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Intrusion [Hardcover]

Ken MacLeod
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 10.48 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Mar 2012

Imagine a near-future city, say London, where medical science has advanced beyond our own and a single-dose pill has been developed that, taken when pregnant, eradicates many common genetic defects from an unborn child.

Hope Morrison, mother of a hyperactive four-year-old, is expecting her second child. She refuses to take The Fix, as the pill is known. This divides her family and friends and puts her and her husband in danger of imprisonment or worse. Is her decision a private matter of individual choice, or is it tantamount to willful neglect of her unborn child?

A plausible and original novel with sinister echoes of 1984 and Brave New World.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841499390
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841499390
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 66 x 16 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 358,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Since graduating from Glasgow University in 1976, Ken MacLeod has worked as a computer analyst in Edinburgh. He now writes full-time.

Product Description


A disturbingly real socialist dystopia (GUARDIAN)

This near-future sci-fi novel could almost be a sequel to George Orwell's 1984 - 2084, perhaps (THE SUN)

Thoughtful, plausible and scary (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Intrusion is a finely-tuned, in-your-face argument of a novel . . . MacLeod will push your buttons - and make you think (SFX - 4.5 stars)

A twistedly clever, frighteningly plausible dystopian glimpse (Iain M. Banks)

A haunting, gripping story of resistance, terror, and an all-consuming state that commits its atrocities with the best of intentions (Cory Doctorow)

It's all so close to the bone it's almost painful . . . Intrusion is a rather frightening vision of the road we are taking with our smoking bans and our obesity epidemics and our CCTVs (BOOKBAG.CO.UK)

MacLeod creates a frighteningly plausible dystopia (INTERZONE)

Book Description

The compelling new novel from the award-winning author of THE EXECUTION CHANNEL and THE NIGHT SESSIONS

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what the future is like... 5 Mar 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'd been looking forward to this book, and it was definitely worth the wait.

As with MacLeod's other recent books, "Intrusion" is set in a very credible near-future which initially bears more resemblance to a thriller than to science fiction. It is, I think, really three books in one. The opening section is the one described in the blurb. Mother to be Hope faces a dilemma: whether to take "the fix", a marvel of "syn bio" (the endpoint of systematic genetic engineering) which would "cure" any potential genetic abnormalities of her future child.

The Fix isn't compulsory - not exactly - but this is a world where the needs of the foetus are placed so far ahead of those of the mother that most women of childbearing age can't work (whether pregnant or not) in case they encounter decades old "fourth hand smoke" seeping from the structure of the workplace. They are strongly encouraged to wear monitor rings, which record any contact with noxious substances, and are banned from drinking alcohol unless provably not pregnant.

Methods of persuasion are therefore employed to encourage Hope to take the Fix. She would have a get out if she claimed to be religious, but she isn't. What should she do?

MacLeod portrays a scary future, a creepy, surveiled world where - for society's good - AIs trawl one's phone logs and movement records, putting 2 and 2 together, and no adult would dare be alone with a child unless monitored by cameras.

The second theme develops from this and is summarised in a conversation between postdoc Geena and her supervisor. Geena is observing a group of Syn Bio engineers for her research into how science is done, but has run into a little trouble and asks for help.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unintrusively effective 26 Feb 2012
By Russell
I was delighted to see the stark white cover of Macleod's latest on the bookshop shelves - and it didn't disappoint. Many writers describe dystopias and utopias, few plot a plausible path from here to there. Macleod succeeds in depicting the sinister and insidious descent into a particularly British kind of authoritarianism. The prevailing ideology is the 'free and social market' where the state makes for you the choices you would have made if you were a rational actor with perfect information in a free market. Interrogation and torture are ritualised in a relatively painless but psychologically disturbing manner. You can 'dissent' from prevailing norms, but only if you subscribe to an approved list of beliefs permitting conscientious objection.

