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Tears in Rain [Paperback]

Rosa Montero , Lilit Zekulin Thwaites
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 27 2012

Death is inevitable. Especially when you have an expiration date.

As a replicant, or “techno-human,” Detective Bruna Husky knows two things: humans bioengineered her to perform dangerous, undesirable tasks; and she has just ten years on the United States of Earth before her body automatically self-destructs. But with “anti-techno” rage on the rise and a rash of premature deaths striking her fellow replicants, she may have even less time than she originally thought.

Investigating the mysterious deaths, Bruna delves into the fractious, violent history shared by humans and replicants, and struggles to engage the society that fails to understand her—yet created her. The deeper she gets, the deadlier her work becomes as she uncovers a vast, terrifying conspiracy bent on changing the very course of the world. But even as the darkness of her reality closes in, Bruna clings fiercely to life.


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About the Author

Rosa Montero is an acclaimed novelist and an award-winning journalist for the Spanish newspaper El País. A native of Madrid and the daughter of a professional bullfighter, Montero published her first novel at age twenty-eight. She has won Spain’s top book award, the Qué Leer Prize, twice—for The Lunatic of the House in 2003 and Story of the Transparent King in 2005. A prolific author of twenty-six books, her other titles include the short-story collection Lovers and Enemies and the novels Beautiful and Dark, My Beloved Boss, and The Heart of the Tartar.


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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By John Kwok TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"Tears in Rain" is a superb addition to contemporary science fiction literature from Spanish author Rosa Montero. It is a fast-paced blend of post-cyberpunk fiction and psychological thriller, drawing upon Ridley Scott's film "Blade Runner", which, in turn, was inspired by Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep". However, to Montero's credit, hers is not a mere fictional derivate of either Scott's great film or Dick's acclaimed science fiction novel. Instead, she offers readers a credible, realistic, vision of a unified Earth in the aftermath of adverse global warming that will remind many of Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Wind-Up Girl" in its gritty realism and substantial attention to detail that is far better than almost anything I have read from contemporary American mainstream writers who have opted to delve into dystopian speculative fiction recently. (Notable exceptions to this trend include such great works as Rick Moody's "The Four Fingers of Death" and Gary Shteyngart's "Super Sad True Love Story".) Montero's protagonist Bruna Husky should remind those familiar with cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk science fiction of William Gibson's Molly in his "Sprawl" series of short stories and novels, culminating with his "Cyberspace" trilogy ("Neuromancer", "Count Zero", "Mona Lisa Overdrive"). While this is a great post-cyberpunk thriller in its own right, "Tears in Rain" also works as an elegant condemnation of ethnic and religious discrimination by a majority against minorities within its population, in her sympathetic portrayal of Husky and her fellow replicants - frequently referred to as technohumans and as androids in Montero's novel - and of alien outcasts like the Omaa flutist Maio. Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  273 reviews
128 of 132 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Possibly a victim of the translator? Oct. 25 2012
By Thomas F. Dillingham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
It is a daring writer who not only attempts to extend and re-explore a story that exists first as one of Philip K. Dick's best novels, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and second as one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, Blade Runner, but who also chooses as her title a phrase that will remind many, maybe most, potential readers of one of the most powerful and poetic moments in that film, making it inevitable that many, maybe most, of those potential readers will pick up this novel with expectations, maybe with a kind of "show me" attitude. Of course, Rosa Montero is not the first to have "extended" the story of the "replicants," ("androids" in Dick's predecessor), nor are those earlier efforts necessarily significant competition for her--they are just okay. But her title and the story she has proposed to tell make very big promises as one opens the first pages, and those promises are hard to fulfill.

I should say that as a re-exploration of the psychological traumas of the replicants, Tears in Rain provides deeper and more extensive representations of what it means to be more or less indistinguishable from regular humans, but to live with the knowledge of an imposed and knowable disconnect date. Montero's characters provide a range of convincing emotions and behavior consistent with what we might expect, especially with the expectation that determination and a certain ruthlessness (in the use of violence, especially) would be part of their existence. And more--the political and social implications for a world "divided" between traditionally born human beings and their near-twins, manufactured and so, in traditional terms, not "natural," are explored in some impressive depth and detail. The us/them conflicts between the indigenous (or simply the predecessors with power) and the "other" or alien are ramped up effectively in this novel, which also explores possible resolutions.

