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Gray Matters [Mass Market Paperback]

4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Mass Market Paperback, 1974 --  

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • ASIN: B0055Q8PBK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarrely Brilliant 24 Jun 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a story about brains. Most of the human race have had their brains extracted from their skulls and put in filing cabinets wired to the world-wide databank. Thus everyone can have the permanent illusion of living and doing things while saving space. It's very weird. I lent it to my mother to read and she said it was "pure filth from beginning to end." Ermm... there may be a bit of sex in it... kinky, weird. There may also be a bit of gore: a shotgun blast, for example, and a fantasy torture dream. There's quite a lot of gore in that last one, actually. Don't lend it to your mother.

One thing puzzles me: if it really was pure filth, why did my mother keep reading it? She must have read it all, otherwise she wouldn't have known that it was filth all the way through. She wouldn't be happy to be told this, so I have kept quiet.

Various characters are introduced. There's a brain who used to be an actress. Where are those long legs, those lovely breasts now? Where are those smouldering violet eyes? Dust and ashes. However, the depraved mind which used to look out through those eyes is entirely intact. There's a teenage boy who hasn't grown up properly. The managers of the brain repository try to give him various experiences to encourage him to mature. There is a scheming malevolent character called Obu Itubi who doesn't want to stay as a brain. He wants to escape into a real human body in the real world, and succeeds, for a while at least...

"Tour de Force" says the blurb on the cover and it's right. The author writes in a direct, efficient style, without unnecessary drama, so every twist of the story arrives with a powerful impact.

I enjoyed it hugely. Parts of the story, and in fact the whole concept, can be described as bizarre, weird and rather unnerving. When I first read it I was impressed at the sheer imagination. Definitely recommended.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars classic 70s odd ball sc-fi 23 May 2012
By Arthur
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Totally imaginative and original post hippy 70s sc-fi. Strange tale of a futuristic brain transplanted virtual reality. File under overlooked cult classic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best ever? 9 Nov 2005
By Mike Linley - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This has to be one of the best books I have ever read if not THE best. I am a real bookworm and have read a ton of stuff from hundreds of authors but this just blew my mind. I have been looking for a copy since first reading 'Gray Matters' over 20 years ago. Unfortunately, I could not remember the name of the author (sorry William!), although I never forgot his sheer brilliance.

I'd recommend this one to any intelligent adult reader interested in science fiction; this one really is the dog's bits and pieces!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars View of a future... 7 Mar 2012
By Kortick - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I decided to read this book because it was written by the same author of Angel Heart, the novel the film of the same name was based on. I enjoyed that novel and movie so much I wanted to read more by this author.
This novel would be consider sci-fi. It revolves around a world in which perfection of the human race is the desired goal. But is perfection something that is achievable or even desired?
This novel raises many questions and the characters are used to provide different aspects and points of view.
It is most definitely an interesting read and one that leaves you to draw your own conclusions about the future that is planned out in the novel as being a plus or a minus for the human race.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written book that has appeal beyond the realm of science fiction 17 Oct 2013
By Drjohnrock - Published on
I first read this marvelous book in its initial paperback release. The previous reviews have discussed the basic premises and plot of the book, which are indeed thought provoking. But what really makes Great Matters special is William Hjortsberg's superior writing ability. He creates a future world with such crisp and vivid imagery that you can practically envision it. Add to that Hjortsberg's fine (and at sometimes wickedly cynical) sense of humor and lively imagination and you have a great read. Science fiction fans would no doubt enjoy Great Matters. But even if you're like me and not really a sci-fi fanatic, there's still a lot to enjoy in this book
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Utopian/Distopian vision is unique 22 Aug 2001
By Rae Schwarz - Published on
This is one of those books that gets better once you finish it. That's when the arguements start: was the ending happy or not? Here Hjortsberg depicts a future where man has abandoned the flesh. Every being is a bodiless brain, trying for enlightenment so that they may be placed in a body and allowed to roam the earth. The main action of the story involves Ibuti, a man placed in a body while still possessing the ego attachments of the "unenlightened." He discovers a frighteningly peaceful world, but is universal peace enough?
11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the greatest sci fi ever written 26 July 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Hjortsberg is the greatest writer in history. This is the best science fiction book ever written.... I hope i'm not beating around the bush too much. Read this book (get past the first few pages) and you will soon be telling everyone you know the exact same thing that I've told you.
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