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Jack Glass [Paperback]

Adam Roberts
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

9 May 2013


Jack Glass is the murderer. We know this from the start. Yet as this extraordinary novel tells the story of three murders committed by Glass the reader will be surprised to find out that it was Glass who was the killer and how he did it. And by the end of the book our sympathies for the killer are fully engaged.

Riffing on the tropes of crime fiction (the country house murder, the locked room mystery) and imbued with the feel of golden age SF, JACK GLASS is another bravura performance from Roberts. Whatever games he plays with the genre, whatever questions he asks of the reader, Roberts never loses sight of the need to entertain and JACK GLASS has some wonderfully gruesome moments, is built around three gripping HowDunnits and comes with liberal doses of sly humour.

Roberts invites us to have fun and tricks us into thinking about both crime and SF via a beautifully structured novel set in a society whose depiction challanges notions of crime, punishment, power and freedom. It is an extraordinary novel.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (9 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575127643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575127647
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Adam Roberts is a writer of science fiction novels and stories, as well as Professor of Nineteenth-century Literature in English at Royal Holloway, University of London. Three of his novels, "Salt", "Gradisil" and "Yellow Blue Tibia" were nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award; and his most recent novel "By Light Alone" has been shortlisted for the 2012 BSFA Award. He has published over a dozen novels, a number of academic works on both 19th century poetry and SF, stories, parodies, bits, pieces, this and that.

Product Description


"In the tradition of Swift, Orwell and Atwood." --"Times"

Book Description

Golden Age SF meets Golden Age Crime from the author Kim Stanley Robinson thinks should have won the Booker.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Golden Age Mysteries 10 Sep 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Adam Roberts' latest novel is in three parts, each written as a separate mystery (of a sort - they're not all Whodunnits) but making up a greater whole.

The first part is a prison story. A group of convicts are marooned on an asteroid for seven years. They must make it habitable or they will die.

The second introduces two teenage girls, the putative heirs to the Clan Argent. Diane and Eva are the result of advanced genetic engineering (we may suspect, but never learn for sure, that Alice, Beth and Carol before them may not have come up to scratch...) There is perhaps a touch of Dune here - the Argents jostle with a number of other clans for a position immediately below the ruling Ulanovs but above a mass of guilds, commercial concerns and mafias. Treachery and violence is always distinctly possible.

The third part follows closely from the second and could be described as a locked room mystery (but so could the others as well). It does bring together themes from the book as a whole, and it provides some answers (although I don't think we ever learn who the man was running through the olive grove in the heat of the day (or why he was running) in part 2).

"Jack Glass" does, in some respects, pick up themes from last year's By Light Alone. I'm thinking especially of the sort-of post-scarcity setting - in Jack Glass, there is no shortage of room - humanity has populated space with flimsy sphere habitations - or of food - most people exist on spore grown "ghunk" fed by sunlight. But, as in the earlier book, it's far from being a utopia: the poor live flavourless lives, subsisting on the basics and very definitely at the bottom of the heap.

Another resemblance is in characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars proper Sci-Fi 31 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is clever with three stories with very different plot lines and 'feel' to them. Only in the final section are the three brought together.

Also included are some genuinely thoughtful concepts reminiscent of the SF greats of the 50s & 60s.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Original SF 2 Feb 2014
Jack Glass, notorious criminal and murderer of millions is imprisoned on a asteroid with seven other criminals. The people who have sent him there for eleven years don't know he is there, but when they find out they will be back to get him. It is a cruel, sharp and brutish place, and he must use all his guile to escape from the un escapable place.

On a small planet elsewhere, two sisters are experiencing a spell in gravity in a sealed orbital habitat owned by their hyper rich family. There are themselves, and few personal staff, and 20 or so servants. Normal life is interrupted following the murder of one of the servants, and one of the sisters, Diana, takes over the investigation from the police allocated to the investigation. as she progresses thing are not what they seem, and the murder is a prompt to discover some of the greater questions and threats to the family.

