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Fluence Paperback – Import, 26 Jun 2015

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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"Extraordinarily gifted, detailed and believable. The author has created a vivid and frightening vision and the believable world just around the corner is an outstanding feature of this novel. The world of 'Fluence' may soon be upon us and we must act to stop a pulsating piece of fiction becoming our terrible reality." - Paul Simon, 'The Morning Star'

About the Author

Stephen Oram writes thought provoking stories that mix science fiction with social comment, mainly in a recognisable near-future. He is the Author in Residence at Virtual Futures, once described as the 'the Glastonbury of cyberculture'. He has collaborated with scientists and future-tech people to write short stories that create debate about potential futures, most recently with the Human Brain Project and Bristol Robotics Laboratory as part of the Bristol Literature Festival. As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk. In his early twenties he embraced the squatter scene and was part of a religious cult, briefly. He did some computer stuff in what became London's silicon roundabout and is now a civil servant with a gentle attraction to anarchism. He has two published novels, 'Quantum Confessions' and 'Fluence', and several shorter pieces.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: SilverWood Books Ltd (26 June 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781323631
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781323632
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
The book is a contemporary dystopian novel set in a future London that is divided into a class structure based on social media influence.Every year,a pay day takes place where everyone is assessed and further is assigned a colour.White being the lowest and Red being the highest. People battle it out on social media to gain fluency and find greater stepping in the society.They gain a new colour with the rise,A better colour means a greater lifestyle,a better job and most importantly more Power.There is no government, just a world controlled by the supermarkets – these 5 big corporations.This is actually not that far fetched, and is something that we our likes to see in the 21st century’s near future.Governments are already being predominantly ruled by market expectations.

Fluence tells the story of two main characters,Amber and Martin- who both work at the Bureaucracy.

Amber – a social climber who will do anything to get what she wants,or rather where she wants to be i.i higher on the social ladder.She had previously been demoted from Yellow – because of love and she begins to feel that love will not do anything but slow her down.Amber learns of a way to manipulate the algorithm of the strata,and she is relentless on finding her way back to the top.

Martin is the male protagonist,he was a hacker but has now given it up for a family,he is content with staying in Green- but he worries of letting his family down as his scores keep dropping.Whatever he does to try and stop his level from dropping,he fails to do so.On his mission to find enough points to scrape though the points,he finds himself face to face with questions he never thought he would never thought he’d be dealt with.

Stephen Oram has created a story filled with mystery,blackmail and anarchy.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Originally reviewed for Musings Over Nothing

I am so excited about the world the book is set in. A world ruled by corporate, a world that sustains on a assessment of performance - sort of- a class system based on the scores they have cut during the year. But he twist is the scores are based on their popularity or the Fluence points and magine people having to try and get more social credos by updating their social lives to run their normal life. I could not stop comparing the Facebook like that few people are desperate about even in our own world.

The protagonists work for the Bureaucracy - the one that grades people into color codes as a part of disability management department. The department segregates people who have to be supported by the government from the other. Amber is trying to do her duty which is to reduce the number of people of with disability registered, so that she can gain her points for her performance. She is ambitious to move on higher status and focused on that, come what may. Martin on the other hand has lost his vigor to try and win and just wants to stay put on his green status, but to his dismay his score keeps dipping without apparent reason, and he is determined to find out why.

The book is well twined with loopholes and the story is set in a steady pace that it would be quite hard to put it down until you finish it. Being one of the outliers, I would have liked to see more of them and how the system would fall apart. Reading about people pitted against each other and the subject of a shallow morality have always worked for me, and Oram's Fluence is no different.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Fluence is a dystopian fiction that covers the story of two characters in a world where the distinction between people happens by strata levels named with colors, the lowest being white and the highest being red. One character is hell bent to do anything to rise up the ladder from her current level, while the other wishes to stay at the level he's at, but finds his strata points reducing, putting him at risk of falling levels at the end of the year. Yet, what I related to was how close this scary world seems to the current world we live in. On some level, I could not connect with the two main characters even, but the setting and the world, that felt creepy. An interesting read, to say the least.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Stephen Oram created a world where the government is non-existent and big businesses control everything. Fluence is a well plotted novel where everyone is in race for the next level and in doing so how people are not afraid to carry out most belittling actions to achieve their goals. This dystopian novel has a gripping story that will make you think hard.

Author has done justice to the characters and entire story is really catchy. Some part of the story I didn’t enjoy but overall book is worth reading. Book Speaks will give it 3.5/5.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved!! 29 February 2016
By Natural_bri - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Fluence in the Big Brother, the 1984 of the social media age. Set in Orwell’s home city, this book takes place in a near-future London. Everything, statues, friendships, housing and even activity are decided based on the social media fluence points you earn in the earn. Rather than a time of money, the greed in solely based round your influence on the net, creating your world to the next year. Mess up, and you could lose your while life and everything you have worked for.

