- By Chris Beckett

The Holy Machine. Chris Beckett

  • Title: The Holy Machine. Chris Beckett
  • Author: Chris Beckett
  • ISBN: 9781848874619
  • Page: 359
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Holy Machine Chris Beckett Illyria is a scientific utopia an enclave of logic and reason founded off the Greek coast in the mid st century as a refuge from the Reaction a wave of religious fundamentalism sweeping the planet

    Illyria is a scientific utopia, an enclave of logic and reason founded off the Greek coast in the mid 21st century as a refuge from the Reaction, a wave of religious fundamentalism sweeping the planet Yet to George Simling, first generation son of a former geneticist who was left emotionally and psychically crippled by the persecution she encountered in her native ChicagoIllyria is a scientific utopia, an enclave of logic and reason founded off the Greek coast in the mid 21st century as a refuge from the Reaction, a wave of religious fundamentalism sweeping the planet Yet to George Simling, first generation son of a former geneticist who was left emotionally and psychically crippled by the persecution she encountered in her native Chicago, science dominated Illyria is becoming as closed minded and stifling as the religion dominated world outside

    1 thought on “The Holy Machine. Chris Beckett

    1. This was a fantastic sci-fi story. The concepts explored by Chris Beckett throughout the story proved to be the perfect mix of interesting, thought provoking and entertaining. The added plus was that the characters themselves were more than just plot devices for Beckett's idea and were relatable and easy to root for despite their flaws. In a not to distant future the world as we know it has become consumed by a wave of religious fundamentalism now just referred to as the Reaction. In this world [...]

    2. interesting novel about machines, nature, nuture. based in the near future and if machines have souls or not and one man journey with a sex machine and escape the rational city and enter the outlands where machines are executed as demons and how he reacts to it all.

    3. George Simling has grown up in the city-state of Illyria in the Eastern Mediterranean, an enclave of logic and reason founded as a refuge from the Reaction, a wave of religious fundamentalism that swept away the nations of the twenty-first century. Yet to George, Illyria's militant rationalism is as close-minded and stifling as the faith-based superstition that dominates the world outside its walls. For George has fallen in love with Lucy. A prostitute. A robot. She might be a machine, but the s [...]

    4. TRIGGER WARNING: This novel contains rape, sexism, religious/other persecution.Chris Beckett's The Holy Machine is short, snappy, and doesn't overstay its welcome. The pilgrimage seems a bit pointless until George Simling finally reveals his motivation.Indeed, George is the weakest part of the novel. I get the feeling he's supposed to be someone that readers can connect with: nerdy, and awkward socially around beautiful women. (Yeah, he's more stereotype than archetype.) First, he's interested i [...]

    5. or 7/10. Intriguing book with well reasoned concepts that are quite scarily on the verge of being reality, particularly the demonisation of rationalised thinking and the emergence of religion as the dominant force in deciding societal mores. Some elements reminded me of the Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, which is an outstanding book. This is good, if not quite on the same level. There are some genuinely horrifying moments that made me physically squirm. The narrowly disguised entity that is Se [...]

    6. Original un carro, oye.Presenta como excusa una cruenta lucha entre la religión la y ciencia para mostrarnos esa misma lucha llevada a un punto que quizás podría ocurrir.Hay más temas interesantes entremezclados. Recomendable.

    7. Really peculiar book.It started out strong-but-hackneyed, moved into Just Plain Strong territory, then sprinted through all the potentially interesting bits at top belt, instead focussing on endless hand-wringing "answer in the middle" polemic and ended up leaving the reader unable to connect with anyone or feel the import of anything. Was that the point?The Holy Machine takes place in a "post-apocalyptic"(?) world envisaged by a Humanities graduate (i.e. badly). There has been a Reaction, in wh [...]

    8. Lots of big Themes in this one, religion versus science, artificial intelligence, simulated realities as opposed to the real world. So much of this quite short novel is taken up with broad strokes, "Isn't it strange how people can kill each other over one word of difference in a book?", "Yes, but science can also be bad!" type discussions. The story would have been stronger if the the focus been more on the juxtaposition of Lucy's awakening to consciousness and Ruth's experiences as Little Rose. [...]

    9. This story is set in a dystopian future where a world-wide uptick in religious fundamentalism of every kind has resulted in pogroms against scientists and atheists and their founding of a new country to escape persecution. The problem is that the scientists and atheists have become as intolerant as the religious fundamentalists they loathe. Add in the self-actualizing robot servants of the scientists and atheists who are starting to get religion, and now the real fun begins.The writing is superb [...]

    10. The Holy Machine is intelligent, well thought out and very well written. Beckett is pretty damning of the madness that religion can lead to, but balances this extreme example of where religion can go against the difficulties of using science as an ethical code. The result is thought-provoking without ever preaching.Ultimately, I thought the central theme of the book is one of self-discovery; for George, the protagonist, Lucy, the syntec, and Illyria the non-religious science-nation. The point th [...]

    11. Religion, Robots and what it is to be human! A great mix and a great debut novel from Author Chris Beckett!

    12. The world has suffered the Reaction, a rise of religious fundamentalism that has outlawed science and thrown much of humanity into poverty. Only in Illyria, a great city-state in the eastern Mediterranean, does science still prevail. Growing up in Illyria, shy and timid George Simling accepts the doctrine of Reason until it begins to defeat itself: to prevent the development of true AI amongst its robot servitors, the rulers of the city decree that all robots are to have their memories wiped eve [...]

