<i>Tionsphere</i>  <i>Book 1</i>
  • © 2024 J.C. Gemmell 0

Tionsphere Book 1

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite

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Tionsphere is a work of science fiction penned by author J.C. Gemmell and is the opening novel to a new series. In this newly imagined future, the planet is faced with the inevitable crush of overpopulation and considers the ways in which human society might adapt to control this issue as time marches on. We follow the coming of age experiences of the teenage protagonist amid a wide cast of characters investigating the various unusual goings-on in the system they live by. But when one figure slips away from the assignment set for his future, new discoveries are made that threaten the system and human life as a whole.

Author J.C. Gemmell has produced a hard-boiled science fiction work for fans of traditional complex societies with lots of crunch in the workings and plenty of detailed backstories. Suitable for all readers due to its non-graphic depictions, the ensemble cast and various narrative viewpoints give us a full sense of the world in which we find ourselves, and the system put in place to promote segregation and prevent chaos from taking over in a society on the brink of overflow. The tension is palpable, the dialogue complex and the artifice of life itself intelligently exposed by those who break the chain. For serious science fiction fans, Tionsphere marks the beginning of a complex new series with plenty to think about long after the intense reading experience is over, and it’s therefore highly recommended for hardcore fans of the genre.
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Reviewed by Melanie Bokstad Horev on Amazon

Loved it - a pure sci-fi joyous adventure

Wow, the book is amazing (yes I put it that simply). Tionsphere is well-written and entertaining. It takes a while to get into the lingo, but afterward pure joy. The depth of the world, the dark future, everything screams dystopia mixed with classic sci-fi. You get wrapped up and involved in the story quite fast. I did have to look at the glossary, but I found it interesting. I read fantasy too, so I am familiar with having to look up words at the back or start of the book to remind myself about hierarchy, places, names, and meanings of words. That is definitely no problem, and in my opinion, doesn’t hinder the development of the book.

The characters are well-developed, and you're good to go after you memorize the names (a tad tricky, but I don’t hold it against anyone). I would highly recommend the book to dedicated science-fiction fans, they will find it a great read, with thorough world-building, interesting characters, and a good plot. The book screams: The author spent time on me. That is meant in the best way possible, there is thought and detail put into this work. Go ahead and enjoy it.
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Reviewed by Literary Titan

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Tionsphere by J.C. Gemmell is set in a future where people live in spheres, resources are scarce, and death is not what we know it to be. People in this world live in concentric spheres that encircle the globe and are rapidly reaching capacity, causing the universal processing service to fail and endangering the lives of those who reside in them. These spheres, ironically, were built by two global corporations that joined to solve Earth’s overpopulation problem. While Caitlyn and her small team of contract theorists try to figure out why their society is collapsing, Pazel is hell-bent on destroying all within Tion’s spheres and saving only the elites. Who wins in this futuristic, multifaceted race for the fate of the globe?

This is an intellectually-invigorating book that would appeal to sci-fi fans who are ready to be immersed in a complex world with an equally deep plot. Consciousness can be separated from one’s body in Gemmell’s thought-provoking story, and viewing the stars and celestial objects is a thing of the past.

Tionsphere has an intriguing cast of characters, whose personalities are a product of the mysterious world in which they find themselves, such as Jovana, who assumes leadership in the group and enjoys salvaging because it allows her access to Tion’s history. While this is a visionary science fiction novel, I found I needed frequent breaks from the book to absorb all the information and the different perspectives of the characters. The story switches between situations swiftly, so if you like fast-moving stories over character-heavy development then this novel is for you. For example, instead of devoting time to considering a task and the impact it might have on their lives, the girls simply discuss it briefly and go on to start it.

