tudor queens series
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts

The Thing Itself

Science Fiction   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Share this book

Lovereading view...

A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.

It begins like a modern version of John Carpenter's sinister SF horror movie THE THING when two research scientists isolated in an Antarctic station stumble across unholy matters hitherto unknown to man and the ensuing catastrophe sees one fall into the clutches of lasting madness and illumination while the other is badly maimed both in body and soul. Decades later, the latter now a drunk and an abject failure is coopted by a mysterious institute to work for them and contact his former colleague now locked away in an asylum to revisit the theories that led to the polar mayhem, and his nightmare begins all over again. Involving PETA, a curious artificial intelligence, the Fermi paradox positing the existence of extraterrestrial life and the convoluted philosophical works of Kant, this complex novel of ideas fires wildly in all directions, with glances towards, of all people, James Joyce and Thomas de Quincey, in a serious attempt to elucidate the nature of reality. Mind-bending, ambitious but always a swift read, an important work of science fiction that will have you guessing all the way. ~ Maxim Jakubowski

If you like Adam Roberts you might also like to read books by Nick Sagan, Ken Macleod and Justin Cronin.


The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts

Adam Roberts turns his attention to answering the Fermi Paradox with a taut and claustrophobic tale that echoes John Carpenters' The Thing. Two men while away the days in an Antarctic research station. Tensions between them build as they argue over a love-letter one of them has received. One is practical and open. The other surly, superior and obsessed with reading one book - by the philosopher Kant. As a storm brews and they lose contact with the outside world they debate Kant, reality and the emptiness of the universe. The come to hate each other, and they learn that they are not alone.


'using lit-fic techniques and by not playing by the genre rules, [Roberts] rises to the challenge that Mitchell sets down' SFX

'The Thing Itself is evidence of Adam Roberts'
inimitable brilliance. Tor.com

'I do appreciate a novel that makes me think while also entertaining me. The Thing Itself marries the two to perfection. There is so much packed within these pages and, without doubt, it's one of those memorable novels that will stand to repeated readings over the passing of time. A book of the year for me, for sure.' For Winter's Nights

'Personally, I found it deeply fascinating...The closest reference point for me was Philip K. Dick's VALIS trilogy which fits in the same general literary area but The Thing Itself is definitely much more fun.' Upcoming 4 Me

About the Author

Adam Roberts

Adam Roberts is commonly described as one of the UK's most important writers of SF. He is the author of numerous novels and literary parodies. He is Professor of 19th
Century Literature at Royal Holloway, London University and has written a number of
critical works on both SF and 19th Century poetry. He is a contributor to the SF

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

17th December 2015


Adam Roberts

More books by Adam Roberts
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website



Gollancz an imprint of Orion Publishing Co




Science Fiction
eBook Favourites



The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!


It is a website dedicated to those who adore reading It really is a one stop shop for book lovers. Love it!

Edel Waugh

I love Lovereading because I get to read great books and then get to tell everybody how good they are.

Sally Doel

I love that Lovereading handpicks very special debut reads.

Magda North

Books of the month/debuts of the month, kids/adults, fiction/non-fiction, free prize draws and free extracts, what's not to love?

Emma Smith

Lovereading always comes up with great suggestions and has introduced me to enjoyable books and new authors to discover.

Gaynor Passmore

I love the 'like for like' author recommendations, it's like an old friend whispering in your ear.

Emma Caddick