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Dear Cyborgs
Dear Cyborgs: A Novel | Eugene Lim
30 posts | 24 read | 45 to read
A fractal fable about the possibility and power of protest as told by three superheroes on their lunch break In a small Midwestern town, two Asian American boys bond over their outcast status and a mutual love of comic books. Meanwhile, in an alternative or perhaps future universe, a team of superheroes ponders modern society during their time off. Between black-ops missions and rescuing hostages, they swap stories of artistic malaise and muse on the seemingly inescapable grip of market economics. Gleefully toying with the conventions of the novel, Dear Cyborgs weaves together the story of a friendships dissolution with a provocative and lively meditation on protest. Through a series of linked monologues, a surprising cast of characters explores narratives of resistanceprotest art, eco-terrorists, Occupy squatters, pyromaniacal militantsand the extent to which any of these can truly withstand the pragmatic demands of contemporary capitalism. All the while, a mysterious cybernetic book of clairvoyance beckons, and trusted allies start to disappear. Playfully blending comic-book villains with cultural critiques, Eugene Lims Dear Cyborgs is a fleet-footed literary exploration of power, friendship, and creativity that recalls authors like Tom McCarthy and Valeria Luiselli. Ambitious and knowing, it braids together hard-boiled detective pulps, subversive philosophy, and Hollywood chase scenes, unfolding like the composites and revelations of a dream.
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review
bookwrm526
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Pickpick

I‘m not 100% sure what I just read, but I enjoyed it anyway...somehow...? It‘s a series of linked monologues/short stories told by superheroes on their lunch break. There‘s cultural critique and some satire, I just went with the flow!

jmtrivera Sounds interesting! 3mo
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Taylor
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Pickpick

I‘ve read this twice now. (Rereading stuff: sure it takes time, but it is so worth it.) Loved it initially, but with the second go-through I find myself appreciating it even more. It‘s written with a cutting sense of humor and a sharp intelligence, in this exploration of how to reconcile ourselves and our humanity amidst the relentless and forceful system we have no option but to navigate within.

9 likes1 stack add
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Taylor

In fact, all the comic-book shops in the world are really just one essential place, and their entrances but doors to a single coincidence. That‘s why you always see there, no matter where you are, the same dreamy, awkward clientele.

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Taylor
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Pickpick

Hard to keep track of what is exactly going on; so instead what I did is not bother trying and let the scenes wash over me.

Loved it. I got so much out of it; especially, for some reason, the smaller sidebar sentences.

It‘s definitely postmodern (or something) progressive not really aiming to crowd please. I‘ll probably read it again eventually.

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Taylor

“Take your breaks and do your sketches and read poetry chapbooks at Wendy‘s, Burger King, and McDonald‘s, especially.”

Me...

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Well-ReadNeck
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#BookHaul

The last Hamid for me from his backlist and a book brought to my attention by this year‘s Tournament of Books #BookHaul #TOB2018

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BarbaraBB
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Today it is Manhattan Beach versus Dear Cyborgs in the #ToB.
I have only read the latter and bailed on it. Other people seem to love it though. About the Egan I have heard mixed reviews as well. So I have no clue who is going to be today‘s winner, especially not as the judges are so unpredictable this year. Looking forward to their thoughts!

merelybookish The right book was chosen. 🤖🎉 Another excellent judgement! 2y
BarbaraBB @merelybookish Despite bailing it I am happy too. I love it when they choose the more original ones. The judgement in fact makes me want to read it again 😀 2y
mklong I agree with this one too. Manhattan Beach is not bad, but I feel like Egan could have written it in her sleep. I am loving that they are rewarding authors for taking risks. 2y
BarbaraBB @mklong Well said, about Egan. And about the judges taking risks as well! 2y
47 likes4 comments
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Well-ReadNeck
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Loving this year‘s Tournament of Books so far!!! #TOB2018 #TOB #TOB18

Here‘s tomorrow‘s matchup. Will they keep on keeping on with the shakeups?

