INDIVIDUTOPIA: A novel set in a neoliberal dystopia

INDIVIDUTOPIA: A novel set in a neoliberal dystopia

by Joss Sheldon

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INDIVIDUTOPIA: A novel set in a neoliberal dystopia 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
LynnLD 8 months ago
Makes You Think! Joss Sheldon’s Individutopia is hinged on Margaret Thatcher’s famous words, “There is no such thing as society.” Sheldon takes a futuristic look at what life will look like in 2084, about 65 tears from now. Renee is a 24-year old Londoner is extremely self-indulged. Her entire life is surrounded by her own improved image, and she even wakes up to the sound recording of her own voice. She is oblivious to the existence of others and sees everyone else as her competition. Her entire days are spent in pursuit of short- term jobs and she does not see how she can ever pay off her debt. She has avatars and other tech devises to help her function and was even raised by a robot after being abandoned by her mother. She represents everyone else who strives to get ahead in the city. Every time, she leaves her pod, she is even further in debt. She moves in a stark world where there is little contact with others, but this is the only life she knows until something happens. She wanders outside the city limits and gets lost. She sees trees and hears birds for the first time and yes, even meets other human beings. This all so foreign to her but will she like it? Will she stay and learn that maybe there is a society? Can she even cope with this strange, new world? Read Joss Sheldon’s Individutopia and see how things turn out for our Renee. This book will make you see parts of your own life and certainly make you think, think, think!
ReadersFavorite 9 months ago
Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite The events of Individutopia by Jocelyn Nicholas Sheldon take place in the year 2084. The world has turned into a paradise for individualism. There is no more society. Everyone is his or her own best friend – literally - because you can buy holographic versions of yourself to keep yourself company. Or you can buy virtual yous who like your social media posts. Everyone else is competition and there are lists for everything: from a snoring ranking to a best worker ranking. Every individual has only one goal: to be the best. You can even have sex with a copy of yourself! But then, one individual called Renee dares the unthinkable: she seeks another person’s company. This is more difficult than you’d imagine though, considering the world is filled with holograms and everyone sees everyone else as a nuisance! Renee’s story is told by the seemingly all-knowing narrator of Individutopia. Yet, he seems to become more and more puzzled the more Renee steps forward on her unusual path and indeed encounters other humans. I found some of the developments in the story very weird (and entertaining), but I assume that’s the whole point of the novel. I don’t think that humanity will ever get to the stage of being that individualistic, but it’s interesting to see how it could play out. Renee is a strange one, I’m not sure whether I’d like her if I ever got to meet her in real life. Nevertheless, I enjoyed following her around while she was exploring the world around her without her plenses (contact lenses that make the world around people look “slightly” different). There were some odd and fascinating characters – all in all, an enjoyable read with a touch of dystopia, some humor, and a very strange romance.
Marilyn Mitchell-Glenn More than 1 year ago
Right off the bat, I loved the narrative voice of this book. It felt like a lovely (onesided, perhaps) conversation between the narrator and myself, and that was an absolute joy. Humor is woven into the prose, clever but never heavy-handed. Renee's unending positivity speaks to a deep despair, a thin veneer that fails often. The novel is heartbreaking and powerful, a subversive projection of our own dysfunction society, and the rational end point of greed. Still, Renee's positivity must have rubbed off on me, because I come away from the novel feeling hopeful. By holding up a terrifying funhouse mirror to our own capitalist system, the cracks shine through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am rating this title as "I liked it." Here are the attributes that worked for me: This dystopian futuristic story has one character and a narrator, you had better be invested into getting to know Renee in order to be intrigued by her lot in life and her story, and for me, Renee worked. I was even more entertained by the efforts the author went to, to describe this crumbling future anti-society. Clearly much thought and imagination went into the details of what day-to-day would be like for people who live only with themselves. This gave Renee's lifestyle an eerie and disturbing aura, her naivete and earnestness make you really think. The author has a skill for writing. When I don't notice I am reading and the pages glide along, I know the author has worked to make it flow and follows the arc well. This book cruised and I appreciated the pace. There was some imagination and stops along the way that I found amusing for sure. What did not work for me was the over-bearing narrator that infused himself into the story. I would have liked to stay within Renee's world only, just as a reader preference. The story goes a bit wayward at the end, with new characters and new settings and surprises that seem to start and end quickly, I would have liked to see a bit more time spent on development near the end. We are told that Renee is a hero, I would have liked to come to that conclusion on my own. There are some disturbing elements to the story, there is mention of drugs, suicide, stalking, violence, sex. None of it bothered me much, it seemed to be used for extreme exaggeration though and had an underlying feeling of judgement to me at times, however.
