest Indiana and spent more than a decade working in various laboratories there before moving to the Pacific Northwest. His short fiction has been nominated for both the Nebula Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. He now works in the videogame industry where he’s a full-time writer at Valve, home of Half-Life, Portal and Dota 2.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; First Edition edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345526619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345526618
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,876,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By Brendan Moody VINE VOICE on February 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The thing about a novel like this is that the reader spends a good deal of it anticipating something he knows is going to happen. When an unprecedented, dangerous science fiction phenomenon is in play, you're just waiting for it to get out of control and threaten the main characters. So when The Games introduces its gladiator, an animal genetically engineered for viciousness in an international sporting event, and tells us that through some fluke even the scientists who made it don't understand how it works, it's clear that at some point the gladiator's going to be shredding more than its scheduled opponents. That doesn't mean, though, that in such a book everything that happens before the catastrophe doesn't matter or can be ignored. In those pages the author can make the characters sympathetic, so that eventual threats to their safety have meaning, and develop the situation so that the reader enjoys the heroes' unwitting failure to recognize what's about to happen. Unfortunately, Ted Kosmatka fails on both counts. The characters are, despite some evident effort to build them up, dull, and the scenario is so obviously flawed that the characters also seem stupid for not realizing as much. Worse, when the action finally arrives it isn't all that exciting. The Games delivers exactly the experience you would expect, with little or no stylistic flair, and unless you like this kind of story a lot it's an easy book to pass by.

The protagonist, Silas Williams, is head geneticist at the firm responsible for engineering the American gladiator. He's expected to continue the USA's winning streak in this contest that, despite being nothing like the Olympics, has become a part of it, and a big source of American pride.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
You have to admire the genius of "the pitch" as well as the marketing executives and publicists that come up with pithy phrases or easily identifiable concepts to help pre-sell books or movies. It's an invaluable sales tool that can work wonders, but can also lead to disappointment. Ted Kosmatka's debut novel "The Games" hooked me with the tantalizing promise of "Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games." The wonderful visuals and possibilities of just such a pairing are virtually irresistible! Seriously, GREAT PITCH!!! And yet, while Kosmatka has served up a fun and gruesome adventure, it never quite fulfills the expectations that it was sold on. But, you know what, that's okay. Judged on its own merits, this is a page turning chiller that does incorporate Crichton-esque concepts into fast paced escapism. It's a satisfying science fiction vision that sets up a terrific premise, but doesn't always follow through as efficiently as it might. While it may not rank with my favorites, it is certainly a book that I tore right through and is an easy recommendation to fans of the genre.

I think it's fair to say that "The Games" doesn't aspire to be the next literary masterwork, it aims to entertain with its chilling and unusual premise that combines genetic engineering with artificial intelligence. And that it does. The most compelling character in "The Games" is a computer genius perched on the edge of sanity. Having created a revelatory computer, complete with an adaptive system of learning, Evan Chandler has become increasingly removed from reality. Set in the not-so-distant future, the book posits a world where the Olympic ceremonies kick off with an International battle of genetically engineered creatures.
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Format: Hardcover
The Games, Ted Kosmatka's first full length novel, has already garnered comparisons to some heavy hitters like Jurassic Park and The Relic. I like both of those books, so was certainly anxious to give it a try. The Games is similar to those titles, but only in general theme (how much should we be tampering with DNA), but otherwise, it's an entirely unique creature (at least to me.) Silas Williams is our go-to guy here, and even though he's a brilliant scientist, the author paints a picture of a rather haunted man. One who is beginning to have second thoughts about the career that's buoyed him most of his adult life. Divorced and childless, creating the genetic mishmash creatures for The Games has so far fulfilled him, even if they are inevitably destroyed. The Games is a disturbing event coinciding with the Olympics that pits genetically altered creations against each other in brutal gladiatorial combat. The only hard and fast rule is "no human DNA". I like to think that anyone with an ounce of compassion wouldn't go near something like this, but the truth of the matter is that people would probably be buying tickets in droves. *Shudder* Silas is gearing up for a year pretty much like any other when his newest creation is "born", and it's like nothing he's ever seen before. This creature not only looks unlike anything in the animal kingdom, it soon begins showing an alarming amount of strength and intelligence, so Silas begins digging deeper into its creation, since this time, things went just a little bit differently...

If you're anything like me, you're probably wondering how you could possibly like a character that creates creatures just to fight to the death, a la dog and chicken fighting on a grand scale, yes? I admit, I was skeptical, but like Silas you will.
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