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Upload by [McClelland, Mark]
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4.0 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Length: 284 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

McClelland's ambitious debut novel envisions a future in which the vanishing line between virtual reality and "organic life" causes an antisocial genius to conduct the ultimate evolutionary experiment... The author has a particular gift for describing the technological advances, brand names, pop-cultural references and unique detritus of a society dependent on machines for survival and ravaged by virtual-reality addiction... McClelland's slick imagination remains in full gear until the novel's unpredictable conclusion. A thoughtful tale resembling a sci-fi video game viewed in a funhouse mirror. -Kirkus Indie

About the Author

Mark McClelland studied Computer Science and Creative Writing at the University of Michigan's Residential College, where he won a Hopwood Award for poetry.  After graduating in 1994, he promptly sold his soul to his software career, and is now thinking he might need it back.  He writes in search of truths that defy simple, direct expression, and publishes to share his discoveries with others.  He lives in Chicago with his wife, Nancy, and two cats, and is currently working on a children's story featuring a fox named Cyril Frolix.

Product Details

  • File Size: 855 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Mark McClelland; 1 edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009E5RI3E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #763,358 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Review of Upload (Kindle Edition) by Mark McClelland

By Jim Grisham; Saturday, November 10, 2012

Upload by Mark McClelland is a complex and thought-provoking, yet accessible foray into the life of a brilliant but troubled young man, Raymond Quan, and his quest to escape from a world that has done little to inspire loyalty in the orphaned engineer.

It almost troubles me to call this a story of science fiction - it begins about fifty years from today, but the subject matter seems entirely plausible and may be mirrored in reality much sooner. People in Raymond's time seek recreation, pleasure, and sometimes analogues of unremarkable everyday life in virtual reality environments that can be programmed with nearly limitless scenarios and environments.

It is not a stretch to see something similar soon coming to pass in our world, a world where many people are already living somewhat virtual lives through social networks and online gaming. If this virtual environment exists and we can interact with it, could we go one step further and live nearly full-time in this environment, extending our lives with machines; perhaps eventually eschewing the human body altogether and become immortal? If we can do such things, should we? These topics have been broached many times over the years, both in popular media and in non-fiction, but Upload presents a fresh perspective on what could otherwise be a tired subject, in a tangential way to Richard Powers' acclaimed 1995 work Galatea 2.2.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The idea of uploading human minds into a computer system is one I've long been interested in. But the story that propels the concept is weak. The characters are not that interesting, and in the main character's case, he's pretty unlikable from the outset. Made it hard to care what happened to any of them. I found myself slogging forward just to get to the concept of uploading and the philosophical issues therein. That alone was worth the read, if that's your cup of tea. I'd suggest a rewrite. Better character development; shorter, tighter narrative; and don't meander. Stick to the main storyline. Anything that doesn't directly add to the plot should be removed.
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This book surprised me! Not typically a genre I read or enjoy, this is a very fascinating story! I was quite skeptical at the start but hooked at the end of the first chapter. I never knew where the story was headed. For me, it was totally unpredictable and enjoyable throughout.

The writing fluctuates from sciency to beautiful prose. I had a great sense of who the main character was throughout the book. I loved the progression he made from sheltered and self-protective to his end state.

The themes of the book are what are most captivating. The overall theme is that this is a love story - the main character is one who doesn't feel like he deserves to be loved. Another theme is the dichotomy between those who want to be alone and live safely and protected in their own world verses those who need human contact in order to thrive. Lastly is the theme of desiring to be part of something bigger in life. All three themes are nicely woven and intertwined.

If you don't enjoy science fiction or techy kinds of books, no worries here. There is enough of the beautiful writing and imaginative storyline for you to look past the genre. And when you get to the end, you won't believe it's over. I think this book will stay with me for quite some time. Thank you, Mr. McClelland!
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On the whole this was an interesting story while not completely original in its concept. The characters were OK. Many seem to not like the main character but I found him relateable in his imperfection. What I could not stand was how the story seemed to unravel toward the end and the end itself. I honestly thought my Kindle had an issue and skipped ahead. A cliff hanger or semi ambiguous ending is OK if done well. This was not. It seems the end here was only crafted to setup sales for s second book. There are ways to leave a story open to a sequel while still giving the reader the sense of a complete experience. This book did not achieve that. Authors need to be up front that this is part 1 of 2 if they are going to do this.
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It took me a while to read through to the end of this book. It just didn't hold me riveted the way some good stories do. I'm a computer person who has spent time working with virtual worlds, so I was interested in what the author could come up with. Without an interest in virtual worlds, I think I would have put this book down and gone on to something else. Here are some of my thoughts on this book:

The book is entirely from the point of view of one person and I found that I would like to have known more about some of the other character backgrounds.
The world is recognizable as an extension of our current world, but I found a few strange turns. That computer security would get more lax grated on my nerves a little. The main character walks through computer security with little difficulty.
The nanotechnology used for the v-chambers is fascinating, but without any mention of just what that style of nanotech would do for the world. At that level, it would be an amazingly disruptive technology. It seemed to me that some of the computer technology was incredibly advanced, but most other technologies were not.
While you could call the main character a punk, the story is not really cyber punk (except for one virtual world that would fit the bill).
I found the story a little uneven. Slow and plodding at times and other times, racing ahead fast enough to seem like it was skipping.

This is the first book in a series and end on a real cliff-hanger with a possibility of the death of the main character (or a copy of him, anyway) and I found that I really didn't care whether he lives or dies. I was more happy that I had finished the book (I like to finish one before going on to another).
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