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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Futuristic Detective Story
The aim of the Amazon Crossing programme is to identify foreign language books of a sufficiently high standard to warrant translating them into English. I have read a number of books from this imprint and they have generally been of a good standard. Tears In The Rain certainly justifies it's place in the programme as it is really very good indeed.

Set in a...
Published on 2 Feb. 2013 by Brett H

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I'm not my memory. Which, moreover, I know is fake. I am my actions and my days. "
With "Tears In Rain " Spanish writer Rosa Montero has cheekily taken a line from seminal movie Blade Runner: The Final Cut (2-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1982] and used the central theme of the film -the idea of artificial humanoids with a limited lifespan -and written her own novel around it while at the same time acknowledging the existence of the film in the...
Published on 5 Nov. 2012 by russell clarke


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I'm not my memory. Which, moreover, I know is fake. I am my actions and my days. ", 5 Nov. 2012
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tears in Rain (Paperback)
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With "Tears In Rain " Spanish writer Rosa Montero has cheekily taken a line from seminal movie Blade Runner: The Final Cut (2-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1982] and used the central theme of the film -the idea of artificial humanoids with a limited lifespan -and written her own novel around it while at the same time acknowledging the existence of the film in the narrative.
Tears in Rain is set in Madrid in 2109 and centres entirely on a 'replicant', Bruna Husky, a "combat rep" who is now working as a private detective. Bruna is hired by the head of a political organization, the Radical Replicant Movement when replicants start going berserk attacking other reps before gouging out their own eyes.
So what we have here is essentially a detective story as Bruna attempts to get to the bottom of what looks like a conspiracy while also trying to infiltrate the Human Supremacist Party, who would seem an obvious group to be behind all this. At the same time she has to evade the attentions of the police ,encounter weird aliens , control her proclivity for getting extremely drunk and continually count down the days to her eventual and inevitable termination date-"Four years, three months, and twenty-nine days" .
There is plenty to admire about Tears In Rain . The science fiction aspect is solidly constructed with the notes of an indignant archivist providing a potted history of earth ( plenty of wars & disaster surprise surprise) and its colonisation of outer space and the more existential aspects of memory and a fixed termination date are handled subtly and often profoundly. Less successful are the mechanics of the replicant investigation. She just seems to blunder from one situation to the next and what confrontations there are aren't adequate to build or maintain suspense. Ultimately it just takes Bruna too long to work it all out.
It seems to me that the wealth of ideas that the author wanted to cram into this novel got in the way of the plot . Nothing wrong with ideas of course, especially in a science fiction novel but the plethora of stuff in here could have done with some judicious editing while fixating more on plot development.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing ideas but flawed execution, 10 Nov. 2012
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tears in Rain (Paperback)
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The idea of developing a core theme of Blade Runner - artificial humans with a limited life span, created to do the dirty jobs that futuristic people would rather avoid - is an intriguing one. The central character is such a replicant; she's a combat model, built and trained to kill, and then demobbed after her term of service to scrabble a living in an uninterested, sometimes hostile civilian world. Until her short lifespan expires, of course.

This gripped me for the first part of `Tears in Rain', and I was delighted that the author chose not to build her future history around the Blade Runner universe, but instead just borrow a couple of concepts from it and tip the hat in that direction. So there's no concern about polluting either Philip K Dick's or Ridley Scott's realities: this book is a totally separate creation, with a convincing world-view of its own. There are breakaway human colonies in space; memory implants; alien civilisations, and a neat idea about FTL travel - frequently explained in the style of a Wiki-archive, which I really enjoyed.
However... where it all fell over somewhat was with the actual story, an investigation into mysterious replicant deaths amid rising human / replicant tensions. It plodded it several places, and there are a couple of sections of the world's worst exposition, where main characters suddenly deconstruct their entire lives to explain otherwise baffling behaviour. Clumsy.
Worse than that was the way the interesting aspects of the female investigator were wasted. She starts out as an alcoholic, shaven-headed, tattooed and angry kick-ass combat rep, ready for action and indomitable, if angst-laden. In no time she turns into a whining hapless girly, dependent upon big strong men to save her and solve the mystery. Really, so 19th century...

Perhaps the translation hampered the pace of the tale. It's a pity, because all the promise of the premise and the opening chapters disappears by the midway, and I kinda ambled to the end, having lost a lot of interest.
6/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Futuristic Detective Story, 2 Feb. 2013
By 
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tears in Rain (Paperback)
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The aim of the Amazon Crossing programme is to identify foreign language books of a sufficiently high standard to warrant translating them into English. I have read a number of books from this imprint and they have generally been of a good standard. Tears In The Rain certainly justifies it's place in the programme as it is really very good indeed.