jennilouhoo More than 1 year ago
Individutopia is a fantastic dystopian novel that poses several thought provoking questions. Joss Sheldon does a great job at creating a dystopian world that doesn't seem too far fetched. Society is a much talked about topic as far as its impact on our lives and actions, but what if it wasn't even a thing anymore? This novel explores that very notion through a narration by Renee Ann Blanca, who was raised by robots with very little human contact until she was old enough to fend for herself which seems completely crazy, but you'll be surprised at just how close today's society comes to the one in Individutopia. Reading this book, you'll be challenged to think about how society and individualism in a brand new way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sheldon’s newest novel is in the same classic format that readers of his previous work will know and love. In a time where political polarity and provocative content are at an all-time high, Sheldon manages to balance a thought-provoking and intellectual debate on society, people and politics through a thoroughly entertaining plot. The dystopian novel is far from new, but the entertainment factor in this book is in a class of its own. I really enjoy this author because even with the serious subject matter, the reading experience is enjoyable and pleasant; something that cannot be said when reading “important books”. The narrative style was really interesting and made Renee’s character more three dimensional. It was paced well, every scene and chapter contributing something important to the story. It was chilling in parts as many of the names, places and characters are real and are in our time. The novel was a good warning for the future of our society, but a warning that would probably not be heard and turn into a prophecy. The knowledge, accuracy and imaginative concepts is a highlight and why this is a great read for readers who love dystopian novels and literary fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Individutopia is not a book for those who are lighthearted. There are themes, actions, thoughts, and situations that can be disturbing. So, I don’t want to say keep away, but be wary of what is to come. Putting that aside, Individutopia is a book of humanity’s potential and all too real future. The main theme of this book is society. How nowadays people blame society for their problems Blame society for all their failures. Now, in this future, there is no society and no human interaction. So, in conclusion, there are no problems but our own: humanity has become selfish. Each person is literally in their own little world. If one thought the grass is blue, then it WAS blue and if anybody said that grass was green, they’d be an outcast to that person. We are introduced to an ominous narrator and Renee. Renee is a young 24-year-old woman, who in all her years has never interacted with another human being, but not because she doesn’t want to. Simply because she can’t: there is no such thing as socialization. So, in her mind, there is no need to. What people can admire about this book is the amount of philosophical effort was given. The author has a message they want to convey and although subtle about it, in the end, everything makes sense. Although there were many scenes that weren’t comfortable to read, they were necessary to the story. Each explicit scene has an underlying meaning, making the entire book a scroll of truths about modern day society. These raw and dirty scenes wanted to make me stop reading, but looking deeper, past the action being done: you could find purity being achieved. Breaking down the anatomy of humans not physically but more on a moral scale. If one is to compare the ‘society’ in this book to the one in the present day: you would find many similarities which is terrifying to me. The story as a whole is an amazing and compelling read that has a message. This is what literature should be. A way to not just entertain the masses but give them something. What people do with the ideas and morals can essentially change who they are. The characters here are not likable, at first, but then soon gain our support. These characters show all of humanity’s pettiness and disgusting side while scraping for a sliver of light. Renee especially, is the living embodiment of human redemption. From doing nothing to doing something. Selfish to wanting to love. From wanting love to being happy to give it. In a way Renee is everyone before they find a purpose. This book is like a tug-of-war. Between what humanity can be versus how it should be. The ending of the book is genius as it leaves the reader thinking. Leaves it to us to finish the story. The author essentially passed a rod to us and is now letting us decide where to go. To think of this story as just words, or as a legit warning. In conclusion. Individutopia is a must-read for those in the interest of philosophical ideas. The ideals and moral high grounds presented by this society are mind-boggling and like the author stated: a warning. The world presented is one created by hours of deep thinking from the author, for it is not easy to create your own world. The characters show humans in both our best and disgusting forms. When it comes to structure, it can be considered professional. Individutopia is what it seeks out to be. Not to be a prophecy or some omen. But a warning of what can come. An amazing story.
