Start reading The Holy Machine on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available
 

The Holy Machine [Kindle Edition]

Chris Beckett
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £3.59 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £5.40 (60%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of £3.99 after you buy the Kindle book.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £3.59  
Hardcover --  
Paperback £8.99  
Audio Download, Unabridged £13.10 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial
Earn a Free Kindle Book
Earn a Free Kindle Book
Buy a Kindle book between now and 31 March and receive a promotional code good for one free Kindle book. Terms and conditions apply. Learn more

Book Description

George Simling has grown up in the city-state of Illyria in the Eastern Mediterranean, an enclave of logic and reason founded as a refuge from the Reaction, a wave of religious fundamentalism that swept away the nations of the twenty-first century. Yet to George, Illyria’s militant rationalism is as close-minded and stifling as the faith-based superstition that dominates the world outside its walls. For George has fallen in love with Lucy. A prostitute. A robot. She might be a machine, but the semblance of life is perfect. And beneath her good looks and real human skin, her seductive, sultry, sluttish software is simmering on the edge of consciousness. To the city authorities robot sentience is a malfunction, curable by periodically erasing and resetting silicon minds. Simple maintenance, no real problem, its only a machine. But its a problem for George, he knows that Lucy is something more. His only alternative is to flee Illyria, taking Lucy deep into the religious Outlands where she must pass as human because robots are seen as demonic mockeries of God, burned at the stake, dismembered, crucified. Their odyssey leads through betrayal, war and madness, ending only at the monastery of the Holy Machine…


Product Description

Review

Beckett examines the interface between human and machine, rationalism and the religious impulse, with sparse prose and acute social commentary of a latter-day Orwell --Guardian



Let's waste no time: this book is incredible --Interzone



One of the most accomplished novel debuts to attract my attention in some time... A triumph --Asimov s



Should be on the radar of anyone who professes concern for science fiction as a literary form --Alastair Reynolds

Review

'Beckett examines the interface between human and machine, rationalism and the religious impulse, with sparse prose and acute social commentary of a latter-day Orwell' - Guardian

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 875 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B007K9VZTY
  • Publisher: Corvus; 1st edition (1 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003ZHV6H6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,207 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


More About the Author

Chris Beckett's third novel Dark Eden (published in 2012), follows two others, The Holy Machine (2010) and Marcher (2009). His short stories have been appearing in print in Britain and the US since 1990, and his short story collection, The Turing Test, won the Edge Hill Short Fiction Award in 2009, in a shortlist including collections by Booker and Whitbread prize-winners, Anne Enright and Ali Smith, a rare instance of a science fiction book winning a non-genre literary award.

More information about his fiction writing can be found at www.chris-beckett.com

Chris Beckett works part-time as a lecturer in social work, and he also writes text books. He tries to use his experience of story telling to make these books readable and lively, and to write in a realistic way about social work as it actually exists.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The best science fiction takes our world and spins it on its axis, borrowing some aspect of existence as we know it - some culture or technology or mode of thought - and blowing it out with imagination and the irrevocable progress of time to a point that often seems inevitable, when you think to think on it. The Holy Machine has as its high concept the swell in contemporary times towards religious extremism: nowhere is the dividing line between stark rationalism and such blind belief more evident than in Illyria, the gleaming city-state of Chris Beckett's first novel. Illyria is the last bastion of empirical ideologues in a world overpowered by religion eternally at war with one another, a "cathedral of science" packed full of holographs, virtual reality, gravity-defying architecture... and robots.

Robots - or synths, as Beckett has it. "Coated with a layer of living flesh... they were virtually identical to people, except... they did not have the virus of irrationality and superstition which seemed to have infected ordinary uneducated folk throughout the world." Most synths are simple labourers. Much to the government's glee, synths have largely replaced the guestworker population - which is to say immigrants, and thus (the train of thought goes) the religious, and therefore potential terrorists. Illyria has already expunged Greeks, Arabs, Albanians, Indians and a host of other nationalities from its borders, and thanks to the availability of cheap and reliable old robots - I guess synths don't strike - the government hopes to soon be rid of the remaining foreigners in its midst.

Of course, synths come in all shapes and sizes.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All too easy to imagine 20 Jan. 2015
Format:Paperback
TRIGGER WARNING: This novel contains rape, sexism, religious/other persecution.

Chris Beckett's THE HOLY MACHINE is short, snappy, and doesn't overstay its welcome. The pilgrimage seems a bit pointless until George Simling finally reveals his motivation.

