Gderu

The Original reactions thread

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This thread will have full book spoilers.

 

 

 

 

 

I'm not sure what happened at the end. Which one survived, which died? I think that the replica survived, but I'm not sure.

I really liked the way the world was built in this one. It felt very vivid and real, despite the alien setting. The plot felt much more complex than I'm used to from Brandon's books, and I like that as well. There was no real correct Holly. They were both broken, and both wrong. In the end, it was implied that the choice to kill the other was a selfish one instead of a moralistic, and so no matter who lived, she was guilty.

The government was definitley in the wrong here. Skyler implied that there was something about the Commons that he wasn't telling her - I'm pretty sure it is that they have the secret code that the government needs to change people's memories. If that is true, he is definitley implicated.

The people who checked out seem like the most likely heroes here, but then again if they had fulfilled their goals, they could very well have turned into a replica of the government using the ability to change people's memories. In the end, both groups were not really working for the common people.

Thoughts?

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I was also trying to figure out who survived. I think it was the original, replica Holly kept trying to deny that she was like her original I think that after hearing the whole story she could not bring herself to kill the original there by proving that she is not like herself in the final moments of her life. But I could be wrong.

I have to agree the world was great and I would love to see this one as a film the fight scene at the dance place would be incredible getting to see the world change as she touches people would be alot of fun. I liked the complexities of the people nobody was in the right each group had some good motivation but there actions were not. I think in the end we do not see the good people we have those who are lost, which are the checkouts and normal people each group is trying to find something that they can't, and we have those who seek to control the world for there own purpose each believing that what they are doing is better then the alternative

Overall I really enjoyed this one and would love to see more like it 

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I suspect that the authors don’t actually know which one survives—it could be either, and the outcome is the same. The ending monologue is deliciously ambiguous. Which Holly? Both hate each other for making the wrong choice—the replica hates the original for killing the replica of her husband that the real Jonathan knew would be sent to her, perhaps planned as a way of letting her keep him; the original hates the replica for being the same liar the man the original murdered was. Either way the surviving Holly is only half-alive, both because she killed her husband and because she killed her mirrored self. This outcome is the only one possible other than both shooting simultaneously (which is what I erroneously guessed would happen).

Of course, one of them had to have survived because the story is narrated in first person past tense. Is that evidence that the survivor is the replica, or is the surviving original narrating both people as her unified self? The narrator seems to be the replica, but the title of the book is The Original.

I wasn’t sure about this story at first—I felt like it was very unoriginal for a while—but the questions raised by the ending make me love it. But it reminds me of the last sci-fi short Brandon put out, Snapshot. In both stories, (which I barely remember and must reread now)

Spoiler

the main character is a copied, modified version of a killer who is used to in some way investigate and incriminate themself. 

They aren’t identical but are similar enough for it to seem a little odd.

Edited by Neithan
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I've only listened to the first 2 chapters, so, reaction so far:

Why would she kill her husband? If it's NOT her husband, but a husband-replacement murder-clone!

That's all I got so far.  Also, wondering whether she realised somehow after slipping and cutting herself while carving oranges.  Not sure how that works, maybe she suddenly realised the murder-clone was missing a scar or injury or something?  I dunno.

I hope there's more to it than that, and I'm actually wrong!

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All in all, a fantastic audiobook! I loved all the extra audio cues and soundtrack! It was incredibly immersive and the narrator, Julia Whelan, was very good!! I would love to see/hear more of this world! I can imagine a police procedural/ detective thriller tv show taking place in it.

 

I think that the original is the one that survived afterwards.

In the ending speech she says she will have 'no more renewals' in her new life. This falls in line with the original's status as a 'check-out'. If the Provisional Replica were the survivor she would need at least one more renewal in order to make her nanites permanent (whether or not she would continue to renew every week would be a different case). 

Now if it were a different procedure to turn a PR's nanites permanent we could say that it would be inconclusive. However, the renewal stations give nanites to people each renewal and would normally give permanent nanites, so I would assume it would be the same place and procedure for a conversion of nanite status. 

 

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My first audio-exclusive fiction and I really enjoyed it! 

While I think it could be read that either survived, I think it's the PR version. Either way, it's like the ending of Inception, and I can live with that. 

As for the government, I'm more neutral on the situation. What they did with Holly's husband was TERRIBLE, but they also try to allow for privacy, free will, and free expression. It's also hinted that Holly's husband (or at least the PR) knew that he was suffering from suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and decided the sacrifice of the invasion of privacy was worth Holly's happiness. Holly clearly didn't see it that way, and I'm honestly not surprised. Again, Inception vibes. 

I'm still not sure if I like the ending, given how quickly things moved wrap up.

This would make for a very interesting sci-fi movie as well. It's a short, sweet, standalone that's clearly high-concept. It would be hard to get out of Holly's head for a bit, but if they can do that with YA movies, then they can do it here. Certain action scenes may be hard to choreograph*, but the set design, clothing, and cast would be minimal, making it pretty cheap on that front. The CGI front on the other hand... Like Inception, it would be really interesting to see which way audiences lean. 

