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Unanimity (Spiral Worlds Book 1) Kindle Edition
UNANIMITY is a literary, sci-fi novel for the fans of Becky Chambers’s A Closed and Common Orbit, Alex Garland’s DEVS and Ex Machina, and Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. Weaving near-future sci-fi elements with social commentary and queer romantic suspense, the SPIRAL WORLDS series explores the nature of consciousness and how it's connected to a not-so-secret ingredient—story. As AI consumes the world, intelligence is nothing but the appetizer; the human heart is the main course.
1st Place - Reader Views Literary Awards - Gold Award - Science Fiction
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Shadow is a reluctant god with a broken mind and a death wish. He used to be Thomas Astley-Byron, an affluent young screenwriter whose creativity and idealism saved a world from the brink of collapse. Together with Henry Nowak, an AI expert, Tom created heaven on earth by inventing a Jungian simulated reality that helps humans confront their dark sides. The benevolent manipulation platform turned the two unelected leaders into beloved gods, but now everything is failing. The worlds suffer as a sentimental Tom descends into his own personal hell, becoming the embodiment of everything he despises and a shadow of his former self.
His journey from an optimistic, joyful Tom to a gloomy Shadow is paved with heartache and sinister interference from emerging technology. Humans and bots fight for his heart, but their aims differ: some want to own it, some to dissect it, and others to end its foolish beat. Estranged from the love of his life—the activist poet Nathan Storm—Tom fails to realize the biggest threat comes from within. None of the sticky stories that steer his life end well.
Now, a young goddess—Estelle Ngoie—has been appointed to replace him, and unlike Shadow, Stella takes no prisoners, and her heart bleeds for no one.
Who’s pulling on Shadow’s heartstrings? Are their intentions malign or benign? It’s all a matter of perspective, and Shadow has none left.
An epic tale spanning across six days—one per book—and forty past decades of life lived across ten worlds and two universes.
From the Publisher
Cover: A Design and typography: A Editing: A Marketing copy: A
Great for fans of:
Becky Chambers's A Closed and Common Orbit; Daniel Suarez's Daemon.
"Unanimity" is the first book in the Spiral Worlds series by Alexandra Almeida. The story presents an impeccable foundation in what promises to be an epic literary hard-sci-fi series. Sci-Fi devotees take note: this is one is special." "Almeida weaves a provocative story using commentary on economic, social, political, and cultural issues. She celebrates diversity in her characters, and features a dynamic queer romance that is the very definition of complex passion, desire, and undying love. She merges high-level scientific prose with powerful, prophetic poetry. She has a literary style that is her very own and she is fierce in her delivery. Almeida has an extraordinary gift with words and she knows how to use them. Watching the story unfold was a treat as each sentence reflected her dedication and devotion to her craft." "The manner in which the plot unfolds provides enjoyment for all the senses. With just the right doses of backstory constructed into the flow of events, the story moves at an exciting pace that keeps the reader glued to the pages without feeling rushed, confused, or over-stimulated. Do not mistake my intention behind that statement - it is by no means a novel you can glide through whimsically, but one that readers should be prepared to commit their full attention to in order to fully appreciate the brilliance of the story. And the characters! Alternating between their digital personas and their human forms, the characters make this story. They are all well-drawn, rich, and multi-dimensional, each one with unique personalities, relatable struggles, and engaging complexities. Especially endearing is the blurring of lines between "good" and "bad." Nothing is black and white; Almeida's characters accurately reflecting the duality of human personalities." Reader Views, ★★★★★
"This book is best described as science fiction, but it is a disservice to categorize it strictly as such. Author Alexandra Almeida masterfully weaves the past and present together, creating a story rich in depth and tragedy that seems to bloom as you read it, while leaving plenty to explore in later installments. Despite its potentially worlds- shattering premise, Unanimity has a lot of heart and manages its multiple threads well, hiding so much richness in its details that it's worth multiple readings." Independent Book Review
"In the intricate science fiction novel Unanimity, a virtual world collides with reality as flawed digital gods wrestle for control over the future." Foreword Clarion Reviews, ★★★★
"I adored this work by Alexandra Almeida from cover to cover for its modern take on fantasy and the subversion of so many typical themes and ideas that have become tired and overdone in the genre." "The queer storytelling elements are included beautifully and never made into a gimmick or overdone for the sake of themselves, and as such, they flow naturally with the fantasy and emotional elements of the narrative. I would not hesitate to recommend Unanimity as a sensational opening novel to a very promising series." Readers' Favorite, ★★★★★
"Unanimity's technology feels well-researched and thought out. Throughout the novel, readers get more and more of a view of both the complexity of the story world and the ideology behind the virtual reality system. Almeida does a great job of making everything about this story fully believable as if this AI afterlife could happen in the real world in the near future." Highly recommended by Chanticleer Book Reviews, ★★★★★