As his novel is based on plausible issues and solutions that may arise as a result of overpopulation and globalization, J.C. Gemmell has proven to be a writer with vision and a creative imagination. Tionsphere explores concepts that challenge our perceptions of reality and the limitations of our understanding of life. This riveting dystopian novel will undoubtedly captivate your attention and transport you to its picturesque world.
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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers’ Favorite

J.C. Gemmell’s Tionsphere is the beginning of a monumental science fiction series. As the world’s future population faces its greatest challenge, technology is having trouble sustaining humanity’s demands. Pazel Sad-Tet-Ain-Resh, one of Tionspehere’s originators, believes he has a solution—a solution that serves the elite and his personal interests. He has the wealth and influence to make things happen in a future that has become dependent on digital technology and connectivity. Contract theorists Caitlyn, Freja, Kavya, Miyu, and Jovana accept a deal to discover why the T-sphere is failing. To complete their contract, Caitlyn and her team will encounter an assortment of characters that trace back before the Forming, including Pazel who is determined to carry out his sinister plan.

J.C. Gemmell is mindful of his character development as he devotes each chapter to exploring three to four characters—a necessity for a sci-fi series operating on a grand scale. It celebrates diversity with its interracial cast. Similarly, the world-building is replete with details of humanity’s obsession with online connectivity. Invented scientific jargon can sometimes get in the way as well as foreign words in italics especially if you are not versed in European languages. Some of the invented words are not explained and Gemmell leaves it to you to unlock its meaning based on context. Pazel is a formidable villain. His ability to “ghost” into different bodies allows him to travel and remain undetected. High tension and complex dialogue make Tionsphere a fascinating read. Give it a chance, and you will likely look forward to the release of the next instalment.
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Reviewed by Hayleigh Sol on Goodreads

Complex and detail-rich page-turner

Gemmell's Tionsphere builds a world where the citizens are at risk on multiple fronts: other citizens who might order another's death or “caching” as easily as a cup of coffee, the overpopulation of their world that seems to be causing its technology to shut down, and the egocentric plans of Pazel, a man whose been around since Tionsphere’s creation and is convinced he knows how to best manage it.

From the first chapter, there’s an overhanging feeling of danger for average people living their everyday lives. Connor and Danesh, separately, are abducted, subjected to violent body swapping and mental and physical control by others. Despite earnest struggling to maintain their own identities, they’re at risk of losing their true selves. Hyun-jun, a curious innocent from the farming portion of the world, undertakes a quest to seek the truth of what’s beyond his small life. He’s joined by Enzo and, later, Ines, and their journey becomes a reality show spectacle followed and voted on by the global population. This theme of a people obsessed with data and connectivity pervades the novel; “online” can monitor and find anyone at any time and a person’s removal from their connection causes severe disconnection sickness.

Pazel may be the only person capable of avoiding detection. His wealth and strict adherence to his own goals have isolated him, though he has many underlings, some of whom would do anything for him, and the ability to “ghost” into various bodies and move through the levels of the world easily.

Youssef, another “lifer” like Pazel, who possesses a technology that regenerates his body and mind every day so he lives forever, seems as though he may be a formidable hero in the fight against Pazel but he, too, faces his own challenges against new foe Rabindra.

Caitlyn, Freja, Kavya, Miyu and Jovana are a group of women living and working together on grand scale projects that keep the Pallium (another word for the T-sphere) operating. They accept a mysterious contract to determine why it’s failing, a seemingly impossible job they theorize was posted by the inanimate Pallium itself. The project brings them in virtual contact with the various citizens mentioned above as the women influence, aid and manipulate them while attempting to complete the contract.

Each chapter follows three to four characters, building on their stories. With detailed world- and character-building, the reader is drawn in and invested in what will happen to these people and the life they know. The writing is complex and, at times, difficult to follow with invented terminology that's not always defined, lengthy chapters and many characters. Reading the synopsis again after finishing the book clarified some questions I still had and it might have been nice to see that clarification in the book. Overall, an engaging and thought-provoking start to a series that will interest readers of science-fiction, suspense and adventure.
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Reviewed by Huw Langridge on Amazon

Dazzling Sci-Fi, Grand in Scope

Reading Tionsphere I felt I had been airdropped into a richly formed, complex futuristic landscape. A challenging set of language and rules unfold quickly, and the effect is dizzying. This is a book unlike anything I have read before. Grand scope sci-fi that asks a lot of its reader and rewards you with something that really could be a dazzling extrapolation of our species cultural evolution. This is one for fans of authors like Peter F Hamilton. Immersive hard SF!
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