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Start by marking “The Technologists” as Want to Read: The acclaimed author of The Dante Club reinvigorates the historical thriller. Matthew Pearl's spellbinding new novel transports readers to tumultuous nineteenth-century Boston, where the word "technology" represents a bold and.
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Add to Cart. Benjamin is a producer and writer of the FX drama Justified as well as the author of Rumble, Young Man, Rumble, an award-winning collection of short stories. In honor of the technologi- cal themes of the novel, Matthew and Benjamin decided to discuss The Technologists via an online chat. BC: You mention the fascinating science.
BC: True. MP: One was how to start the novel. Do you remember we talked about that? A moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning caring for two children with remarkable abilities. Reader Reviews. An inspiring life story that speaks urgently to our troubled times.
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Subscribe to receive some of our best reviews, "beyond the book" articles, book club info, and giveaways by email. Once in the group, it begins to feel like Hermione has taken hold of Harry Potter and Ron, as they set off on their scientific investigation to save the city. There are many elements of this novel which were combined to make it a sheer delight to read. The historical writing style sets the time period without being overly obtuse or wordy.
It reminded me of Caleb Carr's "The Alienist" in the setting, combined with the cast of Harry Potter and a clever steampunk theme of using ancient early technology to solve real world problems. As the Technologists unravel the technologies behind the disasters and get closer to catching the mastermind, the pace increases and it becomes a race against time to stop the crazy scientist from setting off the biggest disaster of all. Matthew Pearl has filled this novel with historical references, academic competition, scientific info, romance, humor and excitement.
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A great mix for anyone who loves a brainier thriller and a romp through early Boston society. Fjumonvi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago The time: The place: Boston, a city suddenly and inexplicably beset by catastrophes that seem to have been precipitated by a madman. First, various types of vessels in the harbor collided in the fog and sank because their navigational instruments all malfunctioned concurrently. Then, in the financial district, glass spontaneously melted away from windows, pocket watches, etc.
The questions: Why is someone terrorizing Boston? Who is behind these events? And what will happen next? This gripping novel unfolds against a backdrop of fear, not just of the elusive madman but of other unknowns. One of the greatest fears is of technology. Then the very word was new. To machinists, it meant the threat that newfangled contraptions would eliminate their jobs. To Harvard students, the establishment of the fledgling Instutute of Technology meant opening higher education to the masses--those who were not cultured gentlemen--and there was no telling where that could lead.
Why, the Institute had actually admitted a female student! When the disasters struck, a small group of the Institute's students, the lone female among them, risked their futures--and the school's--to pursue the perpetrator and to prevent further calamities that threatened to destroy the entire city.
Their efforts are resourceful and engrossing, with a surprise at almost every turn of the page. Extensively researched, intricately plotted, and engrossingly narrated, Matthew Pearl's fourth novel is a tour de force. The current hysteria of a frighteningly large and vocal group of Americans regarding the validity of scientific fact is echoed in this story set in the Boston of I enjoyed reading about this first graduating class of MIT. The descriptions of their school and their city were well drawn and interesting. Their intense desire to learn, both about their world and what kind of impact they could have in it were compelling.
Indeed, it seemed the whole world could be made, or remade, or undone, in this room, with all these gangly and imposing tools, in a single day. With the horrific events that are described, it seems impossible that parts of the book would drag. The siege of attacks that Boston undergoes certainly seems like it would keep the tension high. But at certain points, it feels as if the author is intent on making each and every one of the main characters seem the villain, and with the many explanations of innocence that then follow, the story falters.
I think that with some judicious editing, this could be a tighter paced, more gripping story. That makes for ideas and themes which are still very easy to relate to for a modern reader: the fear of jobs being lost to increased automation, for example. The mystery is satisfying but the story overall is deep and thoughtful. I'd recommend "The Technologists" and intend to check out other books by the author. Before they do so, a madman is at work in the city of Boston, creating a distrust of technology among the people.