I have read a couple of his before, the last one read I thought was not great at all so I wasn't looking forward to this much. I thought that it was an original story line, a bit gruesome and brutal at the beginning. I liked the way that the story unwrapped in layers, so you were never sure just what to expect next.

The characters were interesting, Jack Glass in particular as he was innovative and single minded. I couldn't warm to the two sisters, they came across as arrogant, and self interested, but that may have been the idea. The worlds that he has created didn't come across as fully plausible, but the integrated tech did. Overall ok, not are I would read another by him just yet.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read 19 Dec 2013
Interesting: yes.

Well written: very.

Thought provoking: somewhat.

Inventive: exceptionally.

I only felt let down by the ending of the first story of three (althougth, really, the three tales do follow a linear narrative), which was ridiculously unbelieveable, but very creative.

My only other criticism: why did Diana not question Jack Glass on his escape method from prison? Wholly out of character, Adam.

Buy it. Read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 19 Sep 2013
Excellent book defied expectations of the genre . Was gripped to the end . Almost read it in one sitting
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jack in Class 24 Sep 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book cover looks amazing and apart from the rocket ships, could be mistaken for non-genre literature. The three quotes on the back all mention the word "literary". So it makes me smile to think of a reader picking up this book expecting Ian McEwan (mentioned on the reverse), and discovering (and hopefully falling in love with) this political, techno, 100% pure science fiction novel. The inside jacket gets it right "From a tiny asteroid in the far reaches of space, to a comfortable country house, to a sealed orbital habitat, Adam Roberts takes us on a spellbinding journey through a future that challenges all our notions of crime, punishment, power and freedom." Get in! The book is split into three stories. The first is a very melancholic and dark prison tale, full of despair and horror. This acts as an introduction to the main story and longer middle section. This second story uses a common cyberpunk theme of warring multinational corporations and heirs amongst numerous others. The third and final section deals with the war aftermath and revolutionary activity against these vicious capitalist "clans". Funny, serious, exciting and thought provoking. The prose throughout is a joy to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a shame - could have been great
The author divides this book into three clear parts, which makes a review pretty easy - the first part is great, the second pretty good and the third awful. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Timothy Hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars scifi whodunnit!
Adam Roberts' books are always brilliantly bizzarre. The 'science' is, as usual, bonkers and most entertaining. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars "He worked carefully, methodically, cutting open Gordius's corpse..."
Be advised that there is a glossary at the end - you might need it. I didn't read the contents list and discovered it after I'd finished the book - but it didn't matter in the end... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Eileen Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking return to form
After two lacklustre near future novels this far future novel, which plays with the toys of the murder mystery genre, is a cracking return to form for this author. Read more
Published 13 months ago by A. J. Poulter
4.0 out of 5 stars More excellent work from Roberts
This was a really enjoyable read, and continues Adam Roberts' reputation for producing thoughtful, intelligent, interesting stories. Read more
Published 15 months ago by just another customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag - some good some bad
This book is three stories about Jack Glass, a wanted criminal in a future solar system where a draconian oligarchy rules the space-ways. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Robert
5.0 out of 5 stars Another extraordinary work by Adam Roberts
This is the second extraordinary novel by Adam Roberts (after Yellow Blue Tibia: A Novel) I've enjoyed and I've now upgraded him into the group of my favourite writers. Read more
Published 17 months ago by MaskedMarauder
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably disappointing
Don't waste your money on this appallingly disappointing waste of letters. I've read numerous Adam Roberts books; if you want to read some of the greatest British science fiction... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mr. G. Lawrence
5.0 out of 5 stars High quality, intelligent puzzle stories
I'm not quite sure how I was drawn to Jack Glass, I think it popped up in 'People Also Bought' on Amazon, it sounded interesting and I think ultimately I bought it as a consequence... Read more
Published 18 months ago by R. A. Davison
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