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Hot Head [Paperback]

Simon Ings
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

27 Feb 2014

An ambitious SF novel that is at once post-cyberpunk and post-modern. Complex, multi-layered, it combines hard science, tarot and images of late 20th-century Europe to make something utterly original. And introduces a memorable new heroine to the genre...

Malise has a problem. She's come downwell to Earth, but years of space combat have ruined her: her muscles have wasted away, her past is a confused torture of events and her brain is wired to addictive military hardware that's illegal on Earth.

But with an AI mining probe returning to Earth, having bred and grown until it is hundreds of miles across, Malise is in the firing line again. The probe is indestructible and it is insatiable for more metals. No one knows how to stop it. Malise doesn't know she has a blueprint for humanity's survival wired into her head.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (27 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057513061X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575130616
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've published seven novels and one book of popular science. I also write for the broadsheets and science press.

I began my career writing thrillers and science fiction to explore perception and cognition - interests that now feed into the science writing. The novels, meanwhile, have broadened into epic "secret histories" that weave personal destinies around social and political trends (hence various obligatory comparisons to Pynchon, DeLillo, Ballard...). The most recent novel, Wolves, explores fantasies of the collapse of Western civilisation. (No pressure there, then.)

I'm currently editing Arc, a digital quarterly of futures and fiction developed by New Scientist magazine. I'm also editing NS's culture section, and writing a book about science under Stalin for Faber. And another novel. I also make a mean White Lady. (Just saying...)

Product Description

Amazon Review

There is something perverse about a story of hi-tech high adventure which not only insists on describing the damaged childhood of the heroine in quietly sinister detail, but holds the attention while it does so. Simon Ings' first novel has a charismatically neurotic protagonist--a lapsed Islamic cyborg with a defective exoskeleton nostalgic for the extra senses that the authorities have taken away. She was part of a military force that saved the world once, from the angry Artificial Intelligence Moonwolf, but she is reduced to making blue movies to get access to exotic sensory equipment. And no matter how badly the authorities have behaved, they will always need you when the Earth is in danger again... This is less a cyberpunk novel than one which shares some of the same noirish preoccupations as cyberpunk--AI, the extension of human senses, strange virtual realities--in this case a decrepit seaside resort that is also a lesbian paradise of wistfulness and good coffeeshops. And the heroine does come through, and the world does get saved, but this was never going to be a book that ended otherwise. Hot Head is a remarkable debut, full of startling imagery and set pieces of bizarrely inventive action. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The extraordinary debut SF novel that announced Simon Ings as a major new genre talent, reissued.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
'This guy is incandescent' goes the cover blurb on my edition, which I picked up on spec in a motorway service station. The next day I had finished it and was in mourning that there was no more. Ings paints a jagged and terrifying picture of our future. At our fingertips is brain compatable hardware, (datafat), von Neuman self replicating machines and easy space travel. We also have dead seas, shattered cities and sinister conspiracies. Same old same old us with nasty new toys. There are, naturally, also aliens in this book, like much science fiction. And like most Sci-fi there is speculation on what an alien intelligence is like. Ings' gives these aliens a motive and a means to be a very threatening presence throughout the book. The difference is that these aliens are as much a by product of human technology as nuclear waste is a by product of nuclear power. It's just that nuclear waste is more benign... Malise, the central character is as damged and twisted as the broken landscape she inhabits, gifted, but not in control of those gifts. This is a starkly and dangerously imagined, hecticly paced vision. Read it and hope it doesn't happen...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really good. 16 Mar 2014
By Gary
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There's a serious lack of information online about this author and any of his books before "Wolves", but those who know him tend to think he helped shaped the genre. Maybe he did, but I'd expect to find more info on him if that were the case. So I took a chance with this book and it paid off.

This is one of those books that I found I needed to learn how to read, nota lot is spelled out for you, and you need to really get used to this kind of writing first. Maybe that's just me. Either way, by the end I was understanding around 70% of what what happening.

I love the ideas and themes in this book, and it's clearly written by a very smart man who doesn't compromise for accessibility. You have to stick with it to really get why you should be reading this book, but it's more than worth it. I've read many books that you can compare ideas used to the contents of this book, but I can still say that I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it. I look forward to reading some of his other books, perhaps Wolves.

I could swear there were quite a lot of typos - missing line breaks and quote marks, mostly. Wasn't much of an issue, but this book released in 91, you'd expect some of that to be fixed by now.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A promising debut 1 Aug 2003
By Glen Engel Cox - Published on
Hothead is post-cyberpunk fiction, like Neil Stephenson's _Snow Crash_. Both novels deal in themes raised by Gibson et. al., but in here Simon takes the mileu and stretches it out onto a third world political canvas while Stephenson poked at it with the satire stick. The novel sputters a bit in the front as Simon info dumps the background of his protagonist, Malise. But as he warms up to his subject, and as the novel moves into the "present" line of the story rather than Malise's past, Simon hits stride. Many writers have toyed with the human/software implant (best done in Effinger's _When Gravity Fails_, I feel), but Simon's able to make it new here. Possibly it's because he realizes that it (the technology) is not the story (even though the novel is named after it), but a part of the story. This novel could as easily have been titled _Moonwolf_ (but, then, that sounds slightly like a horror or fantasy novel, doesn't it?). I was thrown off a bit by the sudden impact of the ending, but I think that was due more to my start-n-stop reading method than any fault of Simon's.
I did have one other comment. I ran across something early in the book-- I think it was about walking and falling--that reminded me of Laurie Anderson. I thought it mere coincidence until I came across:
"Do you want to go home?" they said, "Do you want to go home now?"
Which I can't place, but it's somewhere in _United States Live_ ("Walk the Dog"?). Given this novel, and the fact that he quotes Laurie Anderson, how can I help but look for Simon's next?
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