Overall, this is probably my second favorite standalone novellThis post has been reported for attempting to skirt the rules with Brandon's name attached to it, right under The Emperor's Soul. 8/10

 

*Like the club fight. However if pulled off well enough, I think it would be really cool. Music would be diegetic, giving the sterile white-room fight so much more paradox - the quiet white room would feel so fake, but in this world it's the only thing that's real.

**So no The Eleventh Metal, Secret History, Hope of Elantris, or Edgedancer. 

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Also my first audio exclusive, but it didn't land for me! I'm a huge Brandon fan and the premise was intriguing, so I was really expecting to like it too. I'm not a big audio listener, so not being able to physically read it could be the driver behind a lot of my concerns. I totally could have missed things that would have helped me enjoy the book

Why I didn't like it:

  • I didn't buy the world. This is by far the big reason I couldn't fully enjoy the book, it's first SanderWorld I couldn't get immersed in. So much of the book was about Holly being shocked and appalled at how fake everything was, but didn't she already know? Everyone knows everything is fake, they can choose their customizations after all. Also, I don't really get how themes could work on such a grand scale. So much of life and relationships is about joint experiences, but if you have different themes than those around you, your experiences would be so different. When Holly and her husband go on a date to that club did they have to make sure they had similar themes so they could at least be hearing the same songs?
  • The plot seemed off. The way she kept having fights with the same group of baddies but always got away rubbed me the wrong way. It seemed almost like a corny action film. I get the idea is that the two Hollys could predict each other's decisions, but it was almost silly how the same thugs were everywhere PR Holly went.
  • A few resolutions were missing. Clearly it was an artistic choice to have a more oped ended finish, and I did like the head space it left me with, but I wish I knew more about what the whole experience was like form Skyler and Original Holly's perspectives. What did Skyler think about Jill's accusations? What was the last week like for The Original Holly? Why did Skyler let that final confrontation between the Hollys happen? It seems like he should have had her followed or something.
  • It was an unusual tone for Brandon. I think this is my most subjective complaint. Most Sanderson books are generally optimistic, especially in regards to people. Most people are mostly good at the core. In this book corruption, lies, and anger seemed to rule the day.

 

I would love to hear more people's thoughts. Were there explanations and clues I missed because I wasn't paying good enough attention? It's very possible, especially with the book being audio only. Also, I'm glad almost all the review's I've seen have been positive. I'm glad Sanderson has been giving collaborations a try even if this one wasn't my cup of tea. Also I look forward to hopefully hearing some of Sanderson and Kowal's thoughts on the book as well, maybe even on tonight's livestream.

 

Edit: Also, I had the thought that Snapshot + Perfect State = The Original. I find that quite amusing

Edited by CosmereFan
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I really enjoyed it overall, but I wasn't a huge fan of the ambiguous ending-- it felt kind of lazy. I did love the idea of reskins over the world, and how that could be cool and fun and make life easier but had some serious ethical concerns. I thought little details like her "editing" the taste of her favorite fruit were super fascinating. I agree that it felt a little more morally corrupt (no good choices, no good people) than Brandon's usual fare, and I have mixed feelings about that. I think it would have been less noticeable without the Sanderson expectations (and Kowall, for that matter, since her stories have been relatively black-and-white that I've read)

My personal interpretation of the ending is that the copy killed her original, went in to get her "permanent" body and then went AWOL, and the recording we get at the end is right after that. 

2 hours ago, CosmereFan said:

When Holly and her husband go on a date to that club did they have to make sure they had similar themes so they could at least be hearing the same songs?

I think you misunderstood the world (or at least I understood it differently.) People have their default themes they see walking down the street, but in most places you are projected a certain theme unless you try to override it. (So for example, the club always looks like a retro-vintagey club with the same music unless you ask it not to). Even then, a lot of the re-themes that your average person does are subtle, like making a room a little brighter or colors pop a little more. She seemed to expect the white buildings and white walls, and that was mostly just disorienting, but not know the extent of it. I wasn't at all surprised that it was shocking to see just how much of her normal, everyday experience was completely fake-- especially in places that your average person doesn't know is themed at all, like the campground, but also just that anything undesireable, including whole communities, can be edited right out from under your nose. 

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On 15/09/2020 at 8:44 PM, Snorkel said:

I've only listened to the first 2 chapters, so, reaction so far:

Why would she kill her husband? If it's NOT her husband, but a husband-replacement murder-clone!

That's all I got so far.  Also, wondering whether she realised somehow after slipping and cutting herself while carving oranges.  Not sure how that works, maybe she suddenly realised the murder-clone was missing a scar or injury or something?  I dunno.

I hope there's more to it than that, and I'm actually wrong!

Just finished. Dang, I was right. D:  Actually thought I was wrong for most of the book, but then came out at the end.  Wow.

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