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New Model Army Paperback – April 15, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Comparable to Swift, Orwell and Atwood'―THE TIMES

About the Author

Adam Roberts is Professor of 19th-century Literature at London University. His first novel, SALT was shortlisted for the ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD, as was his novel GRADISIL. His novel SWIFTLY was shortlisted for a SIDEWISE AWARD. He has also published a number of academic works on both 19th-century poetry and SF, and is a regular contributer on SF for the BBC and various online venues.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (April 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575083611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575083615
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,985,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tanstaafl VINE VOICE on July 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All vote; all put the result of the vote into action; all work together to create a favorable ending to the endeavor; repeat until ultimate goal is met. What a system!

Roberts has given us an army of one multiplied by how ever many happen to be around. Each is involved in doing what needs done, and is trained well enough to be able to do many jobs well, if not perfectly. The hierarchy is not eliminated, it is not needed in the first place. Being wirelessly "wired in" to one another and making use of real time electronic systems lets this army be mobile, organized, and effective.

"Take me to your leader" has no meaning when talking with a member of the NMA. Instead, there is a "democracy" in play that makes both no one and everyone a "leader". One of the more fascinating premises of the book is the willingness of all to make immediate compromises - and act in a professional manner when the compromise went against a particular soldier's desire.

There have been some "armies" that operated in similar fashion to that invented by Roberts. The actions of guerrilla forces often act in an independent fashion tactically, even though the overall strategy is set by a formal leadership.

I was fascinated by the concept Roberts proposed and while it is appealing, I'm still trying to come to grips with the practical application, given egos and ambition that are such a large part of human nature. This was well worth the time and, though there are some disjoints, the mental exercise was fun.
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By Diziet on March 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the first Adam Roberts book I have read. And I have to say that I don't understand how I could have missed such a wonderful author for so long.

I notice that when a sci-fi book is particularly successful, it is no longer referred to as sci-fi but often as the rather more upmarket 'speculative fiction'. Well, it doesn't really matter, but it falls into a fairly well-developed branch of sci-fi, along with books such as Ken MacLeod's 'The Star Fraction', possibly Neal Stephenson's 'Zodiac' - politically motivated, near-future, high-tech and web-enabled.

Politically, the book harks back to Roberts' first novel 'Salt', with a strictly non-hierarchical anarchistic 'People's Army' running rings around the conventional forces. It is set in a similar future period and geography as Ken MacLeod's 'The Star Fraction', and the supporting tech is clearly one possible extrapolation of the World Wide Web, smart phones, peer-to-peer networking. Whether it is a truly realistic extrapolation and whether this libertarian army could actually function feels less important than the air of optimism, of hope in an alternative future that the novel somehow brings. Again, for me, a very similar experience to 'The Star Fraction'.

However, it is darker and far more realistically human than Ken MacLeod's first novel. I found the central character wholly believable, wholly sympathetic, someone I ended up really caring about.
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Adam Roberts is a British writer and this is the only book from him I've read so far.
New Model Army is a very original and interesting and a little crazy near future military science fiction novel. It is written from the point of view of a soldier of a new type of always online democratic (sort of) army supposedly built under the same egalitarian concepts as the Wikipedia. It is a very crazy idea but Mr. Roberts develops it intelligently and makes it (almost) credible. It is also a very bleak narrative of the end of civilization as we know it; its destruction produced, or accelerated, by the world-wide proliferation of these type of armies, which are voluntary, cheap, easy to assemble, and also easy to dis-assemble and get its members all online, all connected all the time, but at the same time untraceable in the middle of any city, anywhere in the world. Scary but plausible and well written.
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A very enjoyable read - surprising at times, a little twisted, but very enjoyable. It explores some ideas that have been mulling in my own head for a while and therefore resonated with me. Unfortunately, I think the exploration falls a little short and there's a lot of holes as a result, but as an abstract exploration of the idea of a true 'democracy', it's a really interesting and entertaining read. I can see how it might be shocking to conservative readers (in terms of the concepts explored, rather than the blatant shock-value of the main character's personal lifestyle.) Still, worthy of a read and a discussion afterwards.
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The plot idea was interesting, but the book tried for depth that it wasn't able to achieve. If you're interested in what a world might look like where FPS gamers became real soldiers, this book is for you.
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