The Lives of Tao

( 10 )

Overview

Goodreads Choice 2013 Nominee - Science Fiction

When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it.

He wasn’t.

He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing ...

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Overview

Goodreads Choice 2013 Nominee - Science Fiction

When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it.

He wasn’t.

He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.

Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…

File UnderScience Fiction [ The Tug of War | I Was Genghis | Diary of a Slob | Spy vs Spy ]

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Just your usual “I’ve got an immensely wise alien in my head who wants me to become an international man of mystery” story. Which is to say, Page-turning homage to other classic SF like Hal Clement’s Needle. Recommended.”
-Steven Gould, author of the Jumper series

"Filled with non-stop action and brilliant asides on the history of our species, the book is sure to thrill and amuse."
- Ken Liu, Nebula Award winning author of The Paper Menagerie

This book is high-octane spy vs spy action with a sly sense of humor.  Pure pleasure from beginning to end. Highly recommended!  
-Ann Vandermeer, Hugo winning editor of Weird Tales and British Fantasy Award publisher of Buzzcity Press

“Tipping his hat to both science fiction novels and comic books, Chu delivers a narrative that is at times pulse-pounding, laugh-out-loud funny and thoughtful.
Part James Bond, part Superman, part Orphanage. There’s something here for everyone.”
- Myke Cole, author of Control Point and Fortress Frontier 

"Wesley Chu is my hero... he has to be the coolest science fiction writer in the world." 
- Lavie Tidhar, World Fantasy Award winning author of Osama and The Bookman Histories.

"In The Lives of Tao, newcomer Wesley Chu delivers an action-laced sci fi thriller filled with clever ideas and witty, engaging characters.  A thoroughly enjoyable ride." 
- John Marco, Author of The Inhumans and The Tyrants And Kings trilogies

"One part Deep Space Nine, three parts Babylon Five, and two parts Chuck."
- Gini Koch, author of the Alien/Katherine "Kitty" Katt series

"A fast-paced, high-action SF mix of Jason Bourne meets the Hero's Journey, jam-packed with dark conspiracies, wild romance, ancient aliens, and a secret, globe-spanning war. Loved it!"
- Matt Forbeck, author of Amortals and Hard Times in Dragon City

“A totally original sci-fi thriller that will have you hooked from page one with both riveting action and a sly wit.  This is a story of human history, the hidden powers that have shaped it, and one man’s transformation from complete nobody to a key fighter in the war for humanity’s future.”  
-Ramez Naam, H.G. Wells Award winner and author of Nexus

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780857663290
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 138,455
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Wesley Chu was born in Taiwan and emmigrated to Chicago, Illinois when he was just a pup. It was there he became a Kung Fu master and gymnast.

Wesley is an avid gamer and a contributing writer for the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. A former stunt man and a member of the Screen Actors Guild, he can also be seen in film and television playing roles such as "Banzai Chef" in Fred Claus and putting out Oscar worthy performances as a bank teller in Chicago Blackhawks commercials.

Wesley is a 2014 Alex Award winner for his book The Lives of Tao.

Besides working as an Associate Vice President at a bank, he spends his time writing and hanging out with his wife Paula Kim and their Airedale Terrier, Eva.

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Interviews & Essays

Tell us a little about you.

Hello, this is Wesley Chu. I'm a member of the Screen Actors Guild and a former stuntman specializing in being token Asian dude. What's the token Asian you ask? Next time you watch a commercial, check out the group makeup. There's the token black dude, token white, token Latino, and yes, token me dude. Some of them might occupy other minor roles simultaneously such as token fat, token bald, token hunk-you-want-to-take-home-to-mom among others. I never get to be that guy.

Oh yeah, I wrote a book. My debut novel, The Lives of Tao published by Angry Robot Books, is out now. The sequel, The Deaths of Tao, is dropping Oct 29th, 2013.

In one sentence, what you is your book about?

The Lives of Tao is a modern day sci-fi about an overweight loser who is inhabited by an ancient alien, and is drafted, kicking and screaming, to train and fight a war over control of humanity's evolution. And cake. Okay, fine, the cake is a lie.

What's the twitter pitch?

Fat loser meets snarky alien. Gets in shape. Fights war over control of humanity's evolution. Gets a girlfriend. Not in order of importance.

What made you want to become a writer?

I think most writers can't help but write. It was something inherent that I gravitated toward as a kid. I mean, let's face it; if I could choose my natural talent, it wouldn't be writing. I'd pick something like punting and have the best job in the world. Yes, the NFL punter is the best job in the entire frigging world. You're part of a professional football team; that's cool, right? No one is allowed to hit you, and no one ever expects you to win the game. I mean come on, what could possibly be better than that? But writing, not incredible leg strength or genius intellect or incredible good looks, was what the muses doled out to me.

I wanted to be a writer ever since I read The 101 Dalmatians once a day every day for an entire summer. I realized I might have had a smidgeon of talent for it when English Professor Father read my first short story. It was about the planets in the solar system constantly running into each other and getting into fist fights, which explained why they all have pock marks over their surfaces. Then the King Sun got annoyed and enforced gravity upon them. English Professor Father read it and said "this doesn't suck." And thus a career was born.

Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Write for yourself, not for the money or fame. The odds are slim you'll get much of either. It's a long road filled with potholes and road kill. Keep at it. Don't ever show anyone your first draft. Keep reading books as you write.

