Zed 3.5, maybe It s difficult to rate this It reminded me most of my experience with Joshua Cohen s Book of Numbers a book I hated at first, and continued to find frustrating throughout, but ended up loving, and now regard as one of the greatest novels the 21st century has yet produced There are also superficial similarities in the books plots, for example chunks of the story being focused on a powerful tech mogul I m not sure I can quite place Zed in the masterpiece category, but it s far interesting than a middling star rating might suggest.Reading between the lines, I think Zed must have been through some serious rewrites When first announced, it focused on some of the same characters, but was set in 1999 and titled Tomorrow it s since been significantly pushed back from its original release date of May 2018 Even now, a week before publication, there are noticeable differences between the blurb and the version I read For example, two of the characters referenced in the current blurb the female PM and the hacker named Gogol are only mentioned a handful of times in the book I perhaps ought to add a disclaimer that what I m reviewing here may not be what appears in print.With all that out of the way the version I read is set in the near ish future Beetle, an enormous corporation whose closest real world analogue is probably , dominates technology, employment and justice The main characters are its CEO, Guy Matthias his right hand man, Douglas Varley their Veeps , virtual personal assistants, who are sometimes embodied and sometimes not Eloise Jayne, a senior anti terrorism officer and David Strachey, a newspaper editor There s also a dissident who goes by many names, but is most often known as Bel Ami The society these characters inhabit is founded on the idea that technology can reliably predict human behaviour The plot such as it is deals with what becomes of such a society when humans suddenly start being dangerously unpredictable This collapse is blamed on a factor known as Zed the term is a stand in for human decoherence It took me perhaps 80 pages to feel I d made any sort of connection with the narrative I was going to say that Zed is not an immediately engaging book, but that s not strictly true it has entertaining details from the start The names of the Veeps never failed to raise a smile It s the plot that never quite seems to get going The whole story feels like a tug of war on one side there s a meandering philosophical satirical account of a bunch of lost, lonely people, and on the other, the sense that someone s been trying their best to mould it into a plot driven tech thriller.The result is certainly enjoyable, yet somewhat muddled This is a book which has clear undercurrents of brilliance, intellect and imagination than whole swathes of current fiction, but is often sluggish, and mildly unsatisfying as a whole.I received an advance review copy of Zed from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter Twitter Instagram Tumblr I m sat here writing this review on my notebook PC while my smartphone randomly provides new music based on previous choices I ve made Meanwhile, my smartwatch feeds me a constant stream of various e mails and alerts Technology is just super convenient isn t it That idea that everything you could ever want, or need, is available at the touch of a button is a real lifesaver If you think about it though, it s also mildly disturbing Spotify and aren t just giving me what I want any, they are telling me what I should want When you look at it that way, it suddenly becomes a bit invasive doesn t My choices are no longer determined by me.Zed by Joanna Kavenna, is a wry look at how technology has the ability to help but also frequently hinder when it comes to leading a modern life.Guy Matthias is a particularly intriguing character The CEO of Beetle is such a jumble of conflicting emotions, addictions and neuroses that it s no surprise he craves order in all things Matthias worships at the altar of technology In his eyes, it holds the answer to all things Using his software, Matthias believes every potential action of a human can be predicted, and if it can be predicted, then rules can be imposed Flawless models of behaviour can be designed, and uncertainty becomes a thing of the past It all sounds terribly sensible and within reasonable parameters but, of course, humans are far too chaotic for that sort structure to be implemented easily Life is gloriously messy, bringing order from chaos is not an easy thing for anyone to do.As Matthias seeks out a sleek, easily manageable answer to his various conundrums, we get to follow various people as they attempt to navigate the pitfalls of this new technological utopia Can a security officer do her job effectively when partnered with autonomous machines that are supposedly incapable of making mistakes, but frequently do Is the press still free when every newspaper is owned by the company they may want to investigate Is it possible to live a life outside the confines of the omnipresent world spanning conglomerate that is Beetle or is bowing to the corporate machine inevitable It quickly becomes obvious that every facet of existence has a link to technology in one form or another.Events spiral further out of control as Matthias becomes and desperate to achieve his dreams He attempts to simplify language replacing multiple words with a single alternative The subtle nuances of communication may have been removed, but doesn t that just make everything easier I ll give you a quick hint, the answer is a resounding no Elsewhere, algorithms created at Beetle headquarters, designed by artificial intelligence, are used to offer subtle suggestions and insights into all decisions people make Before you know it, things are starting to appear far sinister than they were before It s all rather insidious.I ll be the first to admit modern life can sometimes feel unnecessarily complicated We have to wade through such a colossal morass of irrelevant minutiae every day that we never have the time to concentrate on the important details We spend our time obsessively seeking the best deal on this or the latest version of that Mass consumerism is the new religion