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on 10 September 2012
To class this as a short story is a little misleading, it's actually the first chapter of a book. The next chapter of the "Positron" book is already on sale, so it seems that Margaret Atwood hopes that we will get so hooked on the story that we will keep paying to find out what happens next, buying each chapter on an individual basis.

Not sure whether I'm sufficiently engrossed, to keep paying out for each chapter. It's an interesting piece of work, but nowhere near as gripping or as polished as her previous journeys into future dystopian societies ( The Handmaid's Tale (Vintage Classics),The Year of the Flood,Oryx And Crake ).

The idea is great, a community that has volunteered to take part in a social and economic experiment, where full employment and housing is guaranteed, as long as they are prepared to spend half their year as prisoners and the other half as prison warders. Their community "Consilience" is strictly controlled and observed by the "Positron" organisation. The "dual" couples share a house on a rota basis (one pair in the house, while the other pair is doing their stint in jail), and this chapter charts the sexual obsession of one of the men Stan, for a female "dual" whom he has never met.

However while the setting is intriguing, I found it hard to engage with the main characters, somehow they seemed a little flat and lifeless, and because of this, it's hard to muster up much interest in what is going to happen to them next.

I think the author may have made a tactical error with the publishing strategy for this book. Based on my enjoyment of her past work, I would have happily shelled out for the complete book without sampling it. However based on what I have read of this one so far, I'm really not sure whether I want to commit any time or money to future installments.
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on 17 December 2012
I am a big Margaret Atwood fan and this is a bargain but I wonder how many parts there are and how much it is going to cost buying the whole book in installments. Would I be better off waiting for it to be finished, will it be published as a whole volume eventually? A good story which is quite different from most of her oeuvre, another but a very different utopia/dystopia from either the "Oryx and Crake" pair of books or Handmaids Tale. In fact it is so early in the tale that we don't really know how bad it is and quite how bad the rest of the world is outside of the environment in which we find our hero and heroine. It leaves one itching to know whats going to happen next and how it will end up.
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on 26 August 2013
Pros - easy to get into, plenty to make you think.

Cons - is part of a series so there is no proper resolution.

At first glance, this opening episode of Atwood's new series is reminiscent of a slightly older style of sci-fi and definitely harks back to The Handmaid's Tale or Ray Bradbury. A simple concept based around an alternate America that is, in this case, both utopian and dystopian. However, with her deft touch, Atwood is able to raise a number of interesting regarding social reform and the human condition. This short story does contain a lot of setting up, assumedly to help with the development of the later episodes, but that doesn't necessarily detract what is an intriguing tale slowly unfolding for the reader.
I am really getting into these Kindle Singles and this is another excellent addition.
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on 1 September 2013
I like the idea of a serialised story format, just be aware that depending on when you join in with this you may have to wait for the next chapter to be released.

Margaret Atwood continues using dystopian ideas of the future started in the Oryx and Crake trilogy of books (as well as The Handmaiden's Tale) and makes us look at ideas and themes that are relevant to us now.

Her writing style is deceptively easy to read but she manages to convey ideas and the way in which we humans act and think in a much more accessible way that some authors who feel the need to use a thousand words to set a scene.

If you're already a fan of Margaret Atwood then you should have already downloaded this. If not it's a quick easy read as an introduction to her work.
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on 10 December 2012
Loved the story of a dystopian world set in USA! And oddly I can see this happening ....... Very surface cheerful but under currents of horror rippling through it. Very Atwood and a great read.
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on 20 August 2014
Steamy thematic and character introduction in a new setting of Margaret Atwood's predilection for dystopia. Her solution proposed here equates to a damning of capitalism's entrenched and inevitable 'two nations' outcome; we see it's germinal throws now in the high-security residential enclaves in such as Mexico City; why then not - when limited resources are the privilege of the 'rich nation' and criminality all that remains for the poor - see such institutionalised by government? Consilience is the consequence of governments' inadequacy in caring for people, where greedy self-interest and the lack of humanitarianism have become societal status quo. Looking forward to the next installment, trusting things kick off.
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on 25 August 2013
This looks to be a fascinating book but then I discovered it was only the first chapter and others had to be ordered through something called 'By liner'. I found this all very confusing and gave up on it.
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on 17 February 2013
This is really chapter one of a longer work and not a short story per se.

I've never read any Atwood before and bought this on the strength of her reputation, the concept and the fact that I was looking for something short.

It's not bad. I found the tropes of a supposedly ideal society with heavy social control to be very well worn. The idea rebellion against this form of conformity would be sexual is not new either but I guess I personally have read less of it. Still it had a feeling of an old-fashioned future dystopia masquerading as a utopia.

Not sure I'll be picking up episode two.
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on 20 February 2013
I am an ardent Atwood fan, especially of her Science Fiction. This Positron series has absolutely caught me. I didn't find it as intellectually provoking as Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake etc (can I say etc about Atwood's writing?) but the more (mockingly) lighthearted style perfectly suits the recklessness-born-of-desperation experienced by the protagonists, who are as pleasingly flawed as you would expect from Atwood.
Absolutely recommended. Love the length of it too.
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on 11 January 2013
A must read for Atwood fans. Compelling and a fun twist. Can't wait to read next story which I bought before finishing this one.
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