This story really caught me. I was a huge fan of 1984, durning my youth, and have a copy that I have read several times. This book is that, but for this generation. The scary thing - just like Orwell’s- this read has a lot of truth to it. We watch every day as the youth, and even the adults now, use social media as an outlet to show status. Often, building a life that isn’t true to its word, most people vie for their upcoming statuses by creating something fun, catchy and what they know will gain them the points they need, even if it isn’t true.

The media world becomes a cut-throat world, where everyone is out for themselves and often people get left behind in the dust, hurting and alone. I found the level of detail in this read superb. It made it very easy to become a part of the story and really see/feel what they characters were going through.

The detail in the characters, both in personality and actions created a very full, lifelike story. Just like today’s world, people are fighting to win, earn, everything they desire. It was easy to feel as though this was a very likely possibility, and soon.

I liked the pace of the read. We have a great deal of time to get to know the characters, world and what was taking place, but we also had the rushed, urgent feeling the characters experienced, as the final few days dwindled down.

I highly recommend this read. It appears Big Brother is still watching…

**I received this book for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars “Nothing is compulsory, merely a compromise.” 2 September 2016
By trashcanman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Imagine, if you would, a society in which your place in the world, your ability to make a living, and your very value as a human being was determined not by your ingenuity, determination, or abilities, but by your social influence. Okay, now imagine we aren’t already pretty much living in it. Fluence is a near-future science fiction novel in the tradition of 1984 (Signet Classics) and Fahrenheit 451: A Novel that seems all too possible, and like the prophetic visions of its ancestors (Bradbury having predicted reality television and Orwell’s political vision coming still closer to fruition every day) Stephen Oram’s dystopia takes the emerging social trends of the world we currently live in and stretches them to their logical conclusion.

A quick tour of modern media will reveal paths to esteemed celebrity status that include posting videos of cutting remarks on gender roles as portrayed in Donkey Kong, releasing videos of yourself having sex with famous people, spewing excessive vitriol at other human beings for spurious reasons, having people spew excessive vitriol at you for spurious reasons, posting pictures of the food you eat, and generally putting every moronic thought in your head on the internet for everyone to see and overreact to. Check Twitter. Check Facebook. Check Youtube. Check Tumblr. Check Amazon (d’oh!). Check them all. This is the world we live in now.

Fluence envisions a time and place where this form of social influence is currency (the titular “fluence”), society has been divided along a rainbow spectrum of strata levels, and corporations have officially replaced the government as the law of the land (as opposed to simply telling the government what to do as they are now). You do what you’re told, make the right friends, post about the right topics, and someday perhaps you too can climb from your assigned strata level and be one of the prestigious and affluent. Who needs a soul anyways?

The story throws itself between a sampling of citizens of varying ambition, and while it seems to barely scratch the surface and hint at the dysfunction of this vision of society, it respects its reader in ways fewer and fewer works do in this day and age. It demands that you read between the lines and think for yourself. The characters aren’t portrayed as good or evil, just different from one another with varying goals and abilities to cope with the world as it is. Fluence doesn’t tell you what to think or feel, it presents its vision as it is and demands you figure out how you personally feel about it to get the most out of this too-brief but fascinating trip into a possible future.

And while this is also one of the story’s strengths, it’s also where it falls short of the classics of the genre. Its vision never crystallizes as clearly as it could have and while old school sci-fi has often suffered from a lack of memorable characters, I feel like modern works have made huge strides in giving the characters who inhabit these places more personality and vibrancy. Fluence feels like a throwback not only in theme, but in the feeling that the characters never really come to life. They are vehicles to take the reader on a demonstrative tour of the world they live in, but they never really live and breathe. Like I said, this was also true of the classics, though, so I may be expecting too much.

Basically, what keeps this from the pinnacle of the genre is the fact that I want more. The classics seem to completely encompass the scope and depravity of their worlds and come to some form of climactic possibilities and resolutions for their characters. Fluence almost feels like it’s just the beginning of a larger work. A tease. It doesn’t end so much as it just stops. As the final pages dwindled away I had a feeling of dissatisfaction that you never get from a truly great novel, and it wasn’t because the book wasn’t really good. I wanted more. More of these peoples’ stories, more resolutions, and a larger view of this slave new world.

Beyond these slices of rather subjective pedestrian criticism, Oram’s work is certainly well worth reading, especially at its Kindle price (this is probably a good place to point out that I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review). The images and feeling evoked while reading about the struggles of citizens striving to either advance in a future where your integrity is forfeit or clawing and scraping to keep their meager place in a world they don’t understand will stay with me for a long while and certainly reminded me of my own present psychological struggles with the all-consuming monstrosity that social media has become.