KishMitchell More than 1 year ago
A good, thought provoking dystopian novel. I felt like the author JOSS SHELDON really dug into my soul with his characters, writing in an authentic and expressive way. The main character, Renee, is living in a dark future, in a world where selfishness and Individualism have been taken to their ultimate extremes. But it’s a future very much based on the present day. I saw elements of Renee in my own personality, and in the personalities of people around me. Renee is all about herself. There is no “WE”, “US”, “YOU” and “THEIR” in her world. She’s always saying “I am”, “I this” and “I that”. My favourite chapter is The Last Cut is the Deepest. I could tell you all about it, I could go on and on, but I guess you should find out for yourself. I wouldn’t want to ruin the tale!
Katieulis More than 1 year ago
Are you a fan of “classical” dystopian novels? Oh? What do I mean by classical? Huxley, Orwell, Vonnegut, you name it, they are one of my favourites and then after supernatural and YA dystopian novels, on a different place all together stands Joss Sheldon! I’ve read most of his books, and I loved them all. He always brings something to his books that make them so real and so relatable that you walk on the street, see something and the first things that come to your mid it: “doesn’t it remind me of something?” This time Sheldon takes upon himself to bring us to the world that may soon become ours. A world where society doesn’t exist, a world where an individual is the supreme, and reach for someone is an outrage. I was very intrigued by the story from the beginning as it’s not easy to portray human’s darkest secrets and individualism. But Sheldon doesn’t disappoint once again. He brings us the characters that are bound to make us think, analyse and criticise even ourselves and the world we live in. What is an individual? Are you ready to go on a journey to find yourself? Or maybe you just want to see the world that resembles our current but is different altogether? Well, I’m not holding you here!
Amys_Bookshelf_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Magnificent! Individutopia is one of those books you can't help but read from beginning to end. Revolving around Margaret Thatcher's "seven words" of "There is no such thing as society" the story brings the reader to the year 2084. Now the land of the individual, where there were no groups, just the individuals. I like the way the story is told, it welcomes the reader to Individutopia, and explains the world as it is, and why it has been, and then, we meet Renee. There is growth within the characters, and how they interact or don't interact with each other. I really enjoyed this story, where I had to reread several parts again, because I liked how this story was told. There is an innovated imagination to this author and his thinking!
Amys_Bookshelf_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Magnificent! Individutopia is one of those books you can't help but read from beginning to end. Revolving around Margaret Thatcher's "seven words" of "There is no such thing as society" the story brings the reader to the year 2084. Now the land of the individual, where there were no groups, just the individuals. I like the way the story is told, it welcomes the reader to Individutopia, and explains the world as it is, and why it has been, and then, we meet Renee. There is growth within the characters, and how they interact or don't interact with each other. I really enjoyed this story, where I had to reread several parts again, because I liked how this story was told. There is an innovated imagination to this author and his thinking!
EstL More than 1 year ago
I read Individutopia in a few days and really enjoyed it. I got the same feeling I get from Joss Sheldon's other novels - I feel nourished when I'm reading it, more than slightly addicted to the prose and story and challenged in the sense that it gets me thinking about my opinions on society, politics and the possible presence of preconceived or over simplified ideals in my head that I believe might solve all the world's problems. I like books that make me examine my own opinions and think more critically, and this is definitely one of them. There's a rhythm in the prose which just makes it hard to stop reading. The novel's relatively short. I'm left with a lot of questions, but in a good way. They kind of linger. I want to analyse how much life in London Town is a representation of human existence and whether Paul Podsicle the Second (these names are hilarious) is in some way representative of God, and if he's the same person as Renee's dad (!?) or if I'm just reading something into it that maybe part of me wants to find!? Any thoughts anyone? Anyway. This novel is special. Thanks Joss :-)