I‘m betting on it. And, although I think the cover is a yawn, my pick is Dear Cyborgs.

mklong That‘s my pick too! 2y
ClairesReads I hope it‘s Dear Cyborgs/ I haven‘t read it but found Manhattan Beach very....average I guess 2y
Well-ReadNeck @ClairesReads Ditto all that!! 2y
See All 7 Comments
Reggie I haven‘t read Manhattan Beach but I LOVED Dear Cyborgs!!!! Go Eugene Lim!!! 2y
merelybookish Dear Cyborgs FTW! 2y
batsy So rooting for Dear Cyborgs! Thanks to @Reggie 's wonderful review I got to it sooner rather than later. 2y
thebluestocking You totally called it. I didn‘t love either book, but I enjoyed MB more. 2y
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review
mklong
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Pickpick

This is a fragmented, sometimes confusing, but always compelling novel that is impossible to summarize here. Lim raises important questions about the nature and purpose of art and protest, but doesn‘t try to answer those questions, because of course no one can. I‘ll spoiler tag in the comments a section that I‘m not clear on so hopefully some of you can help me out! #TOB2018 #TOB18

mklong So the fragment about the PI searching for the missing poet. Was that the story that the narrator and Vu left unfinished? Is that why it was there? 2y
thebluestocking Unfortunately, I couldn‘t tell either. I was left feeling very confused about the various threads. 2y
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batsy
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Pickpick

I'm not sure how to review this. An anti-novel that fuses genre tropes from SF & mysteries with philosophy? A novel in essays? I think @Reggie 's review succinctly summarises the novels main concerns about protest, capitalism, & art in these shitty times. In terms of its tone, it perfectly captures our internet addled era. I think it's an attempt to write a political novel in a way that is relevant to how information is disseminated now. ⬇️

batsy A novel that tenderly satirises "superhero fetishism", to borrow a term from a GR review of the book, & a love letter to Asian-American radicalism of the past. It tries to grapple with protest art & activism in a time where everything seems to be co-opted by the state/corporations. I was very moved by the central story of the first narrative about two second generation immigrant kids finding & losing each other. A strange book. A definite pick. 2y
Bibliogeekery Great review! 2y
BarbaraBB Great review. I wished I loved it as much! 2y
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PagesOfKate Sounds super interesting. Will have to give it a read. 2y
batsy @PagesOfKate Yeah, definitely interesting! I'd like to read more of his work. 2y
rohit-sawant Fantastic review! 2y
batsy Thank you so much, @rohit-sawant 2y
readinginthedark 👏🏻Sold! 2y
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batsy
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Leftcoastzen 😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣❤️ 2y
batsy @Leftcoastzen This book is so quotable! 2y
merelybookish Except for the poetry, this is 💯 believable! 🙄 Do you like this book? I've seen mixed opinions. 2y
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batsy @merelybookish Yeah I notice almost unanimous dislike in the ToB GR group 😱 I love it, though I can't quite explain why yet... For me, everything in here just works even if it's strange 2y
merelybookish @batsy My TOB reading buddy liked it too, so I was surprised when I saw such negative reviews. 2y
vivastory I liked this book, it shouldn't have worked, strangely it did 2y
batsy @merelybookish I'm so glad to hear that! 2y
batsy @vivastory That's exactly it! I might reread it at some point to figure out how exactly he made it work... 2y
vivastory I think Rauschenberg's Canyon worked as a good metaphor for the book. Incorporating sculptural elements into the painting, much like how Lin uses different modes of storytelling that seem loosely associated by theme 2y
vivastory *Lim 2y
batsy @vivastory That's a really interesting point. I just went to look at Canyon and there is that funny feeling of disparate elements coming together, following its own internal logic. I also feel in terms of its tone, the book really captures the present moment. 2y
merelybookish My hold came in from the library today so soon I can see what it's about for myself. ☺️ 2y
saresmoore This book hadn‘t caught my attention at all until now, but that quote just made me LOL! 2y
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batsy
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This is a weird book I thought I would hate, but I'm loving it in all its weirdness and I'm highlighting huge chunks. All the feels for this section on what the marketplace expects from its writers of colour and certain sellable patterns in "immigrant fiction."

#mood #QuotsyFeb18 @TK-421

Leftcoastzen So many people on Litsy have bailed on this one , I keep wondering if I‘d like it.I like what you highlighted .😀 2y
TobeyTheScavengerMonk Oh I‘m gonna read this. 2y
BarbaraBB Glad you‘re liking it. I liked parts of it but to me the different parts didn‘t came to together and so much of it didn‘t make sense to me... unfortunately. 2y
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batsy @Leftcoastzen Not to use the word weird again, but well, it is :) In a way I really like... There's an underlying pathos, too. I'm not sure I'm getting it all, but I'm liking it 2y
batsy @BarbaraBB Yeah, I can definitely understand why that can be the case. It's very much more fragmented than I'm used to. 2y
Reggie I‘m glad you‘re reading this!! Yeah, when they described it as a fractal novel, I didn‘t know what they meant by that at first. Have you gotten to the part where they mention Richard Aoki? It‘s funny in America, sometimes if you‘re a minority they want you to know your minority‘s history but we still don‘t look up other minority‘s histories and I feel like this was one of Lim‘s gifts to me. And Kiyoshi Kuromiya. 2y
batsy @Reggie Not yet! I was pretty active on Twitter when news broke that he was an informer and so many people were devastated... This book is so interesting in capturing our zeitgeist. Almost an anti-novel, in a way! Thanks to your awesome review or this wouldn't have been on my radar 2y
amvs1111 Good to hear. A recent edition to my tbr! 2y
batsy @amvs1111 It's really unlike most "literary fiction", the kind of book that's either love or hate I think :) 2y
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review
readem_andweep
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Pickpick

