Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The Warehouse

With temperatures and unemployment rising, one American company is striving. Cloud. Each MotherCloud is a city, a huge warehouse with accommodation, food, healthcare and entertainment for its thousands of employees. There's no reason to leave. You're lucky to get a job there.

Cloud is quite clearly based an Amazon and some of the dubious working practices that have come out in recent years. Employees live on site, have strict quotas to fill, are searched leaving the warehouse to make sure they don't steal, and they are underpaid, of course. They work long hours and risk their safety, just to keep their star ratings and calling in sick has penalties. Their every move is tracked by their CloudBands.

Stay hydrated. Hit your numbers. Don’t complain. If you get hurt, walk it off. The less you have to talk to the managers, the better. Don’t even SAY the word union.

Paxton is an ex-prison guard who doesn't want to work security...but that's the job he's assigned at Cloud. His business (some egg gadget that wasn't very convincing) was driven under by Cloud, but now his one time competitor is his only option. He's put on a special task force to get to the bottom of the Oblivion problem, how's the drug getting in and who's involved? He meets another new recruit, Zinnia, a corporate spy, on a mission to steal Cloud's secrets.

It's a bit cheesy in places and the characters are a little cliched. Zinnia's "tough guy" persona was a bit much (she's beautiful and clever too). It tries to address sexual harassment but I think having it happen to Zinnia was the wrong move. She's calculated, rather than afraid. Yes, she doesn't want to lose the job at Cloud because of her other job, but she's not put in a position of desperation. She manages to get revenge rather than justice.

Cloud isn’t just a place to work. It’s a place to live. And when you’re here, you’ll never want to leave.

The blog posts from Cloud founder, Gibson Wells, show how his vision of the company differs from the reality of working there. He believes he is a philanthropist, helping to save the world. He has kept people in jobs, when automation was looming, but at what cost? He's also a multi-billionaire in a world with increasing inequality.

What is never explained is who is buying all the stuff? Apparently jobs are hard to come by outside of Cloud, even teachers are being laid off. The delivery drones mean they're not just selling products internally and a lot of things are non-essentials. So who were the customers?

There were other things that would be easy to pick holes in if you start thinking about them, however it was an entertaining thriller, with some quite valid points to make about monopolies.

ATY Rejects: Related to Monopoly

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive | Wordery | Blackwell’s




Book Source: Purchased

Saturday, 2 November 2019

On My Radar: November

A little later than usual, here's my round up of intriguing sounding books hitting the shelves in November. I'm most excited about The Toll and The Secret Chapter. As always, inclusion here isn't an endorsement and books may be available on different dates in different territories/formats (and sometimes they just change). Dates stated are generally for the UK print edition unless otherwise noted.


1st

Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson (US)


5th

Skein Island by Aliya Whiteley
Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand (US)
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machad (US)
Jakarta by Rodrigo Marquez Tizano (US)
They Will Drown in Their Mothers' Tears by Johannes Anyuru, Saskia Vogel (US)
The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel Jose Older


7th

The Toll by Neal Shusterman
The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis
The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah
Oligarchy by Scarlett Thomas


12th

Day Zero by Kelly Devos (US)
The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada


14th

The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman
Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri
Body Tourists by Jane Rogers
On Swift Horses by Shannon Pufahl
Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia


19th

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black


21st

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao


27th

The In-Betweens by Mira Ptacin (US)

28th

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

Friday, 1 November 2019

The Month That Was... October 2019

Last month has been my quietest blog month since I started waffling here in 2011! I've not been feeling that great and I think it's impacted my enthusiasm for blogging. Then I got a cold and even missed Readathon, which was a bummer. I have a few ideas to get my blogging mojo back, and I will have my November "On My Radar" post up this weekend.


I finished the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge though! And I'm one book away from completing Popsugar. The 2020 ATY list is ready now so take a peek if you're looking for a prompt based reading challenge next year.

I reviewed Pet on the blog and War Girls on my Instagram (another place I've been neglecting).


So what did I read?

Command and Control by Eric Schlosser
★★★★

Non-Fiction - Nuclear War
Verdict:
This history of nuclear war and the many near-disasters is terrifying. I do not know how we are still on this planet after reading this. If you've seen the Netflix documentary already, this book has the specific accident in the Arkansas silo runnign through it but has a lot more information on the history of the bomb, its effect on world politics and a lot of other near misses... Highly recommend if you're into this subject matter.
ATY: 8. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #2

Sweet Fruit, Sour Land by Rebecca Ley
★★★★

Cli-Fi - Dystopia - Reproductive Rights
Verdict:
Whilst not specifically a Brexit book, this does feel like a depressing premonition of our future. The population is dwindling and there are policies in place to make women reproduce, all the while food shortages mean everything's rationed, yet somehow there's still the elite who manage to have it all. Slightly Ballardian.
POPSUGAR: 22. A book with SALTY, SWEET, BITTER, or SPICY in the title

Gotta Get Theroux This by Louis Theroux
★★★

Autobiography - TV
Verdict:
I knew going in that there would be a lot about Jimmy Saville, but gah, there is a little too much. I can totally understand Louis having to come to terms with his friendship knowing what we know now, but I didn't really want to read about it in depth. I listened to this on audio though and it was nice having Louis chat in my ear. If you've seen all his documentaries, there's not a lot new here, he really doesn't have much artifice in his TV.
ATY Rejects: By, or about, a current or former journalist