Within this society (and a relatively 'low tech' near future compared to some of his novels) Macleod weaves a story of a not-so ordinary family spread across suburbia and the highlands, with a semi-mystical sub-plot and subtle sting in the tail, which is well planned and foreshadowed to unite the two plots. 'Subtle' is a good word to sum up the book, which quietly implants all sorts of doubts about our direction of travel more effectively than a dozen libertarian rants. Macleod also picks up on recurring themes of barbarism, environmentalism and terrorism, which will be familiar to those who have followed him since the Fall Revolution novels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1984 meets Nudge and the Spirit Level 4 Jun 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a lovely exploration of the dystopian consequences of the sort of directions popular in politics of the early 21st century: the precautionary principle, nudges, and generally the points at which the nanny state changes from Mary Poppins to something out of Roald Dahl.

You can hear a few axes ground - Ken Macleod is not keen on the smoking ban - but there are points which get actually alarming; certainly it's a book you can argue with but it's well worth the rating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dystopia is just a few steps away 13 May 2013
By Sarah
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is why I love speculative fiction. And this is clever - you can see how easily we could sleepwalking there. Left me wondering if I would take the fix...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very bleak... 20 April 2013
The title of this novel refers to the 'Fix', a genetic 'cleanser' that does away with any abnormalities in unborn babies. Hope Morrison is an ordinary working Mum who has a young boy, and is pregnant again but she does not want to take the the Fix. If she had a 'faith' objection there would be no problem in her missing it, but since she does not, the state intrudes with the excuse of supporting the 'rights' of the unborn child. And then things start to escalate...

Along the way there are many genuinely funny elements to this book. The caricatures of a Labour MP who stands for nothing beyond his own self interest and a Marxist academic who writes about rebellion but who sold out years ago are delightful. But this novel has a heart of darkness, just like '1984'. There is no escape from the petty rules and regulations that smother freedom, and no hiding place from the ever present surveillance. Despite pretending to live in a free society, everyone knows about the 'grey' gulags and the police do what they want to suspects who are offered free trauma counseling afterwards.

Ironically, there is something different about Hope's child, which is suspected by her husband and his family in Skye, which is where Hope flees in a fruitless bid to escape. The most dystopian element in this book is the lack of an obvious fix for this moribund society, as the only ways forward seem to be either through an 'exit' that only exists in the perception of a few with the right genes or burning everything down and starting again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to read at times because it hits so close ...
Hard to read at times because it hits so close to home and is so believable for someone living in Britain. Read more
Published 25 days ago by jcs
3.0 out of 5 stars Spoiled by trying to do too much
Interesting premise but got itself in an unnecessary muddle with 3 different plotlines whereas the most interesting one should have been given the room it deserved. Read more
Published 1 month ago by L. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Package received in good time, item as described, very happy.
Published 2 months ago by Emma Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever idea and clever title
but actually a little disappointing. 3 stars is a little harsh, but I couldn't justify 4 - it's one of those cases were a three and a half option would be welcome. Read more
Published 3 months ago by DB
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great book!
Ken MacLeod is back on form with this novel. I just love the way he comments on today's society through his stories. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Buyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling vision of future - marred by anti wind farm polemic
Intrusion is set in the near future, and for the most part is an all too believable account of how we could slip into a 'benign' authoritarian state. Read more
Published 9 months ago by D. D. Golding
3.0 out of 5 stars Mmm
The concept is really good. However, the execution is sometimes lacking. The vague tie-ins with mysterious powers don't ring true, and the writing style itself can often irritate,... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Edmund White
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and frighteningly plausible.....
Set in a dystopian future two or three generations from now, this is a genuinely creepy look at a totally plausible outcome from today's scares about health and the debate about... Read more
Published 14 months ago by R. Vowles
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrible dystopia, wonderful novel
This horrible dystopia sits firmly in the tradition of British science fiction from the 1930s to the 50s. Read more
Published 14 months ago by D. R. Cantrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but disturbing.
Slightly disturbing view of the near future - a sort of friendly, health-and-safety obsessed, for-your-own-good police state. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Eden Hutchins
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