Official Review: Losing Normal by Francis Moss

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Helen_Combe
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Official Review: Losing Normal by Francis Moss

Post by Helen_Combe » 17 Aug 2018, 02:21

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Losing Normal" by Francis Moss.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Losing Normal by Francis Moss is an exciting sci-fi adventure for young adults. Alex Rinato has high functioning Asperger’s syndrome; he has a fantastic facility with numbers and an amazing memory. The downside to these talents is that he needs everything to be normal. Change of any kind upsets him, and the world is about to change drastically. Calliope, a technology company, has produced an automated entertainment system run by an AI called Sophie. The films and series created by it prove to be utterly addictive and many people are now doing little more than just sitting and watching TV. As Calliope expands and sets up huge screens in public places, the majority of the public is reduced to little more than zombies. Even worse, Calliope is now expanding into education, but Sophie has identified a problem. People whose brains are ’different’ or damaged are immune to Sophie’s siren call. The race is on to shut Sophie down before can ’fix’ Alex and people like him who want to break Sophie’s stranglehold on the population.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was exciting and fast-paced, and the narrative switched regularly between Alex and Sara, his gifted but decidedly unorthodox friend. There were also short clips from the Calliope system logs, indicating that all may not be well there either. The characters are likeable and human and I enjoyed the way Sara would try to make things ’normal’ for Alex so he could function during the confusion and change. I also liked the way the resistance was run from bookshops; an allegory for the modern world where an escape from the evils of technology is to be found in books and libraries.

There is quite a high body count in the story, it’s not graphically described but adults and children die in fires or are spirited away to somewhere terminal. I found the technobabble sometimes went over my head, especially towards the end, but it was probably meant to as Sophie was doing battle with brilliant super-nerds.

There wasn’t anything that I disliked in the content, but the book failed in the editing. There were missing words, for example, ’the farmhouse might under’ rather than ’the farmhouse might be under’. There were superfluous words such as ’I hope the data is be undamaged’, and there were apostrophe problems such as ’a trucker’s motel’ rather than ’a truckers’ motel’. Lucinda Clark was twice referred to as ’he’, and some of the men had feminine ’blonde’ hair.

It is such a shame about the lack of editing because otherwise, I might have awarded the book 4 stars. If I could, I would give it 3.5 stars, but as I can’t, I am giving it 3 out of 4 stars.

This book will appeal to young adults who enjoy exciting technology based sci-fi.

******
Losing Normal
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Post by stacie k » 18 Aug 2018, 00:09

I like your statement about the evils of technology being escaped through books and the library. This strikes me as an original plot with the combination of Aspergers and AI. There are familiar elements put together in a fresh way. Great review!
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Post by Bianka Walter » 18 Aug 2018, 01:35

Interesting idea - TV taking over the world. It pretty much rules most of my world anyway. Sounds like an interesting book :)
Great review, Helen!
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Post by Helen_Combe » 18 Aug 2018, 02:20

stacie k wrote: ↑
18 Aug 2018, 00:09
I like your statement about the evils of technology being escaped through books and the library. This strikes me as an original plot with the combination of Aspergers and AI. There are familiar elements put together in a fresh way. Great review!
Thank you. :tiphat:
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Post by Helen_Combe » 18 Aug 2018, 02:24

Bianka Walter wrote: ↑
18 Aug 2018, 01:35
Interesting idea - TV taking over the world. It pretty much rules most of my world anyway. Sounds like an interesting book :)
Great review, Helen!
Thank you very much :tiphat:
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 18 Aug 2018, 05:09

There seem to be an ultimate battle between Alex and Sophie, thanks to Alex's disorder. I wonder what was the outcome. Thank you for your review!
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Post by Helen_Combe » 18 Aug 2018, 05:15

Sahani Nimandra wrote: ↑
18 Aug 2018, 05:09
There seem to be an ultimate battle between Alex and Sophie, thanks to Alex's disorder. I wonder what was the outcome. Thank you for your review!
It was! Thank you :tiphat:
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Post by Britty01 » 18 Aug 2018, 09:32

Oh my, this book has me very intrigued. I am hoping Alex can shut Sophie down already. lol. After reading World, Inc. I am finding I like these kinds of stories. I am beginning to think a high body count is to be expected in any kind of society portrayed in these kinds of novels.

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Post by Helen_Combe » 18 Aug 2018, 12:01

Britty01 wrote: ↑
18 Aug 2018, 09:32
Oh my, this book has me very intrigued. I am hoping Alex can shut Sophie down already. lol. After reading World, Inc. I am finding I like these kinds of stories. I am beginning to think a high body count is to be expected in any kind of society portrayed in these kinds of novels.
Indeed, not much of a dystopia if everybody is happy. Thanks for commenting.
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Post by teacherjh » 18 Aug 2018, 14:06

This sounds like an amazing read. I love the futuristic aspect and the interesting characters. Great review.

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Post by Helen_Combe » 18 Aug 2018, 15:54

teacherjh wrote: ↑
18 Aug 2018, 14:06
This sounds like an amazing read. I love the futuristic aspect and the interesting characters. Great review.
Thank you :tiphat:
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Post by sharkyjen998 » 18 Aug 2018, 17:33

Your review has encouraged me to add this book to my "want to read" shelf. The fact that the main character has highly functioning asperger's syndome caught my attention, but the parts about Sophia make this a must-read! Sophia is already a real technology, so I can't wait to read this author's take on it! Thanks for your review!

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Post by FictionLover » 18 Aug 2018, 18:27

Britty01 wrote: ↑
18 Aug 2018, 09:32
Oh my, this book has me very intrigued. I am hoping Alex can shut Sophie down already. lol. After reading World, Inc. I am finding I like these kinds of stories. I am beginning to think a high body count is to be expected in any kind of society portrayed in these kinds of novels.
I like dystopias, too. I was not all that impressed with World, Incorporated, though. I'll have to take a look at your review.

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Post by FictionLover » 18 Aug 2018, 18:32

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was exciting and fast-paced, and the narrative switched regularly between Alex and Sara, his gifted but decidedly unorthodox friend. There were also short clips from the Calliope system logs, indicating that all may not be well there either. The characters are likeable and human and I enjoyed the way Sara would try to make things ’normal’ for Alex so he could function during the confusion and change. I also liked the way the resistance was run from bookshops; an allegory for the modern world where an escape from the evils of technology is to be found in books and libraries.
Another great review, Helen. I've read a couple of books where the main character has Aspberger's syndrome. If done right, it can really give a unique point of view.

I'll keep this one in mind. :tiphat: :tiphat:
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Post by crediblereading2 » 18 Aug 2018, 18:36

Hey, there is actually an AI out there called Sophie whose actions are pretty similar to those of a human. I guess this book is based on her. Thank you for an excellent review.

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