and information drives the world With each new technological advancement, it seems we willingly give away our freedoms and blindly accept comfy reassurance in return Ok, I may be ranting a little here, but we ve already seen the seeds of Beetle esque changes on the horizon Insurance companies are pondering the use of smart wearables to determine the best quotes for policies Smart fridges are able to re order your weekly shop, track your calendar and keep an eye on your health Zed does a great job of tapping into all these fears and following their threads to a logical conclusion.Joanne Kavenna s latest novel is a pitch black satire that unpicks the madness of the modern condition How can technology and order be the answer to all of our woes when humanity is beautifully erratic and unpredictable even on a good day I don t dispute that technology can be life changing in many positive ways, I merely urge caution The narrative in Zed eloquently illustrates this exact point.Witty, circular arguments and razor sharp social commentary delight and inform throughout This novel highlights, pretty convincingly, that the best way to undermine foolish notions is to eviscerate them in fiction Humanity is, above all else, nonsensical and Zed quite happily proves that I always enjoy a book that manages to be both funny and mildly terrifying in the same breath I can heartily recommend Zed to anyone who has ever pondered where all their data goes when accepting the terms and conditions on a website I suspect collecting anonymous statistics is only the start Smart, darkly comic and genuinely thoughtful I enjoyed every page I have Google Fit on my watch I d imagine it won t be long until I will have to submit the information it collects for some reason of another. Joanna Kavenna s Zed is a pitch dark comedy about an Orwellian future where Big Brother is not only watching but controls every aspect of society Imagine if Google merged with the NSA, CIA Facebook, and Apple, as well as owned almost every media channel and newspaper in the country This is Beetle Everything is constantly filmed, everyone is forced to wear a smartwatch that kept telling you what to do, your refrigerator tries to control what you eat, and personal assistants called Veeps an A.I comparable to a super advanced Alexa monitors you and reports everything to Beetle The dominant form of money is a cryptocurrency created and maintained by Beetle, and around 90% of the population works for the company, or a subsidiary of it If something negative were to befall the company, then the public would never hear about it Why Well, it would be a matter of national security, as the issue would have to be first treated as a potential terrorist threat And the good of society must come first, of course Keep in mind, there s freedom of choice This is a free society, after all No one is forced use Beetle s technology It s just that they would be labeled unverified, so they wouldn t have access to any Beetle jobs Or transportation Or money But its their choice Nightmarish, right That s not the worst part The company has developed something called a lifechain, which is series of algorithms that predicts all possibilities of what a person might do on any given day Probabilities are calculated with these lifechains and they are so accurate that Beetle has been able to influence the government to enact a law to pre arrest someone before they commit a crime The lifechain says they re going to, so why wait until they do it This saves everyone lots of time and grief This theme also appears in Philip K Dick s short story, Minority Report Beetle has also invented ANT s, which are headless droids, armed with guns, who are perfectly programmed to arrest and secure their targets, and in no way can anything go wrong, since lifechains and Beetle s AI are perfect What a perfect society Guy Matthias, the head of Beetle, just keeps making society better and better Citizen s faces have become completely blank over the years so as not to express any kind of feeling in front of cameras or machines, and Guy is so proud that citizens are now able to live in a society without offending anyone But, what s this Something starts to go wrong The lifechain seems to have some errors People commit horrible crimes without the lifechain predicting them ANT s start shooting innocents without provocation Since the AI s and lifechains are perfectly programmed, then it all must be attributed to human error, of course Despite Beetle s efforts, this error gap between perfection and reality starts to widen This gap is called Zed, named after the last letter of the alphabet, representing all things that don t quite fit within every paradigm Undefinable, unquantifiable things, things that shouldn t be And Zed keeps getting bigger Kavenna s wry wit shines throughout the story the humor is both sharp and depressing as it feels like some form of this future isn t far off from becoming a reality We view this society through the lens of several different characters the head of Beetle, the nervous lackey, a tech hating employee who sees through all the bullshit, a top newspaper reporter, a protesting citizen, and various A.I Veeps One of the most humorous and depressingly real scenarios is the adoption of something called Bespoke Guy Matthias, the head of Beetle, was once part of a conversation where someone much smarter than him was using words that he didn t understand In response, he now wants to make communication simple enough for everyone to understand, so he invents a system that dumbs down vocabulary into fewer phrases to make it easier for everyone to communicate It s hilarious and frightening and hits too close for comfort Zed is a satirical comedy of errors, hilarious and poignant and horrifyingly relevant It is an extreme example of the direction our larger companies, government, and privacy laws are headed, and if left unchecked, it could lead to some form what this book portrays Even if you just take this story at face value, it is still an entertaining, intelligent, and thoughtful read ARC via NetGalley. Zed is being published by Doubleday Books and will be released on January 14, 2020.8.0 10 Dammit Tricked by cover porn Look