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Capacity Mass Market Paperback – 26 Dec 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra Books; Reprint edition (26 Dec. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553589296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553589290
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.8 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,004,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

" Ballantyne writes with engaging authority about high-concept technological novelties." -- "Publishers Weekly"

" Engaging and a bit creepy." -- "Booklist"
" Ballantyne writes with engaging authority about high-concept technological novelties." -- "Publishers Weekly"

"Engaging and a bit creepy."--"Booklist"
"Ballantyne writes with engaging authority about high-concept technological novelties."--"Publishers Weekly"

"Engaging and a bit creepy."--"Booklist"

"Ballantyne writes with engaging authority about high-concept technological novelties."--"Publishers Weekly"

Engaging and a bit creepy. Booklist
Ballantyne writes with engaging authority about high-concept technological novelties. Publishers Weekly"

"Engaging and a bit creepy."--Booklist
"Ballantyne writes with engaging authority about high-concept technological novelties."--Publishers Weekly

Book Description

All human life in the distant future is benignly monitored by the omnipresent watcher - but what if the watcher itself turns out to be a murderer? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fine book about a future world in which multiple virtual realities exist alongside 'atomic' reality and a human being may choose to have multiple versions of themselves made (and where illegal copies of human beings may be made for the purpose of abuse and exploitation). The world is ruled by AIs who seem benign but may not be. Hyper-intelligent robots co-exist alongside human beings: strange subtle, devious, passionate robots, very much against the grain of what we expect robots to be like. Human and artificial intelligence alike face a strange new existential threat from beyond the galaxy.
Like its predecessor Recursion, this is a subtle, ambiguous book which really is about life, the universe and everything. It's full of thought-provoking ideas and not only ideas about only about robots and artificial intelligence (though Ballantyne clearly knows what he is talking about here) but about belief and certainty, good and evil, free will and determinism, childishness and maturity...

There are some great set pieces: the scene in the cave on Gateway, the showdown between Judy, Frances and Chris... At times it is nightmarish, at times absurd, at times touching and hopeful. Like all the best imagined worlds - and like the real world - there isn't a tidy edge to this fictional universe. It extends beyond the horizon. You could reread the book and find new things in it, or change your mind about what is really going on.
Highly recommended. I look forward to the third novel.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book a few months ago and I generally enjoyed it. There were quite a few interesting ideas, it was well written, and it kept my interest going most of the time. The big disappointment for me was that it didn't have a proper ending, instead you have to wait for the next in the series. I wasn't aware of this when I bought the book, and I found it infuriating that I didn't get a complete book for my money. It seems a lot of sci-fi books are part of a series these days, so perhaps it's not a problem for other people.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good book with excellent ideas, some quite original. The book isn't difficult to read, but you do need to concentrate in order to follow what is often parallel events with multiple copies of the same characters.

The book handles the necessary visualisation of the worlds well. Some nice twists in the plot too.

Sadly, this book appears to be the middle one of three, something that I didn't detect originally. That said, it stands on it's own quite acceptably. I will probably buy the others.
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A sci-fi genre, well written but I doubt I would choose to buy the sequel. I wasn't that keen because the subject matter dwelt a lot on S&M, although it stayed clear of being pervy it's not a subject I enjoyed reading about.
The literary structure is fascinating, with a number of different strands I nearly gave up reading it as it was confusing to start off, but it actually became clear quite quickly and was worth the effort.
I think I couldn't be bothered to read the sequel as I didn't engage with the characters, I would try another book by the author if he can marry the interesting structure and more engagement with the characters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting . . . and thoughtful 25 Sept. 2008
By lb136 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"Capacity," Tony Ballantyne's challenging sequel to "Recursion," brings in a new cast of characters, more and different challenges (and challenging ideas), but the same tripartite arrangement.

This time the stories involve Justinian Sibelius (heir to one of the dueling corporations in "Recursion,") who in 2223 is sent on a mission to a planet revolving around an isolated star near the M32 galaxy. He and his infant son have been manipulated there by AIs (he's accompanied by an officious robot named Leslie) to find out why AI's there have shut down their higher functions--AI suicide. This thread's a variation on the old SF "problem to be solved tale."

The other two threads, which take place 17 years after Justinian's expedition, both involve one of the prevailing nannystate councilors, Judy, who appears physically as the "atomic Judy," in one thread, while her virtual selves (they're called Processing Constructs") appear in what is called processing space. In the "atomic Judy" thread, Judy and her robot Frances are trying to track down a sociopathic construct in the virtual world named Kevin, and in the "Helen" thread the virtual Judys and the virtual Helen--a victim of Kevin's--do the same thing.