So why only 4 stars (and my first choice was 3)? My title suggests it. The novel reads as though it were written by someone for whom English is not her first language. I resisted this feeling, set it aside repeatedly through the first 80 or 100 pages, but it nagged. It seems that whenever there is a chance for the translator to use a cliche or a conventional (and overused) phrasing, that is what we get. The prose is not just flat, it is laid on like advertising fliers. The relentless cheesiness of the language finally defeats what I suspect is a work more powerful and probably better written in its original language, and so for the English speaking reader, it is diminished. Yes, I know, the realm of science fiction writing has been heavily inhabited by poor stylists who counted on the liveliness of their plotting and the charm or menace of their characters to carry docile readers past the sadly flat prose styles--and even Philip K. Dick is sometimes subject to that complaint. But this novel clearly has higher ambitions and considerable intelligence behind it, and I suspect that the author writes far better Spanish prose than the translator does English prose. So the four stars suggest that many serious readers of science fiction, including fans of Philip K. Dick and Ridley Scott's great movie, will find the book rewarding, even though they may share my reservations.
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simply Magnificent, then Simply Ordinary Feb. 2 2013
By John L. Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'll be honest, I don't read very much fiction anymore because it tends to be simplistic and trite and can't manage to elicit an emotional response in me anymore. Tears in Rain fixed that. It was one gripping read. A very complex plot line where you had to deal with significant mystery, it had the advantage of not being part of a series of books where you know the main characters are safe. Simply put, with 40 pages remaining, this book could have gone absolutely anywhere -- every character's life was on the line, every character's motivations still enshrouded, the story could have fallen toward a happy ending or a very evil one, or more likely a muddy mix of the two. This is how real life works. This is compelling fiction. Any turn of the page can throw a "wow" moment at you in a read like this. Montero had a wide open field and I had no confidence whatsoever that I'd be smiling at the end. This book had me on the edge of my seat in the midst of a very complex storyline. Simply magnificent reading.

Then something happened. Ms. Montero fell back on something she likely learned in a Freshman Literature class, using a trick I associate with cheesy TV dramas that play out in an hour. The story suddenly became goofy and unrealistic, the cast of characters incredibly small and incredibly flat. What followed was a quick finish that didn't do the story justice and walked through a set of scenes designed to tie up every loose end. I left with a "they all lived happily ever after" feeling, something that has no business in this kind of literature. In short, it just looks like Ms. Montero either lost her nerve or banged up against a deadline. The high level of quality she had dedicated to the beginning of the text just fell away, and she went through the motions to close the deal.

Given the genre and the characters involved I was expecting a pretty muddy ending regardless of its outcome, with all kinds of opportunity to second-guess and reconsider characters long after I had finished reading. That's what good fiction does. It keeps you thinking about it. But instead I found the same kind of ending as the film this book is based upon, a noir, dark distopia that suddenly becomes a shiny happy place. So close to a life-affecting read.

Ah well. Back to non-fiction. Thank you for writing three quarters of a fantastic book Ms. Montero!

J.
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Enjoy life now; it has an expiration date." - Unknown (found attributed to a number of people) Oct. 18 2012
By Cheryl Stout - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Complex characterization, in-depth storyline, thought-provoking circumstances.

What would you do if:

1. You found out you had been created in a lab.
2. Your childhood memories are false, implanted into you by a memorist.
3. You actually "wake" at 25 years of age.
4. You find out, that because you are a replicant, you will only live 10 years and then will die a painful death.

Bruna Husky is a replicant. She is 31 years old and only has four more years to live. She was created as a combat replicant, served her time doing those duties, and is now a detective in Madrid, Spain. It is the year 2109 and someone/something is implanting false memories into replicants, causing mayhem and carnage. Bruna is hired to find out what is happening.

I loved Bruna. I loved Police Detective Paul Lizard. Political issues, moral issues, manmade planets, space aliens (I loved Maio and especially the "greedy guts"), supremacists, memorists, archivists, a close look into an intriguing future that includes plasma guns, travelators, many different wars - all the complexities of this grand novel were pulled together tightly and present the reader with a satisfying ending.

In many ways, this book reminds me of The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Another dystopian novel taking place a bit more in the future (23rd century), it takes place in Bangkok, Thailand but also deals with issues of global warming, food and water shortages and a genetically modified protagonist.

I am so glad that AmazonCrossing books are becoming available. "Tears in Rain" is one of these books, originally printed in Spanish and because of AmazonCrossing, translated into English by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites (who, by the way, I think did a super job with the translation).

