Adam Roberts is commonly described as one of the UK's most important writers of SF. He is the author of numerous novels and literary parodies. He is Professor of 19th Century Literature at Royal Holloway, London University and has written a number of critical works on both SF and 19th Century poetry. He is a contributor to the SF ENCYCLOPEDIA.
In this off-kilter work, Roberts (New Model Army) mixes social commentary and science fiction, springboarding from one simple premise: in a future where people can use photosynthesis to live on water and sunlight, real food is the ultimate luxury and the gulf between the haves and have-nots is wider than ever before. While the narrative ostensibly focuses on the trials of a wealthy family whose daughter is kidnapped while on vacation, Roberts mostly uses his characters to explore a world of great dichotomy and simmering upheaval. A heavy dose of class warfare is blended with fear of the other, the societal atmosphere of F. Scott Fitzgerald mixed with the bleak insight of George Orwell. It's provocative, if ponderous and meandering, with some troubling content concerning the treatment of children. Striving to be literature, this story does little in the way of entertainment. Agent: Steve Calcutt, Anubis Literary Agency. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Personally, I found it deeply fascinating...The closest reference point for me was Philip K. Dick's VALIS trilogy which fits in the same general literary area but "The Thing Itself" is definitely much more fun. * Upcoming 4 Me * I do appreciate a novel that makes me think while also entertaining me. The Thing Itself marries the two to perfection. There is so much packed within these pages and, without doubt, it's one of those memorable novels that will stand to repeated readings over the passing of time. A book of the year for me, for sure. * For Winter's Nights * I can't think of another such ostentatiously clever novel that is so dramatically successful. * Julian Baggini * The Thing Itself is evidence of Adam Roberts' inimitable brilliance. * Tor.com * using lit-fic techniques and by not playing by the genre rules, [Roberts] rises to the challenge that Mitchell sets down * SFX * A time-travelling nerd applies Kant with lethal results in this dazzling philosophical adventure...this is really walking the literary high wire, and Roberts not only keeps his balance, he makes the spectacle compelling * The Guardian * A remarkable novel: both gripping and intellectually exciting. * George Monbiot *