Set in a futuristic Madrid, about a hundred years hence, the main character is Bruno Husky, a technohuman or rep which is short for replicant. Reps are manufactured beings designed for various purposes, Bruno being a combat rep. Having worked for a pre-set period for her creators, Bruno is now working as a private detective. When one of her neighbours, another rep, goes berserk in her flat she quickly becomes embroiled in the machinations of a far reaching conspiracy the purpose of which seems to be to create antagonism between humans and reps.

Bruno is an interesting character who thinks in a very human way. The short life span of reps dominates her existence - they are invariably struck down by a fatal tumour known as TTT, ten years after they have been manufactured. She obsessively counts down the days in anticipation of when her ten years is up....Four Years, Three Months, Twenty Three days etc. However, as a detective she is thoughtful, persevering and resourceful and relentlessly attempts to discover what is going on.

Futuristic books, more than most others, tend to be highly individualistic and the result of the author's imagination. However, clearly there are other works which have influenced this book, most obviously the film, Blade Runner (Remastered Directors Cut). One scene near the end could also have been lifted straight from the film Soylent Green. This does not detract from a book which is interesting, absorbing and highly engaging and which becomes something of a page turner towards the end. I suspect that Tears In The Rain is a one off which is a shame as I for one, would like to read more of Bruno.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing sci-fi thriller that's unashamedly inspired by 'Blade Runner' (1982), 23 Jan. 2013
By 
Chris Hall "DLS Reviews" (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tears in Rain (Paperback)
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First published in Spanish in June of 2011, Spanish author Rosa Montero's novel 'Lágrimas en la lluvia' was later translated into English by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites and published under the title of 'Tears In Rain' in November of 2012.

DLS Synopsis:
It's January 2109 in Madrid and times had been getting tough for Private Detective Bruna Husky. Work had been getting harder to find, and her financial situation was worsening by the day. Being a replicant (otherwise known as technohuman) Bruna was painfully aware that she had just a lifespan of ten years before Total Techno Tumour ('TTT') set in and extinguished her life. And since her lover Merlin had gone, her limited lifespan so far had been far from a joyful existence. But life is still life - and it should be cherished.

However, Bruna's fleeting mortality is brought to the forefront of her mind all of a sudden when her replicant neighbour, Cata Cain, bursts into her apartment and proceeds to try to murder her before gouging out her own eye. Bruna tries her best to save the techno's life, but with no idea of the woman's insurance details, or if indeed she has any insurance, her chances at surviving the self-mutilation were minimal at best. And sure enough, it's not long before the replicant's life expires.

Shocked by the traumatic sequence of events that she just witnessed, Bruna uses her private detective contacts to investigate what made her neighbour do such a thing. A trail that leads her to find that the replicant had an illegal memory chip inserted into her brain. A chip that could well have been the cause of the severe change in personality for the techno woman.

However, the situation becomes a lot more worrying when, just three days later, a further replicant goes on a killing rampage aboard a busy sky-tram, killing two innocent technos with a knife before taking his life by stabbing the blade into his own eye. The similarities are too coincidental to be ignored.

And then, from out of the blue, Bruna is asked to meet with the leader of the Radical Replicant Movement ('RRM'), Myriam Chi, to help her uncover who is responsible for a series of increasingly disturbing death threats. However, not long after their meeting together, Chi goes on a violent rampage, gouging out a techno woman's eye before throwing herself onto the tracks in front of an approaching train.

Now the private detective finds herself in the thick of a chaotic series of events. The once combat techno is now employed to not only investigate the murder of the RRM leader but also the other recent replicant murders. Bruna is able to put all her time, energy and detective skills towards uncovering the truth behind the recent murders. And in finding out that four similar replicant homicides took place prior to her neighbour's psychotic death, Bruna knows that there's some link that must tie them all together.

However hostility is growing between humans and technos because of the sudden violent behaviour exhibited by these replicants,. The reasonably peaceful co-existence is now wearing thin. A situation that, Hericio, the leader of the Human Supremacist Party ('HSP') is all too happy to turn to his favour.

The streets of Madrid, and indeed across the entire United States of Earth, are becoming increasingly hostile for replicants. Something sinister is behind this recent action against the technohumans. Something that wants to see the techno's made responsible for everything that is going on. And it's a conspiracy that could ultimately mean the end for the entire replicant race.

Time is running out for Bruna to uncover the real truth behind what is going on. But in a world where memories can be bought, sold, fabricated and erased; nothing can be trusted - not even your own mind...

DLS Review:
Okay, so Spanish author Rosa Montero is obviously a big fan of Ridley Scott's cult science-fiction film 'Blade Runner' (1982). Indeed, Montero confesses as much in the book's blurb. And the novel contains so many references and obviously inspired similarities to the film that at times it feels almost like an unauthorised sequel rather than a standalone novel. A situation not entirely helped by the novel's title `Tears In Rain' having been taken from a particularly dramatic quote within the film - "All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die."