    13. This is trully a great book and I highly recommend it. The areas of interest / thematics of the story include: a futuristic dystopia with a world-wide religious fundamentalism; biology and conciousness; artificial intelligence and consiousness; life - and the search for its definition; human behaviour, superstition and irrationality; religion(s) and religion VS science; spirituality in a technological society; virtual reality and so onI'd categorise the book in quarters: the first 2 quarters are [...]

    14. The world has gone fanatically religious -- "the Reaction" swept through the world, rejecting science and embracing fundamentalist religion, and now life has reverted to something more like the Middle Ages. Except in Illyria, where George, our protagonist, lives. Illyria is the opposite; the scientific world view rules. While this might seem like a necessary corrective, as our story begins Illyria is becoming even more restrictive and intolerant of religion than it has been. And there are Syntec [...]

    15. Hmmm, cyborgs and self awareness - Philip Dick covered all this as well as can be imagined with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, right? Everything else is just riffing on his basic premise, to the point where the whole theme is a stock sci-fi cliche, no?Well, if Dick was taking the themes of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein into radical new directions, I think Beckett pulls off the same feat here.This novel is best appreciated as a kind of extended thought experiment. In the post-truth world (whi [...]

    16. The Reaction, a wordwide revival of religious fervor and repression has driven all rational people to the scientific utopia of Illyria, where the flame of civilization stil burns. Perhaps not terribly brightly though, if our protagonist George Simling, and his mother Ruth are any indication. Ruth is addicted to the virtual world of the SenSims, fleeing her memories of her expulsion from Chicago, whilst George becomes addicted to the charms of Lucy, a syntec, or cyborg, created for the pleasure o [...]

    17. An easy read, with not very much character development and perhaps a few too many coincidences. But I enjoyed the unusual setting in the Balkans. The strength of this debut novel is in the themes of what it is to be alive, to be conscious and to be human or not. The main protagonists all travel on different journeys of discovery.

    18. An interesting exploration of what it means to be human and have a soul. I thought it was a good mix of science and theology.The writing starts off strong and continues strong about 3/4 of the way through. It felt weak in the conclusion of the story. That being said, overall it was difficult to put down .

    19. His later work is betterI read this after some of his later work, and was a bit disappointed. Not because this is bad - far from it. Beckett makes a better character than almost anyone else, and that skill is clearly evident here too. But this book just doesn't quite do it for me. It's like he hasn't quite worked out how to put a book together yet.

    20. I enjoyed this one a lot, even though I prefer his Dark Eden series. A bit closer to allegory than I normally like but a very good story in a dystopian near-future which is different to other imaginings of it I've recently seen but one that is only just a little bit hyperbolic. It is not so much science-fiction as politics-fiction and society-fiction but then the best SF is.

    21. It was ok. It was Becker first book and I could tell. Interesting concept (boy, you can tell he is a sociologist). His downfall is the characters, they lack warmth, and tend to be a bit two dimensional although character development is there.

    22. I'm an occasional reader of sc-fi and, when you come across something that's full of ideas, well written and somewhat believable, seldom other genres beat it. This book ticked all those boxes for me.

    23. Chris Beckett’s 2004 debut The Holy Machine is narrated by George Simling, a translator in the Balkan city-state of Illyria, a nation founded on the principles of the rationalism after the rest of the world was taken over by religious extremists. George’s only company is his mother Ruth, a former scientist who has retreated from the world and now spends most of her time in the virtual reality of SenSpace. As a result, for all the material comforts in his life, George is missing true human co [...]

    24. infinityplus/nonfiction/holymachinem[return][return]This is Beckett's first published novel, and it is a promising start. George Simling is a translator in the near-future city of Illyria, one of the few parts of the world that has not succumbed to the religious Reaction against all forms of technology. He falls in love with a sex robot which has started to develop autonomous intelligence beyond its programming, but ends up getting much more than he bargained for.[return][return]I normally hate [...]

    25. A different type of sci-fi novel, with a few parts that might make some folks uncomfortable -- and will thrill others as equally. It wasn't super-high on technological realism, but it was a good tale of artificial intelligence, and what the not-too-distant future might be like perhaps in some slightly kinkier/weirder parallel universe.Which alternate cover do you like best? Recommended for those who like:** A.I. stories or plots-with-bots** Not-so-perfect futures** Sci-fi with some sexual and re [...]

    26. This book wasn't what I expected. The story wasn't new, just the same old story about the war between religious fanatism and science. I expected more a science fiction story with exciting moments but I was just bored the whole time. :/*** german review *** Ich muss gestehen, dass ich von diesem Buch nach der obigen Inhaltsangabe irgendwie etwas anderes erwartet habe. Der Autor lässt seine Hauptfigur George seine Geschichte erzählen: George lebt in Illyria, einem fortschrittlichen Land, währen [...]

    27. I mean, on the one hand, this is totally better than Dark Eden in my personal opinion on a lot of levels (no distracting futurespeak dialectical thingos going on, less blatant patriarchal crud about women's roles), but it's still well not great (still some patriarchal crud about women's roles, latent racism and queerphobia). I want to like this book. There are definitely smidgens here and there which I like very much indeed. And I'm vacillating between 3 and 4 stars. But still. Ugh, robot sex [...]

    28. Make SF literary and realism is off the hook; reality can go hang. A characteristic of such books is the ‘one big idea’ implemented somewhat unsubtly. Here the ‘big idea’ is that religion has become murderously resurgent worldwide, and the last bastion of reason is a glittering Balkan city state known as Illyria. As is sadly often the case with SF loved by those who do not love SF, it’s hard to see how this state of affairs could come about.We say literary SF can accommodate philosophi [...]

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