Will these students be able to discover his identity and thwart his plans before Boston is destroyed? I found this to be a captivating read. The characters were interesting and well-drawn. The attitudes toward technology and Darwinism were interesting to explore. It was also interesting to see the attitudes towards a woman being enrolled in MIT pursuing education in a male-dominated field.
My interest in the book never waned. There are enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing the identity of the madman until almost the end. This review is based on an advance uncorrected proof received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. Perhaps that is the nature of true historical fiction -- the beginning is quite full of scene-setting and historically-toned language and therefore doesn't go anywhere much.
Fortunately, once I did settle in, I very much enjoyed the rest of the novel.
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Pearl's fictionalization of the early days of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology opens with a dramatic disaster sequence and, though it does slow down for a few chapters to give the reader plenty of contact with the historical context -- Boston in the late 's, in this case -- it continues to build a solid mystery with each subsequent tragedy. The novel pulls together a team of MIT students -- some fictional and others, according to Pearl's afterword, drawn from fact -- who are bent on discovering, through scientific means, the culprit behind Boston's recent horrors.
These students are entertaining and appealing, if not all as complex as they might have been. The mystery with which they are struggling makes up for some of the thinner characterizations, however, by providing plenty of interesting twists. There were several points during my reading that I thought I had figured out the villain, only to find my error a few pages later. That is great fun. The pacing speeds up as the plot progresses, as is typical, so much so in this case that some of the climactic points feel like they could use more explanation -- or more logic -- but one does not think of that whilst reading, only after.
That hindsight phenomenon in itself is a good recommendation -- I was definitely engaged with the story. While the ending did not thrill me as much as some of the intermediary events -- and I actually did not like who the villain turned out to be, though I expect that was part of the meta-commentary of the novel itself, which reflects quite broadly on the psychological trauma of conflict -- it did wrap up the story well. Certain things turned out as they ought, which is always satisfying. I'm trying not to say too much here, because the best parts of this book are the surprises.
So, overall, this was rather a good book, perhaps even on the cusp of Very Good. Pearl may not be the equal in eloquence to historical fiction writers like Louis Bayard or Maria Doria Russell, but he knows how to spin a mystery from history's tangled threads. Recommended for those who enjoy real as in fully researched historical fiction and a bit of a thrill as well. I started the book with serious interest, based on some good reviews of people whose taste I trust, and on my great desire to see technology applied to problem-solving in extreme situations the reason I read thrillers.
I was wincing from the first scene, where a naked "charity scholar" swims in Boston's Charles River, then is dragooned by his buddies to crank up a rowing scull, and then there is engineered bad pun, sorry a confrontation with one of the men's acquaintance from Harvard. It was both too much information, and too little characterization.
The utterances of the parties to this watery contretemps simply made no difference to me, I felt they were there to further some Point the author wanted to make. Pearl and I are not a good fit. I've tried his Dante book, and foundered about 60pp in, then I read his Dickens book to about the same place. We do not seem to be made for each other.
As his books are tremendously successful commercially, he won't miss my money, and as his critical reception is rapturous, he won't miss my praise. I will miss the interesting ideas all of his works to date have served rather unappealingly. Who loses? Which makes me really grumpy. How long ago was that?
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Story of my life. I have finally met this goal! Set in , this period thriller opens with an act of terrorism. In the fog, they crash into each other and the wharves.
There is pandemonium, destruction, and loss of life. The cause and perpetrator of this mayhem is unknown.
- The Washington Post
This is the first of several incidents that virtually bring the city to its knees. At the very heart of the tale is working-class charity student Marcus Mansfield. It is clear that historical accuracy and research is. Thank you, Mr. Pearl, for the time machine. Additionally, the science used in the plot was clever and inventive. I found my credulity becoming increasingly strained as the novel proceeded. There were some coincidences late in the game that I found annoying as well. Elements of the story were overly melodramatic.
Pearl took things just a step too far.