Lurking over all is the mysterious "Watcher" of "Recursion." Is it real (readers of that novel know, or maybe think they know, the answer), and what are its motives?

This tale is darker than its predecessor, lacking the bantering sense of humor and its references to genre fiction; but its ideas are if anything more challenging. And it's complete in itself. It doesn't leave you hanging, although surely you will want to proceed to "Divergence," the last of the trilogy. It's already published.
5.0 out of 5 stars Part of one of the best Sci-Fi series 14 July 2014
By Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Part of one of the best Sci-Fi series, ever. I just finished Capacity and I finished Recursion before that. Absolutely brilliant.
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably deep story from an unknown author 1 Aug. 2014
By Peter Bjørn Perlsø - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
A remarkably deep tale of the far future where Artificial Intelligences rule the world, humans are under the *very* caring watch of Social Care (what would in the present-day world be Police, Education and Social Services). The super-intelligent AIs have taken off to explore the galaxy while humans live their lives in and around Earth space. Humans are allowed up to 12 digital "incarnations" in the virtual worlds ("processing spaces"), and while most of these are supervised by Social Care, certain entrepreneurial private parties ("The Private Network") have made a lot of segregated processing spaces that are off the grid and not under the control of SC, where unsavory activities with human minds ("Personality Constructs") take place. And then there is the mythical construct called "The Watcher" which supposedly was the first AI to achieve consciousness in human society...

Meanwhile at the edge of the galaxy, a mystery planet has been encountered - a place where, AIs after having explored, spontaneously commit suicide (or shut down to a limited/human level of intelligence). A human male with his baby child is sent to investigate this barren and foreboding planet.

All in all, I was very surprised at the depth and pace of this techno-thriller. Tony Ballantyne steps into the arena of deep philosophy about life, purpose, awareness and human morality with this novel, and I will gladly look forward to more from his pen in the future.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Expansive, mind blowing, challenging read 30 Nov. 2007
By Bluestorm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book before reading 'Recursion' the first of the trilogy, thinking that 'Capacity' was a stand alone book. My head nearly exploded reading this book. There are a lot of different and cool concepts in the book dealing with multiple versions of people, plots which span for centuries, etc. A lot of the future tech is explained in the 'Recursion' and, the author doesn't slow down to explain things into detail. A reviewer mentioned that Ballantyne's descriptions is like reading a screenplay - very sparse which I agree with (sometimes more sparse than a script!) I just finished reading 'Recursion' and would have enjoyed Capacity more if I read it in sequence. So if you're thinking about jumping into this author's work, I recommend you read them in order. Definitely worth the read if you're looking for new perspectives and complex story lines.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Often Entertaining, But not Gripping 25 Feb. 2007
By Russell Clothier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was excited as I read the first half of Capacity. Ballantyne sets up an interesting, if not entirely original, future world. Seemingly benevolent AI's watch over mankind, guided by a semi-mythical chief AI, "the Watcher," which may be extraterrestrial in origin. Copies of human personalities live in processing spaces that mimic the real "atomic" world. Harmony and peace are ensured by "Social Care," who tend to every need both physical and psychological. If problems arise, they are dealt with by agents such as Judy, the main character - or characters, since the "atomic" Judy has 12 copies that patrol the virtual world. The Judies are hunting a virtual predator, Kevin, who has been torturing multiple copies of a woman named Helen. Meanwhile, halfway to the Andromeda galaxy, the AI's have encountered an alien threat that seems to feed off intelligence in any form. And it is heading our way. A promising set up. . .

By the end of the book, I was less satisfied. I understood the world as the backstory filled in, but the storyline remained enigmatic. Worse, the motives of the characters are too obscure for their actions to fully make sense. After spending 300 pages with Judy, I still don't get her. By the end of the book, I'm not sure who is on whose side, what they are trying to accomplish, and why. I don't need protagonists in white hats and villains in black, but if I'm to care, things need to be better defined than this.

Also, though the world is fairly well explained, it is not fleshed out. Ballantyne has about 10 characters in the book, which is enough, but they almost never interact with anyone else. We never see another agent, or Judy's boss, or neighbors, or passersby. There is not enough detail to bring the everyday world to life.

All in all, Capacity was worth reading. I imagine much will be cleared up in the sequel, so that it all makes sense. But I'm not sure I care enough to find out.
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