"Tears in Rain" comes from a quote in the movie Blade Runner, a movie from 1982 that originally coined the term "replicant."
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Post-Cyberpunk Novel from Spanish Author Rosa Montero Oct. 22 2012
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
"Tears in Rain" is a superb addition to contemporary science fiction literature from Spanish author Rosa Montero. It is a fast-paced blend of post-cyberpunk fiction and psychological thriller, drawing upon Ridley Scott's film "Blade Runner", which, in turn, was inspired by Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep". However, to Montero's credit, hers is not a mere fictional derivate of either Scott's great film or Dick's acclaimed science fiction novel. Instead, she offers readers a credible, realistic, vision of a unified Earth in the aftermath of adverse global warming that will remind many of Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Wind-Up Girl" in its gritty realism and substantial attention to detail that is far better than almost anything I have read from contemporary American mainstream writers who have opted to delve into dystopian speculative fiction recently. (Notable exceptions to this trend include such great works as Rick Moody's "The Four Fingers of Death" and Gary Shteyngart's "Super Sad True Love Story".) Montero's protagonist Bruna Husky should remind those familiar with cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk science fiction of William Gibson's Molly in his "Sprawl" series of short stories and novels, culminating with his "Cyberspace" trilogy ("Neuromancer", "Count Zero", "Mona Lisa Overdrive"). While this is a great post-cyberpunk thriller in its own right, "Tears in Rain" also works as an elegant condemnation of ethnic and religious discrimination by a majority against minorities within its population, in her sympathetic portrayal of Husky and her fellow replicants - frequently referred to as technohumans and as androids in Montero's novel - and of alien outcasts like the Omaa flutist Maio. Montero's novel can be seen as a subtle indictment of ongoing European mistreatment of its minorities like Basques in Spain and recent emigrant Muslim populations in France and Germany that should resonate with American readers familiar with our own sordid history of mistreatment towards Afro-Americans, Asian-Americans and others. Montero's novel is replete with compelling, if flawed, characters like private detective Bruna Husky, police detective Paul Lizard and archivist Yiannis Liberopoulos. This is an important work of contemporary speculative fiction deserving of its excellent English translation by its Australian translator Lilit Zekulin Thwaites and its publication by Amazon.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sci fi mystery inspired by & paying homage to Blade Runner Nov. 27 2012
By misplaced cajun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Imagine a world in which cloning has become a reality. First contact with extraterrestrials has long since passed, teleportation technology exists, and humans travel through space for industry and settlement. This is the reality of Rosa Montero's Tears in Rain a book both inspired by and paying homage to Blade Runner.

Bruna Husky is a replicant with just four years left of her ten year life span. Once a combat rep, she now makes a living as a private investigator. When a neighbor -- and rep -- shows up on her doorstep raving like a madwoman and later killing herself after attempting to take down Bruna as well, the rep finds herself embroiled in a complicated new case. Her neighbor was not the first of the reps to die in this strange manner. The culprit seems to be a manipulated memory implant, one that convinced the rep that she was indeed human and suffering as a result of a grave conspiracy. In total there have been seven such cases and in each of the more recent instances, the reps have managed to take out a number of people around them as well. Bruna has been hired by the leader of the Radical Replicant Movement to find out who is behind these illegal implants and murders. But as tensions rise between humans and reps, Bruna realizes that case is even stranger than it initially seems.

TEARS IN RAIN is great on a number of levels. The setting and world building are wonderful, the mystery is well plotted, the characters -- Bruna in particular -- are appealing and well realized, and the nods to BLADE RUNNER work without becoming too overly employed or copied.

I personally liked the wiki entries as well. I have to agree with other reviewers to an extent and admit that they do slow the narrative just a bit, but it wasn't anything I found to be overly problematic. In fact, I thought they added well to the world building in particular, which can typically become bogged down and overloaded with the kind of information that's introduced as encyclopedic entries instead. And the fact that they become more and more inflamed with incorrect information, thus shown by the character Yiannis and his edits, also adds to the increasing friction between the humans and the reps.

I should also add that the translation here is excellent. Translated works can sometimes read a bit flat, as though they're missing the author's personality and style. The translation in TEARS IN RAIN felt completely smooth in my opinion.

At its most basic level, this is a mystery. It's a mystery wrapped up in a science fiction package, though, and Montero has blended the genres perfectly. I don't know if there will be more in story for US readers and Bruna, but I certainly hope so.
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