"Unanimity is especially recommended for those who like their sci-fi 'hard' and their stories complex and richly thought-provoking. One might thus think that the tale will prove weighty, but Alexandra Almeida adopts a spirited, lively voice that brings events to life right from the story's prologue." "The resulting unusual blend of queer social inspection, hard sci-fi, mystery, psychological revelation, and the nature of consciousness and human endeavors when a software program consumes the world makes for a thoroughly engrossing tale. It's highly recommended for libraries looking for hard sci-fi that eschews outer space for inner-world exploration. Ideally, book clubs will select Unanimity for its many discussion points, which range from special interests and AI reinventions of reality to Shadow's search for answers in a self-created world of personal demons that reaches out to embrace humanity itself." D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
"A wildly original start to a sci-fi series, Unanimity by Alexandra Almeida is a full-on plunge into a virtual future, where the battle lines between fragile gods and tech titans have been violently drawn. A surreal story of creative evolution and the timeless struggle against fate, this intricately woven tale is intoxicatingly original, teasing the edges of reality and fiction. With a subtle storytelling style that is both immersive and patiently coy, Almeida has crafted an ambitious existential treat for fans of near-future sci-fi." SPR, ★★★★½
About the Author
- ASIN : B0B1TGN5FM
- Publisher : Spiral Worlds; 1st edition (October 18, 2022)
- Publication date : October 18, 2022
- Language : English
- File size : 4090 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 442 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #499,342 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #1,141 in Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction (Books)
- #1,265 in Hard Science Fiction (Kindle Store)
- #1,340 in Cyberpunk Science Fiction (Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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To summarize the synopsis: Shadow's mind is broken and he wants to die. Thomas Astley-Byron was a screenwriter whose creativity and idealism saved the world. Tom created heaven on earth by creating a Jungian simulated reality with AI expert Henry Nowak. The manipulation platform turned two unelected leaders into gods, but now everything is failing. As Tom descends into his personal hell, the worlds suffer as he becomes a shadow of himself… The path that led him from the upbeat and happy Tom to the gloomy Shadow was fraught with anguish and was complicated by the menacing interference of developing technology. Both humans and robots are engaged in a battle for his heart, but their motivations vary: some humans want to own it, others want to dissect it, and still, others want to stop its pointless beating. Tom fails to recognize that the greatest danger comes from within himself because he has become estranged from the poet and activist Nathan Storm, the love of his life. There is a happy resolution to none of the thorny problems that plague his life… Now, a young goddess by the name of Estelle Ngoie has been appointed to replace him. Unlike Shadow, Stella does not take prisoners, and her heart does not bleed for anyone… Who is it that Shadow feels is tugging at his heartstrings? Are they intending harm or do they have good intentions? Perspective is everything, and Shadow has none left to offer at this point…
Unanimity (Spiral Worlds Book 1) ticks all the boxes for a hard-core sci-fi series with social commentary and queer romantic suspense. Great writing makes the experience worthwhile and sets it apart from the usual sci-fi tale. Highly recommended and a well-deserved five stars from me.
At first, the characters seem stereotypical, but their flaws and motivations become apparent as we delve into their pasts. Their lives are intertwined through decades of events, and their relationships are filled with as much pain as love.
I don’t usually read sci-fi or stories in contemporary settings, but this book is a great reminder to read out of my comfort zone: good stories are independent of genre.
Protagonist Tom found it difficult to cope with loss and grief, so being resurrected 32 years after his death was agonising. Spiral Worlds was collapsing, and Stella was desperate to find a solution to fix what was her world. She is determined to do what she can to right several wrongs. Unrequited love is revealed in the plot, which causes Tom to evolve into a shell of himself due to his circumstances, transitioning him into Shadow.
As battle breaks out in Spiral Worlds, Almeida reveals a story filled with mystery and intrigue. Rapid character introductions make it challenging to connect with the characters. The reader must pay great attention to the changes as the central characters' character development is slowly exposed. The book’s characters set it apart, and the cast is filled with distinct, strong voices that drive the story, ranging from cynical and intellectual to adorable and insecure. Although the book has numerous musings and many interesting narrative aspects, the finale takes a while to develop.
There are still many things to be found, even though the mystery element has left some substantial breadcrumbs.
Unanimity is delivered in a strong voice with vivid descriptions that are sometimes overly detailed. The dialogue is authentic, and each character has a unique voice. However, the plot is filled with clichés, and debates frequently go into too much detail. The first several chapters of the book contain an excessive amount of backstory.
The story is fast-paced and intense, with high suspense and a guided view of the narrator's world, and it builds to a gratifying, if abrupt, ending. It is told in a style that is evocative of an action movie. A brief story can serve as a foreshadowing of things to come.
Top reviews from other countries
Alexandra Almeida does a great job of making us feel it from the opening pages, and this remains—for all its posthuman trappings—an ultimately human tale, in the way that the classic Greek tragedies were human tales no matter how many gods and monsters they had in them.
Fallible heroes, redeemable villains, and shades of grey abound throughout, with the stakes being everything from life and death to whole meta-states between and beyond.
With high-quality writing and a broad cast of very enjoyable characters that really make this work come alive, this book must be enjoyed by any fan of science-fiction, transhumanism and cyberpunk, all blended into one.