Don't lose touch with your friends. I lost touch with many of them while writing The Lives of Tao. People got married, moved to the suburbs, had kids...etc...One day, I walked out of the house and the world had changed. Everyone' was using this damn thing called an iPhone, and Terrell Owens was playing for the Cowboys. Whaaaa?

And get a dog or cat. Trust me on that last one. Eva Da Terrordale dragging me out for walks was the only thing that got my increasingly pasty white arse to see the sun once in a while.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    It appears that despite every sane person laugh at him, the man

    It appears that despite every sane person laugh at him, the man with the crazy hair, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos of History Channel's Ancient Aliens, was right all along...the course of human history was really steered along by aliens!

    The Lives of Tao manages to tell a very entertaining tale in which there is an ongoing, centuries long war between 2 opposing factions of an alien race that has been living on earth. One of which cares about humans and are obviously the 'good guys' and a more hardline faction that primarily is only concerned about their own race and doesn't care about any negative impact to humanity.

    Conventional logic would have you think an advanced alien race that can make it all the way to earth would have no problems living here, but as it turns out their big Achille's heel is that they cannot survive here on Earth without living inside a host body. This host usually ends up being a human being, and the alien symbiote can communicate with their human host as a voice in their head and attempt to influence their decision making. And as it turns out, most of the famous historical figures in human history were also hosts to aliens.

    In addition to the scifi and action aspects of the book, Wesley Chu manages to create a main character, Roen Tan, which you find very human and believably 'average' at first vs the many stories where the hero is always some lethal, man-killing weapon who is the object of lust for every straight female he crosses paths with. Roen is basically what many would characterize as a stereotype overweight, out of shape computer geek, loser without much going on in his life at least until Tao the alien ends up having to take on Roen as his human host. Now guided by a centuries wise Tao, Roen must transform into an actual agent that can fight for the good guys. But poor Roen...the baddies want to kill Tao, which means they need to kill Roen. So Roen basically has no choice but train now. I don't want to say its a story partly about his coming of age, but more of a forced late bloomer, Men in Black secret 007 agent walking along railroad tracks with the Stand by Me from Ben E. King playing in the background. Once you read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about.

    As an extra benefit of having a super James Bond alien in your head, Roen may even grow the balls to talk to women! I think there are probably many guys out there that would pay to have a coach like that in their head for that function alone.

    The bromance between Roen and Tao starts up slow, but you can see it developing fuller along the way. Some of Tao's wise ass comments to Roen made me laugh.

    OVerall, I really enjoyed being there for all the failures, successes, and hilarious moments... and there are many...in Roen's journey to transform himself into the improved Roen, along with flipping page after page to find out who will be winning this age old war and the impact on humanity. I won't say too much else about the story so it doesn't spoil it for people who haven't read it yet.

    The Lives of Tao is highly recommended.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Silly, yet keeps you engaged

    An awesome twist on every conspiracy theory out there, with mirth and wit. I found this book difficult to put down and cannot wait for the next one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2013

    What do you get when you have an out-of shape, pathetic IT guy w

    What do you get when you have an out-of shape, pathetic IT guy whose life is stuck in a rut, and throw in symbiotic aliens who have been on earth since prehistoric times and are currently using humanity to wage civil war against one another? You get one action-packed thrill ride!

    Seriously, The Lives of Tao is a fast-paced, awesome read, with equal parts of alien intrigue, action, and humor, not to mention some tender moments as well. So what are you waiting for? Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2013

    Dont bother

    Poor characters, poor story. Not worth the money if it was free.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2013

    A Couple's Review Afterglow by Bill: Using the combination

    A Couple's Review

    Afterglow by Bill:




    Using the combination of action from a James Bond movie and the dialogue of an Adam Sandler movie, Lives of Tao is one of the most unique spy books you will ever read in your life.  The book tells the story of a man named Roen who never thought much of his life until an alien named Tao takes over his body after Tao's previous host dies during a mission.  The rest of the book shows the conflict between Roen and the voice in his head (Tao) who gives him the direction and the confidence to better his life and condition himself to become a spy in the fight to safe the human race.




    The dialogue between Roen and Tao, which sometimes can turn serious, is mostly funny as they bicker with one another, as Roen complains about how he will never be a good agent and Tao, who continues to tell about all the men through human history that he was actually controlling.  The book contains action when you least expect it and an ending that you would never see coming.




    Afterglow by Katrina:




    A perfect date book! Action, comedy, romance, cool factor. Bill and I read this one together over the course of a month. Though we tried to pace ourselves, by the end we couldn't put it down. In my mind, Roen Tan is Kung Fu Panda, all gooey and lovably funny throughout. There's a stark difference between his first attempts at training and the missions he executes near the end. His personal transformation is incredible, yet believable. 




    The Lives of Tao is science fiction, but I'm seeing it called a mash-up because it reads a little like a spy thriller in parts. My favorite part, though, is what you can easily see in the synopsis: the funny.




    Whether it's trying to escape a bar fight unscathed by his best friend's arm candy, or watching alien Tao maneuver a large, sleeping human Roen around the living room, the visual comedy is sublime. As Bill mentioned, the dialogue happening inside Roen's brain is also a treat to overhear. You'll end the book wishing you had a wise (and wise-cracking) alien like Tao in your head.




    Who should read it? Teens to adults who like spies, which is pretty much everyone, right?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 11, 2014

    He plagiarized Brian Stableford for the story idea, sorry.

    He plagiarized Brian Stableford for the story idea, sorry.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2013

    Good

    Very cool

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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