Tournament of Books book #3 was a success! "Dear Cyborgs" is unlike any other book you've read. It's got a unique structure with alternating chapters between parallel universes (or maybe past and future?) and a team of superheroes detailing their covert missions but also drinking lemonade and pondering existence in a very "Republic"-esque way. It's weird and confusing, but amazing.
Check out my full review here: lyssamariereads.wordpress.com

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thebluestocking
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Mehso-so

Hmm. I don‘t quite know what to make of this. For such a short book, it took me several days to read. It felt incoherent much of the time, which generally annoys me. And I WAS annoyed much of the time, but I also found particular passages to be so full of truth and insight. The book didn‘t come together for me as a novel, but I can see a glimpse of why some might love it. #tob18

BkClubCare This might be one I put at the end of my list... 2y
thebluestocking Yeah. Sometimes these 4th seed books are not worth the time, since they have a high likelihood of not progressing far. (Someone should run the numbers on that.) 2y
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thebluestocking
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A little school pickup line reading. Almost done!!

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thebluestocking
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Oh yeah. I‘m constantly, distractedly “multi-tasking” on my phone. It needs to stop. Or, well, at least decrease. 😉

tomes4gnomes Yep, this hits close to home. (edited) 2y
Pamwurtzler Me too. 2y
16 likes3 comments
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BarbaraBB
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Bailedbailed

Basically this is just a story about some people telling each other unbelievable stories. Then again, they are superheroes, of course... Not for me though. I didn‘t care about them and found the writing style so far-fetching. Maybe there‘ll be an interesting discussion about it during the #ToB18 but until then I don‘t think it‘s worth my time.

(pic: hiking weekend with my bff‘s, the Netherlands from North to South, part 4!)

mrozzz 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻 2y
mdhughes72 Great photo! 2y
67 likes2 comments
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mrozzz
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Panpan

I absolutely hated this book. I didn‘t “get” it. Not for me.

It‘s a shame since there are several excellent talking points and yet as a whole it‘s loathsome because of the random, unknowable people presenting their opinions or absurd experiences before the scene ends suddenly sans resolution, explanation, or counter arguments. I guess it was trying something similar to Sellout by Paul Beatty— but not in a cohesive way.

merelybookish Guess I can skip this one from TOB shortlist. 2y
Booksnchill Glad I saw this before ordering it for the TOB! 2y
Reggie Awww that‘s too bad, I loved this one. 2y
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thebluestocking I‘m making my way through this one now. It is a little incoherent, but I find myself interested in little tidbits. 2y
mrozzz @merelybookish @Booksnchill I‘ve read several others on the TOB list (which I think definitely deserve to be there) and I‘m not sure how this one made it on there... 2y
mrozzz @Reggie it was just so not for me... 😣 I didn‘t connect with it at all. But, like @thebluestocking said, there are parts that I was intrigued by, and yet the “conversation” would end abruptly and I‘d get so frustrated 2y
BarbaraBB Completely agree. I just wrote my review... I bailed after 100 pages. Glad to see you hated it too after reading some raving reviews here! 2y
mrozzz @BarbaraBB Right? I‘m pretty open minded re: genre & experimentation but I could just not find an “in” here. And it really seemed like confusion was almost the intention of this book.... weird. 2y
62 likes8 comments
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BarbaraBB
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My bath is my escape from daily life. It is also the perfect place to start a new book - undisturbed.
Starting this one, the bath comes in handy: I have no idea what it is happening in this book and need to focus 😀!
It will be my sixth of the #ToB shortlist and I am really looking forward to it, thanks to the reviews of @Reggie and @vivastory !