Having originally been written in Spanish, you often expect the writing to be a bit clumsy and limited following the translation. Although the translators are more often than not very fluent in their dual languages, it's nevertheless incredibly difficult to capture the same use of word or find something that feels as comfortable and descriptive in its place. However, here it feels that the novel has been translated as near to perfectly as is probably possible.

The writing in sharp, immediate and suggestive, often with a thoughtfully descriptive choice of wording painting a vivid picture of the dystopian future. And it's with these intricately thought out details of the science-fiction setting where the novel really excels. Montero has masterfully created a near-believable picture of her futuristic Madrid, clearly inspired from the 'Blade Runner' (1982) blueprint, but nevertheless explored to further, more involved and ingeniously detailed degrees.

There's a great deal of social commentary shoehorned into the text. It's not preaching or overtly in-the-reader's-face, however, it's still far from subtle in its brashness. But it gets away with it, because of the setting it's been established within. And the messages are of a wholly justifiable nature, which slots nicely into sync with the characters of Bruna Husky (our principal protagonist) and Yiannis Liberopoulos (Bruna's closest friend).

Montero's carefully calculated construction of the novel is admirable in its thoughtful planning. The end result is a tight and well-paced tale, which successfully maintains a constant momentum. The inclusion of more detailed text which the archivist, Yiannis Liberopoulos's, is editing as the novel progresses, brings in important details on the futuristic society that, piece-by-piece, become important to the unfolding storyline.

Indeed, one of the most noticeable achievements of the novel is how everything seems to slot into place so perfectly. Each individual piece in the novel has some relevance and part to play in the larger picture of the tale. Montero has a reason for everything. A clear plan from the outset, that gradual pulls the hundreds of pieces together to produce this elaborate plot of a global conspiracy. It's a sci-fi thriller mixed with a hefty chunk of intriguing mystery. And the combination works incredibly well here.

That said, the novel does have one particularly glaring downfall - the characterisation. Sadly, perhaps partly as a symptom of the futuristic premise, the characterisation is noticeably weak. Bruna herself is reasonably well fleshed out (even if she is a replicant), but other than this principal character, the rest of the characters feel more like cardboard-cut-out pawns; incorporated solely to play out their roles in the tale. The secondary characters of Inspector Paul Lizard (a purposefully confusing love interest) and Pablo Nopal (an eccentric memmorist creator) are nothing more than token gestures in adding some life into the tale. Their roles in the plot are what establish them entirely, and they have absolutely no degree of characterisation that has any lasting impression on the reader. And this unfortunately impacts the enjoyment of the novel dramatically.

Nevertheless, the tale is still a worthy read. It has an unbelievable depth to the numerous intricacies surrounding the futuristic society. Indeed, much of the interest and enjoyment that can be had from the tale is in the level of inspired thought that has gone in to the wealth of science-fiction ideas exhibited on almost every page. And the storyline itself is delightfully complex and engaging, with its elaborate levels, subplots and unpredictable twists and turns keeping the reader reading on. And so it's definitely still worth a read. But without any strong characterisation, the novel was always going to struggle to make any substantial impact.

The tale runs for a total of 450 pages.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly Disappointing, 3 Oct. 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tears in Rain (Paperback)
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Apparently inspired by Blade Runner: The Final Cut (2-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1982] or so the blurb tells us, you may be expecting something quite gripping. Of course I had no expectation of it being as good as the film, or the book that that was adapted from Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (Gollancz), but I was hoping that this would still be a good read.

We have Bruna, a replicant first being attacked by a replicant neighbour, and then we find that replicants are attacking each other in other situations. When Bruna, who is herself a private detective is brought into investigate though, things look rather complex. Taking in aliens, dealing with a police officer, and gathering information, at times Bruna doesn't know who she can trust anymore. Whilst at the same time her friend has to deal with history being re-written to a degree.

You would think then that this story would be a good little read, but alas; instead this reads as just an average thriller, with its conspiracy and usual array of characters. As such ultimately that is all this is, a standard techno-thriller with a sci-fi touch, garnering people's attention by its 'Blade Runner' inspiration. There are some good pieces here I will admit, but a lot of it is just bland, and you are not drawn in or really get a feeling of caring about the characters as such. If you are looking for a book that doesn't take much engagement and that will just pass some time, then this is okay - otherwise don't really bother.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good blade runner-esque detective story, 29 Nov. 2012
By 
Russell G. Pottinger (Dundee) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tears in Rain (Paperback)
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As you may get from the name, this book is heavily inspired by Blade Runner, with the book tipping a nod to it with the main character being an android (or replicant) with a built in short term lifespan of about 8 years. The replicants are created to do the jobs that none of the real humans want to, and as such have to earn their freedom over the first couple of years of their life. I should have mentioned that this is set about 100 years in the future in a world that has been altered in numerous ways (religion, climate change, technology, etc) but the one constant is us, and the lovely way we deal with people different than us.

