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Lightborn: Seeing is Believing... [Paperback]

Tricia Sullivan
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 Oct 2010
Lightborn, better known as 'shine', is a mind-altering technology that has revolutionised the modern world. It is the ultimate in education, self-improvement and entertainment - beamed directly into the brain of anyone who can meet the asking price. But in the city of Los Sombres, renegade shine has attacked the adult population, resulting in social chaos and widespread insanity in everyone past the age of puberty. The only solution has been to turn off the Field and isolate the city. Trapped within the quarantine perimeter, fourteen-year-old Xavier just wants to find the drug that can keep his own physical maturity at bay until the army shuts down the shine. That's how he meets Roksana, mysteriously impervious to shine and devoted to helping the stricken. As the military invades street by street, Xavier and Roksana discover that there could be hope for Los Sombres - but only if Xavier will allow a lightborn cure to enter his mind. What he doesn't know is that the shine in question has a mind of its own ...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (7 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841494070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841494074
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 414,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Gripping, thought-provoking speculation, populated with gritty, believable characters and a storyline that moves in surprising directions, from an award-winning author' --The Times

'Sullivan is brilliant at presenting convincing near-future scenarios peopled by heart-breakingly real characters . . . and leaves the explication of the technology in the background while concentrating on the human consequences of its malfunction. Recommended.' --Guardian

'Compelling, imaginative and often discomforting' --Sfx

About the Author

Tricia Sullivan was born in New Jersey in 1968 and received a music degree from Bard College and a Master's in Education from Columbia University. She taught in Manhattan and New Jersey before moving to the UK in 1995. DREAMING IN SMOKE won the 1999 Arthur C. Clarke award.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic 11 Oct 2010
By Diziet TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
On the face of it, 'Lightborn' might be considered a sort of high-tech zombie novel. It's not.

Everyone in the country uses the 'Lightborn' technology, or 'shine' as it is popularly known. Shine works at the lowest levels of the brain and effectively allows people to re-programme themselves. As Amir Ansari (a shine programmer but also someone who warned against the possible dangers of Lightborn) says:

'We're doomed to an essential apehood unless we can change our deepest programming. And let's face it: people have very little self-control. We're mostly a set of biological levers waiting to be pulled. But we can change that, and that's what shine can give us. Better neurochemical paths. New ways of being.' (P183)

But then, 'The Fall' happens. In the town of Los Sombres (The Shadows), 'the shiny' start going violently mad. The only ones not affected are either pre-pubertal children or 'burn-outs' - criminals and others whose brains have been changed in order to prevent them from benefiting from Shine.

Some escape into a quarantine area, gather around a ranch. Here Xavier, a 14 year-old whose puberty has been postponed by taking kisspeptin, his 'shiny' mother endlessly knitting, Powaqa, a Hopi wise-woman, Chumana, a beautiful Hopi girl, various other refugees and latterly a strange 'John Doe' character, live out a precarious existence as bombers scream overhead in futile attempts to obliterate the lights of Los Sombres.

Meanwhile, in Los Sombres itself, all is not as it seems. There are survivors and a sort of society is functioning, helped by Roksana, the Pakistani/Polish/African daughter of Amir Ansari. Although she is seventeen, she appears immune to the Shine.

Then, back at the ranch, Xavier runs out of kisspeptin.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love for Lightborn 1 May 2013
Tricia Sullivan is a wonderful talent - I was absolutely blown away by 'Dreaming of Smoke' and 'Maul', but am disappointed - and shocked - to learn that only her latest book, Lightborn, is still in print. Hopefully, some farsighted epublishing company will be importuning her about releasing her back catalogue very soon.

Lightborn is a revolutionary new technology that has transformed the modern world. Better known as `shine', it is the ultimate in education, self-improvement and entertainment - beamed directly into the mind of anyone who can meet the asking price. But what do you do if the shine in question has a mind of its own...?

Yipee! At last - a blurb that actually does what it should - give the reader a brief insight into the book's theme and subject matter WITHOUT blurting out a whole tranche of spoilers along the way. Gold star for Orbit.

We follow the fortunes of two youngsters, Roksana and Xavia as they struggle to cope when life in the Arizona town of La Sombre falls apart as the adults all go mad. This being Sullivan, don't expect classic dystopian, `Oh my God, the world is falling apart, isn't this awful?' What marks her out as such a joy to read, is that she is an author who assumes her readers are intelligent enough to keep up without having everything spelt out. So as we watch both Roksana and Xavia's characters mature throughout the catastrophe and follow their personal griefs and coping strategies, their personal stories steadily unfold. They are both complex and interestingly three-dimensional - and Sullivan isn't afraid to show their less likeable traits.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Tricia Sullivan is one of those writers you want to keep a close eye on. One to watch, as it were. Hailing from the US, she began publishing fiction right around the time she immigrated to the UK - not that I would for a second suggest the glorious climes of Britain inspired her, somehow. (Mayhap she found her muse in the monotonous grey clouds, eh?) In 1999, she took home the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke award for her third novel, Dreaming in Smoke. After publishing a trilogy of fantasy novels under a pseudonym, she returned to the fertile fields of sci-fi in 2004, and there she's remained.

Lightborn is her first novel in three years, and in truth, it feels three years old. An arbitrary, insignificant nip in time, you might think - indeed - but if one thing's been done to death in that period, it's sexy vampires. If there's another, it's got to be kids scraping by an existence in a physically or psychologically isolated remnant of civilisation after The Day the World Went Away. Breathe easier: thankfully, there are no sexy vampires in sight in Sullivan's latest. Not a one.

Alas, there has been a calamity. In Lightborn's case, shine was what did it. Since you ask, shine is, and I quote, "The ultimate in education, self-improvement and entertainment - beamed directly into the mind of anyone who can meet the asking price." A technology embedded in the waveforms of light, capable of projecting an understanding or an instruction or an orgasm; whatever you please, really. Inevitably, in the city of Los Sombres, shine evolved, became hostile enough to pose a threat to the entire US. Not knowing how to stop the renegade shine's spread, nor able to justify dropping a nuke amid a civilian population - however deranged - the government opted instead to close Los Sombres' borders.
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