Zed by Joanna Kavenna


Self-anointed guru of the Digital Age, Guy Matthias, CEO of Beetle, has become one of the world's most powerful and influential figures. Untaxed and ungoverned, his trans-Atlantic company essentially operates beyond the control of Governments or the law.But trouble is never far away, and for Guy a perfect storm is brewing: his wife wants to leave him, fed up with his serial infidelities; malfunctioning Beetle software has led to some unfortunate ...

Details Zed

Release DateJul 4th, 2019
PublisherFaber & Faber
GenreFiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Reviews Zed

  • Hugh
    Joanna Kavenna is becoming one of my favourite writers - her four previous novels (Inglorious, The Birth of Love, Come to the Edge and A Field Guide to Reality) are all intelligent and interesting in different ways, and her writing is often very funny. I must admit that I was a little nervous when I heard that her latest book was a dystopian fiction set in the near future, as this genre is not normally one that appeals to me as a reader. When I w...
  • Blair
    (3.5, maybe?) It's difficult to rate this. It reminded me most of my experience with Joshua Cohen's Book of Numbers: a book I hated at first, and continued to find frustrating throughout, but ended up loving, and now regard as one of the greatest novels the 21st century has yet produced. (There are also superficial similarities in the books' plots, for example chunks of the story being focused on a powerful tech mogul.) I'm not sure I can quite p...
  • Adam
    Joanna Kavenna’s Zed is a pitch-dark comedy about an Orwellian future where Big Brother is not only watching but controls every aspect of society. Imagine if Google merged with the NSA, CIA, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, as well as owned almost every media channel and newspaper in the country. This is Beetle. Everything is constantly filmed, everyone is forced to wear a smartwatch that kept telling you what to do, your refrigerator tries to cont...
  • CJ
    Dammit! Tricked by cover porn. Look at that cover, it is gorgeous! It has a very intriguing premise, but was let down by the execution. It reads like an early draft. A few more rounds of revising and editing could elevate this story into a masterpiece. I did read an early copy so hopefully some of the issues I had with it were resolved before release.It is a satirical look at determinism vs free will in the digital age and tech giants profiting f...
  • Paul
    I’m sat here writing this review on my notebook PC while my smartphone randomly provides new music based on previous choices I’ve made. Meanwhile, my smartwatch feeds me a constant stream of various e-mails and alerts. Technology is just super convenient isn’t it? That idea that everything you could ever want, or need, is available at the touch of a button is a real lifesaver. If you think about it though, it’s also mildly disturbing. Spo...
  • Alan Shaw
    I enjoyed some of this book and some of it I found a slog. The story begins well as a black and bleak comedy then loses its way, suddenly ups a gear and is almost exciting before simply fading away. The premise isn't particularly new - Big Bad Business and Big Bad Government collude in high-tech monitoring of everyone and everything for the usual ends of money power and control. It sometimes reminded me of Alena Graedon's The Word Exchange except...
  • Mary
    It started well, a great concept and very witty. I want to know what the ending is, but I just don't want to read it any more. It seems to be going nowhere slowly.
  • Amber Sherlock
    A terrifying and frankly, bizarre insight into an Orwellian future of total control, murderous AI and algorithms to predict crime. Corporate giants control all - how to live, think, act and pre-arrest any potential dissidents. A great concept, but the execution ultimately lets the book down slightly.
  • Alexa
    This was a DNF at around 23%. I enjoyed the writing style and the thought of a totally enterprise controlled society is intriguing, very Orwellian, but the pace was very slow, I was lost most of the time, and while I enjoyed some of the characters, they didn't stand out enough for me to continue with the story.
  • Sam
    A fun read in a dystopian way. Leans heavily on 1984 but none the worse for that. Darkly hilarious and all too believable a future of we get too sucked into Twit/Face/Goo/Zon. I was trying to think of a collective noun for the Big Tech but just came up with ‘Twitfaced’ - how one feels after posting rubbish on Social Media. Inspired me too re-read 1984 and now Brave New World