Our main character is a PI, a classic gumshoe trying to figure out what is going on with a few high profile replicant deaths/murders and an upsurge in anti-android feelings in the press and public. Bruna is a very angry person, angry at the shortness of her life, at the injustices of the world, and she lets it out quite a lot - making her almost seem petulant and immature at times, which fits very well considering she knows she is only a few years old, the classic flawed lead.

The only negative I would have about this book is that I felt to was a little to long for the story, and could have easily lost 100 pages and that would have helped a little with the pacing which sagged in the middle a bit. Overall a very enjoyable read that I found myself staying up to 3am to finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't work for me, 17 April 2013
By 
PJ Rankine (Wallington, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This Spanish novel is set in a world inspired by Blade Runner hence the title quoting Roy Batty the lead replicant. In this future replicants live alongside humans as less than equals. When they start dying inexplicably a retired combat replicant now working as a private eye is employed to find out why. I struggled with this novel and it never really caught my imagination, maybe because of the author's somewhat weighty style. I have read a lot of books translated from the originals but I found this one hard going. My review copy still had the editor's crossings out printed in and a lot of it was about cutting unnecessary text. Not for me and probably not the casual reader.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Blade Runner 2?, 8 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Tears in Rain (Paperback)
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Madrid 2109 and female combat-technohuman Bruna wakes up with her days counting down. Just like every day. One day less than the day before. Four years, three months, and eight days.

She was made aged 20, and will die at 33. Time enough to do the job she was constructed to do (combat, in some far-flung galactic conflict) and time to spend her remaining retirement years as a private investigator.

Technohumans (a clumsy term, maybe better served in the original Spanish of the author) by 2109, are of course more commonly known as reps for replicants after the influential film Blade Runner from the 20th century (nice touch)

This particular day begins with an attack on Bruna's (already short) life by a disturbed rep neighbour who ends up tearing her own eye out and dying. This leads into an escalating tale of violence, prejudice, politics, duplicity, power and resistance.

The plot moves swiftly. The sci-fi future-extrapolation ideas are skilfully woven into the story and the characters are engaging and intriguing. There are entries from the Central Archive of The United States of the Earth which provide a sort of context but which also provide part of the story as they are sabotaged, history being rewritten as we read.

And "history being rewritten" is the driver here - global, interplanetary and personal. And of course it's the personal which is foregrounded, as Bruna tries to understand what's going on and what/who she is as the threat escalates.

By the way, refreshing to see an avoidance of product-placement in relation to future personal technology e.g. the generic term "mobile phone" is used rather than any shorter brand-specific name (you know who I mean!) But on the other hand, I'm surprised that in 2109 there are devices anything like mobile phones. Is this Retro-Post-Futurism?

I'm sure Philip K. Dick aficionados will love this.

Why not 5 stars? Some clunky plot moves (e.g. the besotted extraterrestrial) don't really ring true as they're introduced, though serving the greater story in the end and helping towards the emotional resolution.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent take of the "Blade Runner" world, 26 Jan. 2013
By 
Mark Shackelford "mark shackelford" (Worthing, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tears in Rain (Paperback)
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This sci-fi book follows the adventures of a Replicant (as in Blade Runner - which is acknowledged as an ispiration and is even mentioned a couple of times in the book as a ancient film).

Set in a world where the replicants live uneasily alongside the humans - they were genetically created for various tasks - exploration, combat and "pleasure". They only live for 10 years, and are "born" fully grown.

What is essentially a detective story, blossoms into considering what it feels like to know exactly when you are going to die, and that there is nothing you can do about it. The opposite of immortality - which has many stories considering that fate.

Translated from the Spanish (and congratulations to the translator as the English version flows very well - you can't tell it is a translation) it takes place (naturally) in a future Madrid (rather than the usual Blade Runner style of a future LA or Tokyo).

We feel compassion for the replicant heroine, and her struggle to work out what is going on (No Spoiler!) - and we meet a variety of other humans, replicants and aliens - good, bad and indifferent.

A well thought out world, mostly believable and with a good plot that makes sense (in the end!)

If you enjoyed Blade Runner - this is definitely for you.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice idea, poorly executed., 24 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Tears in Rain (Kindle Edition)
I don't know whether something was lost in translation, but Tears In Rain just doesn't flow or show any of the evocative prose of great cyber punk or noir fiction. That's a real shame, because the premise is great.
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