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Gemsigns (Revolution 1) Paperback – 28 Mar 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books; paperback / softback edition (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780878656
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780878652
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.9 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 629,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Before she got around to being an author, Stephanie Saulter developed real estate, managed restaurants, was a corporate executive, a public policy wonk, a management consultant, and founded the Scriptopus interactive website for writing short fiction. She doesn't have a poor attention span; on the contrary she finds lots of things interesting, and figures you learn more by doing. Few of her jobs would appear to have any relationship to her Humanities degree (English literature and anthropology) from MIT, but she would disagree. She lives in London.

Stephanie's second novel, BINARY, has just been published in the UK and Commonwealth. It follows GEMSIGNS, which will be released in the US in May. They are the first and second books of the ®Evolution trilogy; she's now working on the third, GILLUNG. Stephanie is published by Jo Fletcher Books (an imprint of Quercus Publishing).

Product Description


'A fascinating and compelling read, exploring the boundaries of human behaviour, religious influences, and the morality of the everyday person. It comes highly recommended' Starburst magazine.

'An incredibly emotive read ... hugely gripping' SciFi Now.

'A smart, confident debut ... It touches of themes of slavery, of fear of the unknown other, on religious symbolism and ethical questions' Fantasy Faction.

'Absolutely amazing ... Unmistakable talent and great story-telling mix well' Speculating Spec Fiction.

'Saulter writes extremely well ... A powerful commentary on contemporary society and politics' Civilian Reader.

'Well-written and thought provoking, Gemsigns is an all-around superb debut from Stephanie Saulter, and another winner from Jo Fletcher Books. 4.5 out of 5' The BiblioSanctum.

'An intriguing, well-written and well-conceived novel' For Winter Nights.

'Takes on a tough subject, treats it with honesty, and comes out making the reader feel better about things' Two Dudes in an Attic.

From the Back Cover

Humanity stands on the brink. Again. Surviving the Syndrome meant genetically modifying almost every person on the planet. But norms and gems are different. Gems may have the superpowers that once made them valuable commodities, but they also have more than their fair share of the disabled, the violent and the psychotic. After a century of servitude, freedom has come at last for the gems, and not everyone's happy about it. The gemtechs want to turn them back into property. The godgangs want them dead. The norm majority is scared and suspicious, and doesn't know what it wants. Eli Walker is the scientist charged with deciding whether gems are truly human, and as extremists on both sides raise the stakes, the conflict descends into violence. He's running out of time, and with advanced prototypes on the loose, not everyone is who or what they seem. Torn between the intrigues of ruthless executive Zavcka Klist and brilliant, badly deformed gem leader Aryel Morningstar, Eli finds himself searching for a truth that might stop a war.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada on 20 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
When I first read the description for Gemsigns in the spring catalogue for Jo Fletcher Books I was immediately intrigued. It sounded quite interesting and post-apocalyptic and more focused on humanity's development than on hard technical developments. What I hadn't expected when I started the novel, was how much I would enjoy it. I loved the concept of the gems and the norms and the emancipation of the gems poses one of the most elemental philosophical questions: what makes us human? While the question is formulated a little differently - or rather Eli Walker's research assignment is to discover what makes us normal - in essence the question isn't normalcy, but humanity.

Gemsigns has an interesting narrative structure. It starts off with a third party narrator, who seemingly stands outside the narrative - we never learn their identity - and who introduces some of the main characters of the book. Then we have an omniscient narration but from shifting viewpoints with several main characters - Eli, Aryel, Gaela, Bal, John, and Gabriel - and some incidental viewpoints, such as Klist, George the reporter, and Mikal, to name a few. I haven't encountered this type of narration often, usually third person is limited and first person is by definition limited, unless your narrator is a telepath, but I haven't encountered that yet. It works beautifully, though, and the story flows very smoothly and well-paced. Scattered through the book are some articles and academic papers that provide background information to what has gone before and the origin of the gems. These are clever info dumps, but due to their nature not annoyingly so, as academic papers are by definition information-dense to the nth-degree.
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By Kate TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 July 2014
Format: Paperback
In the near future, the human race is ravaged by the Syndrome, a disease that strikes almost all young people, ultimately reducing them to a catatonic state, removing an entire generation from the Earth. Although many of their children have been immunised from this disease, brought on by a conflict between technology and humanity, the world's population is reduced to such an extent that it is in need of radical help in order to prevent a return to the Middle Ages. Genetically modified humans - Gems - are the solution. Engineered by gemtechs, each of these highly specialised workers bears gemsigns, from the flourescent colour of their hair to any number of specific clues to their special abilities, such as large ears, extra fingers and even gills. But some gemsigns are invisible.

A year before the novel begins, the Declaration was signed, a document that aimed to provide some relief to a situation that had become increasingly tense in the hundred years or so since the Syndrome. After a century of slavery, ownership and cruelty, with human numbers on the increase again, the Declaration granted some rights to Gems, allowing them to settle in the unwanted ruins of London and other deserted centres. But `Norms' continue to restrict the movement and livelihoods of Gems and so a conference is called to decide the status of Gems once and for all. The man tasked with listening to both sides and presenting his findings is Dr Eli Walker. But as the days countdown to the opening of the conference, the tension mounts and violence erupts. A few key individuals have to work to hold everything together, while in the centre is a young boy, Gabriel, whose identity and abilities have enormous significance for the future of mankind. Should he survive.
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By Anna B on 29 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading this pretty impressive and assured first novel by Stephanie Saulter. I'm not a huge fan of science fiction or speculative fiction other than the classics like The Handmaid's Tale and Brave New World so I approached this book with a little trepidation.

Using a mix of reportage and social media within the narrative Stephanie places the action in a week of high level talks that could change the nature of Gemsign society.

In a plot that zips along we meet all kinds of genetic modified humans and get a feel for how society developed used Gems, firstly as a survival mechanism and their subsequent treatment.In an echo of how we have treated our own society in a variety of good and bad ways it reflects the influences on decision making - from the profiteers to politicians and the actions of those who fear difference - and how we change our minds depending on who says what in the public domain and how this is never set.

I didn't see the ending coming, which was great as they are often well signposted of can be a bit lame - for a non science fiction fan like me it was a great read and I look forward to reading more about Gems in the future..
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Gemsigns over two days and found sleeping an intrusion!! It is breathtaking - poignant, exciting, challenging, humorous and compassionate.
I am not a sci-fi fan and started it with some reservations about the story line, but within the first 20 pages I was intrigued, then utterly hooked! I found myself having to retrace my steps at times to check I understood a connection Saulter wanted me (the reader) to make, but that process became part of my enjoyment of the story.
The sense of 'holding my breath' persisted through the last four or five chapters, the suspense was addictive!
I love trilogies - His Dark Materials (Pullman), Millennium Trilogy (Larsson), Lord of the Rings (Tolkein) are among my favourites. For me, Gemsigns is equal to these as a ‘first book in the set’ – it left me excited and impatient for the next one - a wonderful, thought provoking and memorable read.
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