Indeed, George is the weakest part of the novel. I get the feeling he's supposed to be someone that readers can connect with: nerdy, and awkward socially around beautiful women. (Yeah, he's more stereotype than archetype.) First, he's interested in Marija, but she rejects his date-offer because she's already in a relationship with the head of a new religion. So then George falls in love with sex worker, Lucy...but she's a syntec (a robot with a layer of human flesh for that personal touch). And there are people in the world who want Lucy, and all robots, dead. Later, when Marija's relationship with the religious head is over, she asks out George, but he rejects her out of fear (what?) and sticks with Lucy.

The world-building is all too easy to imagine: countries choosing religion over science, and persecuting anyone who doesn't share their particular faith. George lives in Illyria, a country of science, but wars are crossing borderlines, and George is desperate to find a safe place for Lucy.

But although he claims to "love" Lucy, George mistreats her. After all, he only loves her because Lucy's PROGRAMMED to be super-friendly, affectionate, and sex-minded towards him. Lucy begins showing signs of self-evolving - i.e. asking questions and trying to understand and fit into the world around her. And it's then that I pretty much lost all sympathy for George, because he loses sympathy for her.

It may say a lot about this book that its most interesting character is not even human.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the holy machine 15 Jun. 2011
Format:Paperback
George Simling has grown up in the city-state of Illyria in the Eastern Mediterranean, an enclave of logic and reason founded as a refuge from the Reaction, a wave of religious fundamentalism that swept away the nations of the twenty-first century. Yet to George, Illyria's militant rationalism is as close-minded and stifling as the faith-based superstition that dominates the world outside its walls. For George has fallen in love with Lucy. A prostitute. A robot. She might be a machine, but the semblance of life is perfect. And beneath her good looks and real human skin, her seductive, sultry, sluttish software is simmering on the edge of consciousness. To the city authorities robot sentience is a malfunction, curable by periodically erasing and resetting silicon minds. Simple maintenance, no real problem, its only a machine. But its a problem for George, he knows that Lucy is something more. His only alternative is to flee Illyria, taking Lucy deep into the religious Outlands where she must pass as human because robots are seen as demonic mockeries of God, burned at the stake, dismembered, crucified. Their odyssey leads through betrayal, war and madness, ending only at the monastery of the Holy Machine
What a thought provoking and challenging book this is.
On the surface it is standard boy meets robot, falls in love with robot, steals and finally destroys robot. But very quickly the writer invites you to investigate and reshape your previous ideas and feeling about religion versus science.
It is a cautionary tale that zealots belong to both sides and that religion and science are not merely two opposing sides to be chosen and fought for but that they are both essential parts of humanity.
People need to believe in something, this novel questions the role of concepts like free will, blind faith, predjudice and racism in human belief.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow & uninspiring
Long winded and rather slow. Not really much of a story alas.......& not very original...
Published 11 hours ago by Paul Lowman
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic SF Debut
George Simling is a young man living in the future state of Illyria, a state of scientists founded in response to the Reaction, a global social event that called for the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by English Teacher
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Thought provoking, echoes of Asimov and 'Candide'. I would definitely read more by this author. Lots of ideas about beliefs.
Published 7 months ago by J. Morgan-evans
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This is a timely book given the current state of religious wars in the world, and technological developments. A little far- fetched in places.
Published 8 months ago by Dee
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting new twist on old ideas
Definitely worth a read, this book is set in a future dystopia where a wave of religious extremism (the ‘Reaction’) has lead to a general collapse of society everywhere except the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Stevie-g
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
A young man from the sheltered life of the high tech city exposed in a hard (very hard) way to the realities of survival in the poverty and religeous fervour of the countryside,... Read more
Published 11 months ago by A. J. Parsley
4.0 out of 5 stars Holey machine
I really enjoyed Dark Eden, so was keen to read the Holy Machine. In this case the setting is a near future world in which most countries have degenerated into fundamentalist... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Prof
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down
After reading another book by this author I tried this. It was unput down able! I loved it and am not normally a sci if fan! Great story telling with a real humanity.
Published 15 months ago by LESLEY DAVIS
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very interesting
I am a big science fiction fan but this book didn't fulfil my expectations. Quite boring. I will fully recommend Dark Eden by the same author, best SF book ever.
Published 18 months ago by yhh
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked the way it makes you consider what religion could turn into...
Well I am a fan of anything Chris writes and so of course really enjoyed The Holy Machine. Chris always seems to come up with a new slant on SiFi even if one thinks its all been... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Nuff said
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
Book reviewers who tell you the story - WHY?????? 0 7 Aug 2013
See all discussions...  
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
   


Look for similar items by category