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The Cyber Puppets (Brain in a Jar Books Book 3) by [McAllister, Angus]
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The Cyber Puppets (Brain in a Jar Books Book 3) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Prime-time satire. The Lairds of Glendoune are rich and powerful, their wealth based on the family whisky. Their constant crises keep the lawyers and hospitals of Primeburgh in business, the eldest son Wilson Laird tried to frame his father for murder (but his parents forgave him after his near-fatal accident) and no one notices when the family patriarch Hector Laird comes back from Europe with a new head. Add all this to his memory lapses and complete absence of free will, and Hector's son-in-law Scott Maxwell slowly becomes convinced that this can't be right ... and then the reality around him collapses altogether, plunging him into a devastated world of the future.

Back in the real world, the Earth is dying; the environment is poisoned, and human society itself is on the downward plunge as vision and drive wither away from the human gene pool. What has all this to do with a twentieth century American soap opera?

About the Author

Angus McAllister initially qualified as a solicitor, though now earns a living as a lecturer in law at the University of Paisley. In 1978 he was a runner-up in the BBC's Read All About It short story competition (science fiction section) and in 1980 a runner-up in a competition run by the British edition of Omni. The first story, "What Dreams May Come", was sold by the BBC to a woman's magazine and appeared in a German SF anthology as well as being reprinted in Starfield (1989), an anthology of Scottish SF edited by Duncan Lunan. In the longer form, as well as being the author or co-author of three legal textbooks, Angus has had three science fiction novels published: A Variety of Sensations (Verlag Ullstein, 1985), The Krugg Syndrome (Grafton, 1988) and The Canongate Strangler (Dog & Bone, 1990).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 519 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Brain In A Jar Books (7 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00789SKJY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #851,837 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I met a really nice man in the cafe at a famous library in Glasgow. We enjoyed a coffee, some cake and a conversation. He turned out to be Angus McAllister and I promised to read this book and I am very pleased I kept my promise. The Cyber Puppets is part Sci-Fi, part comedy, part thriller and part social commentary. I can't really compare it to anything because it is strangely unique. Ben Elton collides with Iain M Banks. Perhaps not quite. But it will have you laughing and scratching your head as the plot twists. There is no point in telling you about the plot - the whole point is that you don't know until you read it - which you should.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Enjoyed reading this book, set in a very Dallas/Dynasty like soap world, where one character starts to realise how false it all is and questions the nature of what is happening around - while lots of ridiculous soap opera antics keep the story moving forward.

Perhaps a little dip later in the book, but a very entertaining science fiction yarn that had me laughing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really sure what the point was 12 April 2014
By Tghu Verd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading Gary Gibson's blog put me onto the "Brain in a Jar Books", out of print novels that he areanged to reissue as ebooks.

This is the first I've read and while it started well, ultimately I found it unsatisfying.

The story revolves around the Lairds of Glendoune, a rich and powerful family who's wealth is maintained selling premium Scottish whisky in the US market. From the get-go, the plot has the feel of a soap opera in the vein of "Dallas". I liked that, as it allowed McAllister to create outlandish situations that had a high degree of farce. It is not LMFAO, but amusing enough if you buy into the whole craziness that is the Lairds environment.

Of course, things are not as they seem and the subtext for the novel is what I found lacking. The idea driving it seems a juxtaposition of our profligate early-2000's culture against what is likely to be our devastated future, but it is in turns preachy and textbook-like, both of which are at odds with the writing style of the Lairds, which is probably deliberate but it kept jarring me out of the story

And while the story progressed, it did not really seem to develop. So it felt to me like an interesting idea which lacked a driving outcome and therefore did not really lead us anywhere. Indeed, I wondered if there might have been a sequel in McAllister's mind. If so, that would make some sense of the plot and where things end, but perhaps provide a point to the whole thing.

On the plus side, McAllister does a good job with technology. Despite the publication date in the Kindle store, this was written in the 1980's (from my memory of Gibson's blog) and I was really worried that it might suffer because of that. Fortunately, McAllister focuses on technology concepts rather than describing how things work in detail and so it survives that couple-of-decades lag.

However, this read like a story where the ideas were OK individually, but which do not come together particularly well. And I'm not sure who to recommend it to, because it does not strongly drop into any particular genre.
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