Golden State

Golden State

by Ben Winters


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From award-winning, New York Times bestselling novelist Ben H. Winters comes a mind-bending novel set in a world governed by absolute truth, where lies are as dangerous as murder.

In a strange alternate society that values law and truth above all else, Laszlo Ratesic is a nineteen-year veteran of the Speculative Service. He lives in the Golden State, a nation standing where California once did, a place where like-minded Americans retreated after the erosion of truth and the spread of lies made public life and governance impossible.

In the Golden State, knowingly contradicting the truth is the greatest crime--and stopping those crimes is Laz's job. In its service, he is one of the few individuals permitted to harbor untruths, to "speculate" on what might have happened.

But the Golden State is less a paradise than its name might suggest. To monitor, verify, and enforce the truth requires a veritable panopticon of surveillance and recording. And when those in control of the facts twist them for nefarious means, the Speculators are the only ones with the power to fight back.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316505413
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 01/22/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 497,861
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Ben H. Winters is the New York Times bestselling author of Underground Airlines and the Last Policeman trilogy. The second novel in the trilogy, Countdown City, was an NPR Best Book of 2013 and the winner of the Philip K. Dick award. The Last Policeman was the recipient of the 2012 Edgar Award, and was also named one of the Best Books of 2012 by and Slate. Ben lives with his family in Los Angeles, CA.

What People are Saying About This

Jonathan Lethem

“A perfectly poised ontological-thriller-comedy-dystopian-allegorical-page-turner, yet with tenderly real characters in its chewy center, this turned out to be just the thing I was looking for.”

Author of Drive - James Sallis

“Not many writers would take on Orwell, Ray Bradbury, the nature of truth, and the current administration all at a blow. Big shoes to fill—and they fit Ben H. Winters just fine. Golden State grabs notions of disinformation and literalism and brilliantly turns them on their head to see what falls from their pockets.”

bestselling author of Dark Matter Blake Crouch

“Golden State is a prescient, devastating commentary on humanity’s disintegrating attachment to reality and truth, expertly told through the prism of a police-procedural, dystopian nightmare. Winters has written a 1984 for the 21st century. Not just a thrilling book, but an important one.”

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Golden State 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
KindigBlog More than 1 year ago
Laszlo Ratesic is a Speculator, an agent of the truth in a society where it is illegal to lie, but when he is called to investigate a murder, suddenly the truth begins to become more fluid than it first appeared. I really enjoyed the premise of Golden State, it’s very Minority Report meets 1984. The characters are well rounded and interesting and the world is really nicely defined. There is a lot of backstory to get to know but it never feels like this gets dumped on you all in one go which a lot of dystopian novels are guilty of. Everything is introduced naturally in the text and you are immersed into the world where the truth is upheld as a bulwark of society. I was completely drawn into the story from the outset and powered my way through it as I wanted to find out more - not just about the mystery Laszlo and his partner are solving but about the wider world in general. There are some really nice parallels to our society in terms of ‘fake news’ and some parts of it are genuinely thought provoking. Unfortunately, I found the book floundered a little in the middle and the ending wasn’t particularly satisfying. I can’t really tell if it’s set up for a sequel and I would like to find out more about what happens next or perhaps what happened to the world for this society to have prevailed but am also very happy for it to have been a standalone story as well. I would have happily given this book 5 stars if it had stuck to its guns and continued in the same vein throughout (maybe even with more of an opening for a sequel) but I was a little disappointed with it as it stands. Overall Golden State is a great premise and a really good story, I just felt it lost its way towards the end of the book. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone and Century for a chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
PaulAllard More than 1 year ago
Science fiction novel in which lying is a crime - quite good and original The basis for this novel is that California, at some point in the future, become Golden State, a nation in which the truth is everything and lying is a crime. Everything is filmed, recorded and archived. Laszlo is a Speculator whose job is to spot liars and bring them to justice. His world is turned upside down as he meets conspiracy, murder, betrayal and learns that there’s nobody that can be trusted. The storyline moves along quite well and is reasonably clear but, when it comes down to it, there’s little action and a lot of introspection and speculation by the narrator. Not totally captivating for me but others may enjoy this far more than me.
KarenfromDothan More than 1 year ago
In the former state of California, a new society has emerged. Now called the Golden State, it is based and run on the facts alone. No untruths, no speculating, no hypothesizing, no alternate realities. The biggest crime? Lying. Penalties for lying are the harshest and range from imprisonment to exile to the wilderness beyond. Citizens are under constant surveillance and the cameras are everywhere recording everything. Our hero, Lazlo Ratesic, an Officer of the Speculative Service, is the consummate professional. Determined to protect the Golden State and uphold the laws. He believes, “We have to keep things good and true because the good and true world is all we have.” When he and his new partner are assigned what appears to be a routine case of an accidental death, they notice an anomaly, and are soon on to something big. Superbly written, it is part mystery and part speculative fiction. It certainly is timely considering the current political and social climate and the profusion of technology in our lives. I think it’s a warning about the consequences of giving up our privacy. It reminded me of Orwell’s, “1984,” with its utter government spying on its citizenry and total control of their lives. The salutations used throughout the story like, “Ten is half of twenty. “But it’s twice five.” “So it’s ever been.” “So it ever shall be,” help to set the tone of the story. It is well plotted and I found myself surprised when it was revealed who was behind the conspiracy. I liked the way the author humanized the main character. Even though he was in a position of authority and projected a gruff persona, he didn’t abuse his power and even could show compassion towards his fellow man. I really enjoyed this book, and I think anyone who likes speculative fiction will like it, too.