#TournamentOfBooks

emilyhaldi Looks amazing ☺️ 2y
Reggie I hope you like it. It gets a little crazy. 2y
vivastory I'm looking forward to your thoughts on it! 2y
Kalalalatja I wish I had a bath tub! It looks great 👌 2y
Liz_M :-o Another brave person belonging their phone in the bath! 2y
71 likes5 comments
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vivastory
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Pickpick

Ms. Mistleto, the villain of Agents of Chaos, demands Robert Rauschenberg's "Canyon" as a down payment until her other demands, nuclear disarmament & single payer healthcare among them, are met. Rauschenberg's work, a painting with sculptural elements is the perfect metaphor for Lim's book. Hybrid of graphic novel action, political & economical criticism, forms of resistance & monologues about solitude & art. It all strangely works.

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vivastory
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vivastory
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Kenny
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Pickpick

My Favorite Books of 2017

11. Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lin. I would have loved this book if it were simply its story of two Asian-American boys and their coming of age in the Midwest, but we get to discuss philosophy, race, and resistance using superheroes and comics on top of that.

#KennyCobleBookAwards

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Reggie
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Pickpick

Shoutout to whoever posted the Tournament of Books list the other day because that‘s where I got this gem from. My advice, don‘t read the blurb, just dive in. It‘s short. When I finished with it today, I wanted to smoke a cigarette (I don‘t smoke), and have a drink (I don‘t drink) and then I wanted to crash my car over the bridge into a river. Lololol maybe not that last one. This is different perspectives about protest, the many demon-👇🏼

Reggie heads of capitalism, the lies we tell ourselves to be ok being a parasite of the earth, of the world society, all starting with two Asian kids, who find friendship in each other, hanging out, just talking about comic books. In no way am I doing this book justice. Please read. I would be very interested in what other people make of this. (edited) 2y
vivastory Great review. I hope to read this one soon! 2y
batsy Fantastic review. Immediate stack 😆 2y
See All 9 Comments
BarbaraBB I might be that one and I only read 10 books from that list and don‘t know where to begin reading some more that might make the shortlist. So it is good when someone recommens one. Loved this review and stacked the book! 2y
Reggie @vivastory @batsy @BarbaraBB Thanks, it also has some art commentary that I think ya‘ll would be interested in. 2y
Jas16 Great review 2y
sprainedbrain You certainly have a way of making me want to read books. Great review! 2y
Suet624 Sounds great! 2y
rohit-sawant Great review! 2y
58 likes9 stack adds9 comments
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Reggie
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The kids in the first chapter do acid, and after I finished reading this chapter, which happens way later, I wondered if I also took acid. This whole book has been quite the trip. The chapter is about Frank who dreams about his son who morphs into his dead childhood friend, Vu, who walks then flies with him while telling him about how he worked for an artist who only allowed 12 paintings of hers to exist at a time, then fired him.

Reggie At the end of the chapter, as if you have woken up, you realize, Vu is still dead. 2y
TrishB Love that review ❤️😂 2y
RealBooks4ever Just reading the synopsis makes my head want to explode! In a good way. If there is a good way one's head can explode... 2y
See All 6 Comments
Reggie @RealBooks4ever try to unread the synopsis and just jump in. Today at work, after I had read it, I felt myself biting my lip to stop from laughing thinking about this book. It was awesome. 2y
minkyb Laughing out loud alone in a room with my dog. Maybe I took/need acid‼️ 2y
Reggie @minkyb It‘s a pretty trippy book. A lot crazy. 2y
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JennyReadsBooks
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I've been hearing great things about Dear Cyborgs for months now, but about a quarter of the way in, I pulled the #Overdrive plug. More than anything I was confused, not able to keep track of when/where scenes were taking place. I get the impression that this one works far better as a physical--rather than audio--read, & I plan to try again when a physical library copy is available. #DNF #tryagainlater #audiobook #greatexpectations

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Ksvz
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Pickpick

2017 #126 short story audio that was the weirdest trip on a bad tab of acid into extensional humanitarian introspection that I have ever experienced. All the while constantly feeling like this had to be translated poorly from a culture with a much deeper love of philosophy than here in the US. I get it I think but all I can think to say is Dave's not here man.

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Kenny
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I can't wait to read this I can't wait to read this I can't wait to read this

(In bookstores tomorrow)

A.Shari.A Same here! 2y
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Lettters
Pickpick

Not sci-fi... Not polemic... But super smart and fun and strange. It's an exploration of art and creativity and activism, and how these interact with technology in the Internet age.

coffeenebula Sounds weird! I'm in 🙃 3y
36 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Liberty
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YASSSSSSSSSSSSS. 💗🤘🏻📚

OutlandishLit Want want want want want 3y
126 likes3 stack adds1 comment