Hopefully this can continue as a series like The Purge to show us different aspects and stories from this world Oram has created while advancing the overall narrative. It’d make a truly fantastic television series. And who knows, people may point back to Fluence some day as being as prophetic as Orwell’s work. That is, if we all aren’t too busy trying to gain retweets, views, and likes by selling our souls in order to appeal to a bunch of meaningless strangers to feed our own self-importance.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved reading Fluence 8 October 2015
By Kayti Nika Raet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Fluence by Stephen Oram is subtitled a contemporary dystopian novel and the name fits perfectly. Set in a near future London divided into a class structure based on influence, your social media popularity is everything. It's a future geared toward the so-called digital native and gives the illusion of upward mobility — if you play the game right.
Told from two points of view that are a bit typical for the genre. Amber, is the driven and calculated career womam who clawed her way up from the bottom and is willing the do anything to get to the top, while Martin is an ex-hacker who's cast as the bumbling everyman struggling to balance what's right for his concious and what's right for his career.
Both characters are working towards PayDay, where if they get enough points they can move up a level and with it gain all then enimities their new status will provide.
I loved reading Fluence. It's a fast paced read that fully immerses you in this status obsessed future. As the minutes wind down till PayDay and the mad scramble begins. There's blackmail, and betrayal as Oram slowly peels back the shiny vaneer of London's new society. The best part about Fluence is how closely in resembles own, turning social media addiction into a game of life and death —literarly.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed spending a few hours sharing Mr. Oram’s wild imaginings. 2 November 2015
By Pete Barber (Author) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
If you decide to try this novel, I suggest you buckle your mental seatbelt. The world in which Amber and Martin exist is about as zany a place as any I’ve come across whilst reading through Al’s list. Amber dresses and acts like a high-society member of The Hunger Games' Capital City. Martin is haunted and stressed and as out of place in his strata-level as George Orwell’s Winston Smith in 1984.

The strataed-society with its color-coded citizens (nice touch) manipulated by a small group of corporate conglomerates is not an uncommon theme in this genre. Nor is the concept of an underclass of “outliers” who reject the controlled society in favor of freedom. If I have a complaint of the novel it would be that the central theme is unclear. At times the scenes are so directionless that it’s hard to see what purpose they play in advancing the story. But by the same token, those scenes are so crazy and off-the-wall and imaginative and just plain weird that I found myself enjoying them in-the-moment and to heck with the plot.

Overall, I enjoyed spending a few hours sharing Mr. Oram’s wild imaginings.

This review was originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog.
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn’t we easily veer towards a similar system at some point 28 May 2016
By Yzabel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
[NOTE: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

This was quite a gripping, intriguing and also worrying dystopian story. Set in a not so future London, where the government has failed and corporations have taken over, it deals with a lot of themes that seem potentially “silly” at first, yet quickly make you wonder more and more about whether this is possible or not… whether we might be close to that already, or not.

Society in “Fluence” is divided into stratae: at the top, the Reds, kind of a nobility that takes care of its own; at the bottom, the violets, and even lower the whites (people who’ve opted out of the system for various reasons: disability, being overstressed because of the system, and so on). Both main characters, Amber and Martin, work for a branch meant to deal with requests by various people to become “white”, and the approach taken here is rather chilling, casting a crude light on various questions—money and budget cuts remain, unsurprisingly, weighing factors.

Originally a Violet, Amber managed to climb her way to Yellow a first time, but had to drop back to Green after her first (Orange) husband died. Obsessed by the idea of going back to yellow status, she spends her day acting a role, going out to parties and events she chooses depending on how many “points” they’ll earn her, and updating her personal feed so that people will vote for her—basically Facebook-like social networking pushed to the extreme, and let’s be honest: isn’t that a bit the case already for us today? Couldn’t we easily veer towards a similar system at some point?

Meanwhile, Martin is her polar opposite: older, tired of struggling to keep his place at Green level, but feeling forced to it because he wants his family to be happy. His own issues include his growing difficulty to perform well in his job, understanding the points/Fluence game, and his son, not legally adult yet, who’s living on the fringe of society and doing shady deals with shady people.

While a bit rough in places, this story was highly entertaining, with more than just one twist that at some point seriously makes you start questioning what you’re reading: who’s manipulating who, who’s betraying who, who’s threatening this or that character, who’s a real friend or only acting the part to earh yet more points… All this is both somewhat grotesque (the bulimia shows, the obscene parties…) and frighteningly believable (our obsession with ranking, performing well, being under constant scrutiny…). And even though the plot could’ve been a bit tighter and better defined, in the end it didn’t matter that much to me, as I still enjoyed the various scenes and situations the characters went through.

3.5 to 4 stars.

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