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The Gone World Hardcover – February 6, 2018
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“The Gone World has already created quite a stir. . . . The book probes questions about consciousness and crime that call to mind, among others, True Detective and 12 Monkeys.”—EW.com
“The Gone World will horrify and fascinate readers in equal measure. It is also a primer on cutting-edge theories about time travel and astrophysics...Prepare to be dazzled.”—Pittsburg Post-Gazette
“In Shannon Moss, Sweterlitsch has created a protagonist reminiscent of Clarice Starling—fearless, damaged, driven—and placed her in the most original novel I’ve come across in years. I simply loved The Gone World. Set against a murder investigation spanning multiple realties, this is big-idea fiction that defies genre in the best possible way. Epic and mind-bending in scope, it carries the reader through on beautifully rendered, human moments.”—Blake Crouch, New York Timesbestselling author of Dark Matter and the Wayward Pines trilogy
“Another visionary blend of science fiction and mystery. Set in Western Pennsylvania, an NCIS special agent is called on to solve a mass murder, only to be caught up in a time-travel vortex of deceit and intrigue.”—Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“A fascinating blend that doesn’t skimp on the criminal investigation or the [sci fi]...Describing much more than [the] simple setup would rob the reader of the trippy experience of navigating the time-travel intricacies of this nail-biting speculative thriller.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A mind-blowing fusion of science fiction, thriller, existential horror, and apocalyptic fiction...The power of this novel is two-fold: Sweterlitsch’s intricately plotted storyline will keep readers on the edges of their seats until the very last pages, and his extended use of bleak imagery coupled with his lyrical writing style make for an intense and unforgettable read...This darkly poetic and profoundly disturbing glimpse into the potential last days of humankind will surely haunt readers’ dreams long after the book is finished.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Billed as Inception meets True Detective, this scifi thriller follows a secret agent within the NCIS as she investigates a strange murder and a related missing-person case that ... could possibly bring about the end of life as we know it." —Io9
“At once futuristic, nightmarish and hard-boiled. Once again Tom Sweterlitsch takes readers to another world and back again. Take the trip.”—Stewart O'Nan
“Compelling...The multiple futures and the contemporary setting showcase world-building at its finest, while the characterizations are thought provoking and grittily realistic...A page-turner from beginning to end!”—RT Book Reviews
“[An] investigation into the gruesome murder of a Navy SEAL’s family takes some science fictional turns. . . Sweterlitsch juggles all of these balls masterfully. His Moss feels fully realized and the plot is propulsive.” —Locus Magazine
“In a word: Whoa! Edge-of-your-seat crime fiction that bends both time and mind. Think True Detective meets 12 Monkeys. Throw in the end of the world and you can begin to imagine where this gut-twisting tale will take you. This is cross-genre fiction at its best.”—Sylvain Neuvel, author of Sleeping Giants
About the Author
Tom Sweterlitsch, author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow, has a master's Degree in literary and cultural theory from Carnegie Mellon and worked for twelve years at the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and daughter.
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READ IT! You'll not be sorry!
Shannon Moss is an NCIS investigator, seasoned in navigating Deep Space and Deep Time, but the case she’s assigned to in 1997 of a slain family of a Navy SEAL, who was presumed MIA while on the disappeared Deep Time ship the U.S.S. Libra, and his missing daughter is wreaking havoc on both her personal life, with her connections to the location where the murders took place, and the future of the world, with the impending doom of Terminus moving closer and closer. In trying to find the missing girl, solve the case, and help prevent the end of the world, Shannon collaborates with standard law enforcement, but also travels to possible futures to gain clues to aid the current investigation.
Though reliant on science fiction elements to achieve time and space travel, as well as discuss a multiverse-esque possible futures scenario, the rest of the novel wasn’t too sci-fi heavy and instead focused more on aspects of a crime procedural. I found it an intriguing concept to essentially work toward reverse engineering a point of divergence, where you know the future and you try to make the necessary modifications to the past to alter the events of the future to a more desirable outcome (although let’s not say that the epilogue is a narratively desirable outcome)- ultimately it makes you question what reality is and how you’re related to it. Various acronyms were used for quite a long time in the text before they were explained to the reader, which is something that I always find irksome, particularly in a novel where there are many acronyms or field-specific jargon in use.
The Gone World is incredibly smart, and gritty, and even though it's science fiction, the spaceships and time travel feel completely realistic. But in describing the ever-encroaching apocalypse (the Terminus), the author also provides lasting images of incomprehensible horror - not prurient, not gory, but completely, utterly alien - think modern Lovecraft, but better. There's lots of police procedural content, and those familiar with the lonely detective type will recognize our hero. The action scenes are gripping and nerve-wracking, and will satisfy any fan of smart thrillers.
I have spent the week since I read this book thinking about it, and I plan to read it again soon. It is absolutely without a doubt the best book I've read this year - it absolutely captivated my imagination and thrilled me with its originality. I absolutely recommend it to lovers of thrillers, science fiction, gritty contemporary mystery, and speculative fiction - and anyone looking for a layered, complex, intelligent read.
(I read this book as an ARC; these are my opinions, unaffected by receiving an early copy. I really dug this book!)
The story starts in 1997. Shannon Moss is an NCIS agent for a clandestine division that actually travels through space, using a secret lunar base, and forward through time, trying to prevent the end of the world.
There are different strands that can be traveled, showing different versions of the future, none of which might come true. The only constant is the Terminus, showing the end of the world.
I did enjoy the book and especially protagonist Moss - except for the epilogue. I deducted 1/2 star from my rating (making this a 3 1/2 star rating if that was possible) because of the awkward epilogue. I am hoping, since I'm reading an Advanced Reading Copy of this book, that the author might reconsider and rewrite the ending.
I received this book from Putnam Books through Edelweiss in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review.