at that cover, it is gorgeous It has a very intriguing premise, but was let down by the execution It reads like an early draft A few rounds of revising and editing could elevate this story into a masterpiece I did read an early copy so hopefully some of the issues I had with it were resolved before release.It is a satirical look at determinism vs free will in the digital age and tech giants profiting from the subjection of humanity In the not too distant future, societies are surreptitiously controlled by a monopoly of tech giants whose tech and AI are based on the theory humans have free will but they are predictable It is a precursor to an Orwellian society as people still have a choice to opt into the Predictive Lifechain, but if they don t they are manipulated or coerced into it or shunned by society as there is no data to verify they are a trustworthy citizen Beetle is the largest and most influential of these mega corps, and its tech is deeply ingrained in society Guy Matthias, a philanthropist and CEO of Beetle, is an odious vile man who publicly believes the use of his deterministic AI platform to control the population creates a safe and stable utopia However, privately, it is a tool for him to avoid responsibility and accountability for his and the company s actions, further his political agendas and petty vendettas against anyone who disagrees with him, and mine for successful hookups.This one was a struggle to finish Initially the balance between the world building and plot was off with paragraphs of info dumps unexpectedly popping up While the plot improved and was interesting, there are too many ideas crammed in and it becomes a muddled incoherent mess and that is before it introduces the Bespoke Beetlespeak language Often it felt like it was written by a robot with the info dumps being contrary and contradictory, for example These tiny things are called qubits If it helps, then think of them as imaginary spheres If it doesn t help, then don t A qubit is not what we imagine and yet it is It is anything we would like, and yet all things at the same time This makes it an improbably flexible basis for computing Nothing you are told is real Remember this, until we tell you that something you are being told is real Actually, the thing we are telling you, that nothing you are told is real, is actually real That thing is real, about nothing being real Just that thing though and nothing else Is that clear Ended up skim reading the last few chapters It was like the author didn t know how to wrap up the story after the climax.Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC. It started well, a great concept and very witty I want to know what the ending is, but I just don t want to read it any It seems to be going nowhere slowly. I enjoyed some of this book and some of it I found a slog The story begins well as a black and bleak comedy then loses its way, suddenly ups a gear and is almost exciting before simply fading away The premise isn t particularly new Big Bad Business and Big Bad Government collude in high tech monitoring of everyone and everything for the usual ends of money power and control It sometimes reminded me of Alena Graedon s The Word Exchange except that had heart here the primary characters felt for the most part just plot devices The only one who seemed real and written with some feeling was Guy Matthias, particularly his Damascene moment about his estranged wife and family As I mentioned, it all fizzles out rather unsatisfactorily but in and amongst there is some good writing and I will explore of Ms Kavenna s work. From The Winner Of The Orange Award For New Writing Comes A Blistering, Satirical Novel About Life Under A Global Media And Tech Corporation That Knows Exactly What We Think, What We Want, And What We Do Before We Do One Corporation Has Made A Perfect World Based On A Perfect Algorithm Now What To Do With All These Messy People Lionel Bigman Is Dead Murdered By A Robot Guy Matthias, The Philandering Founder And CEO Of The Mega Corporation Beetle, Insists It Was Human Error But Was It Either The Predictive Algorithms Of Beetle S Supposedly Omniscient Lifechain Don T Work, Or, They Ve Been Hacked Both Scenarios Are Impossible To Imagine And Signal The End Of Beetle S Technotopia And Life As We Know It Dazzlingly Original And Darkly Comic, Zed Asks Profound Questions About Who We Are, What We Owe To One Another, And What Makes Us Human It Describes Our Moment The Ugliness And The Beauty Perfectly Kavenna Is A Prophet Who Has Seen Deeply Into The Present And Thrown Back Her Head And Laughed A terrifying and frankly, bizarre insight into an Orwellian future of total control, murderous AI and algorithms to predict crime Corporate giants control all how to live, think, act and pre arrest any potential dissidents A great concept, but the execution ultimately lets the book down slightly. This was a DNF at around 23% I enjoyed the writing style and the thought of a totally enterprise controlled society is intriguing, very Orwellian, but the pace was very slow, I was lost most of the time, and while I enjoyed some of the characters, they didn t stand out enough for me to continue with the story. A fun read in a dystopian way Leans heavily on 1984 but none the worse for that Darkly hilarious and all too believable a future of we get too sucked into Twit Face Goo Zon I was trying to think of a collective noun for the Big Tech but just came up with Twitfaced how one feels after posting rubbish on Social Media Inspired me too re read 1984 and now Brave New World

Joanna Kavenna is a prize winning British novelist and travel writer.Kavenna spent her childhood in Suffolk and the Midlands as well as various other parts of Britain She has also lived in the United States, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic States.These travels led to her first book, The Ice Museum, which was published in 2005 It was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award in that

[Epub] ➜ Zed  By Joanna Kavenna – Stockbag.info
  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • Zed
  • Joanna Kavenna
  • 22 September 2017
  • 9780385545471

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