The Gone World

The Gone World

Inception meets True Detective in this science-fiction thriller of spellbinding tension and staggering scope. The Gone World follows a special agent into a savage murder case with grave implications for the fate of mankind. Shannon Moss is part of a clandestine division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In Western Pennsylvania, 1997, she is assigned to sol...

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Title:The Gone World
Author:Tom Sweterlitsch
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Gone World Reviews

  • Dave

    The Gone World is a breathtaking journey of literary imagination. Beautifully written, deeply layered, and most importantly mind-boggling. It’s a procedural detective story about a NCIS investigator Shannon Moss looking into a brutal bloody murder of a family in a house where her best friend from childhood had once lived. But, it’s not just any police procedural because Moss is part of a secret program whereby the investigators can inject themselves into the stream of time and space seeing what

    The Gone World is a breathtaking journey of literary imagination. Beautifully written, deeply layered, and most importantly mind-boggling. It’s a procedural detective story about a NCIS investigator Shannon Moss looking into a brutal bloody murder of a family in a house where her best friend from childhood had once lived. But, it’s not just any police procedural because Moss is part of a secret program whereby the investigators can inject themselves into the stream of time and space seeing what the future has wrought.

    Time travel is always interesting and here it’s downright fantastic. Yes, there are two paths you can go by but it’s not too late to change the road you are on. Indeed, there are infinite paths into infinite futures which becomes quite maddening. And, not to be left out, besides murder, mutiny, space travel, time travel, alien life forms, conspiracy, time paradoxes, and more, it’s the story of the impending end of the world and whether it’s destiny or alterable.

    Richly textured, thought-provoking, detailed, and crazy-making, The Gone World is simply awesome.

    Many thanks to G.P. Putnam for a copy of the book for review.

  • Sylvain Neuvel

    In a word: Whoa! Edge-of-your-seat crime fiction that bends both time and mind. Think True Detective meets 12 Monkeys. Throw in the end of the world and you can begin to imagine where this gut-twisting tale will take you. This is cross-genre fiction at its best.

  • Trish

    Okay, so I finished this last night but had to gather my thoughts before writing this review. Because the book is one of those that you can talk about for hours with others - both while reading it (discussing theories, puzzling about where the author will take this) and after finishing it (to see if it means the same to you as to other readers).

    The story centers around an NCIS investigator, who tries to solve several linked murder cases (a family). It could be a jealous husband, a robbery, some

    Okay, so I finished this last night but had to gather my thoughts before writing this review. Because the book is one of those that you can talk about for hours with others - both while reading it (discussing theories, puzzling about where the author will take this) and after finishing it (to see if it means the same to you as to other readers).

    The story centers around an NCIS investigator, who tries to solve several linked murder cases (a family). It could be a jealous husband, a robbery, some link to the Navy ... anything. However, what makes this so intriguing and layered is that in this world time travel is possible. Only forward and then back to Terra Firma (the actual Here and Now), but still time travel! And space travel too (the base for the time travel branch of the Navy is on the Moon). Anyway, investigators often jump around the time line to find clues and then solve a crime. This gets complicated by the fact that not too long ago, the Navy found out during one of the jumps that the end times (an event called Terminus) are near ... and approaching through time, coming closer at an increasing rate. The Terminus reminds one of horror movies à la

    or

    what with the dark colours of that cold and snowy world, people losing their minds and being crucified upside down and whatnot. But is there a connection between Terminus and the murders? If so, what is it? And will all those efforts to prevent Terminus actually work - can they?!

    Yes, one has to pay attention to which period the MC is currently in as well as how the events play out in order to get hints at who some characters are. Because jumping forward in time will only get you to ONE POSSIBLE future. It's not written in stone, which further complicates things. Nevertheless, although details are different, a few things stay the same, have a necessary common ground so to speak.

    And all this is just the set-up!

    The rest of the book slowly unfolds several mysteries that are intricately intertwined; a very intelligent plot with several twists and turns. It was so much fun following the clues and establishing theories (I actually used my notebook *lol*), then dismiss them in favour of new ones.

    A few things were as I had expected them but there was always some detail that played out differently than anticipated and like I usually say: the journey is even more important than the final outcome.

    The writing style is also very enganging, with a host of unique characters that make you feel the entire range of emotions a human being is capable of feeling. Is anyone ever truly innocent? What defines "the good guys"? Every (crime) scene was laid out in detail so the reader becomes part of the investigative team while also being appalled or horrified. You can feel how much you're running out of time so there is NEVER a moment of rest, the story keeps throwing elements at you and you either sink or swim, getting completely drawn into these worlds. The atmosphere, especially in certain surroundings, had me on the edge of my seat or barricading myself with pillows, it was that creepy-good.

    I would have never even heard of this if it wasn't for

    voluntelling me to this buddy-read and although I will never officially admit it, I owe him because this has become one of my favourite books!

  • Bradley

    I honestly didn't expect this novel to be quite as hard-hitting as it turned out to be.

    From the opening passages, I was plunged into a nightmare future world of nanotech and some humanity-ending Cthulhu-esq horrorshow of humans hanging from trees, undying hoards of men and women running, insane, and us, time-travelers in a spacecraft, observing our own future end creeping up on us sooner and sooner and sooner.

    OMG, I LOVE THIS. This just blows me away.

    But right before it scares off the normals,

    I honestly didn't expect this novel to be quite as hard-hitting as it turned out to be.

    From the opening passages, I was plunged into a nightmare future world of nanotech and some humanity-ending Cthulhu-esq horrorshow of humans hanging from trees, undying hoards of men and women running, insane, and us, time-travelers in a spacecraft, observing our own future end creeping up on us sooner and sooner and sooner.

    OMG, I LOVE THIS. This just blows me away.

    But right before it scares off the normals, the author backs us up and plants us firmly in a top-secret NCIS investigatory world that has time travel and deep-space spacecraft. And mundane murder on the world in the meantime. And the means to travel through time to help solve the sticklers. :)

    I think I loved all the hard-SF elements the most, second by the MANY MANY MANY shadow-worlds of time, the worldbuilding, the heavy thought put into this reality. Time and multiverses work a bit differently than our run-of-the-mill time-travel stories. We deal with dark forests and multiple branches that loop back in on themselves but all tend to converge in truly horrific ways that are perfectly aligned to make us totally freak out... in the end. Shadow worlds. Popping bubbles of reality. Hopping and erasures and yet... the END OF HUMANITY...

    Am I squeeing? Yes, I am.

    But wait!

    I'm not just squeeing over the SF and Horror side of the novel. This will probably blow your mind.

    It's also a great thriller. Not just a truly excellent time-travel novel with a lot more than its fair share of surprises, twists and turns, but it's a full-on excellent modern thriller. Murder mysteries, a full complement of FBI tracking, footwork, NCIS, as well as hopping through time and multiple worlds to meet up with partners, often not in the know, murders before they happen, suspects before they ever get a glimmer of their later involvement in the events that END HUMANITY. Every little murder is a mystery within a mystery within a mystery, and it still has to lead to the meeting on other worlds with strange alien or time-like or nanotech or Dreamtime or Ragnarokian origins. :)

    We're all left wondering and wondering and wondering. The author knows his craft. :)

    And you know what is perhaps the best part?

    The characters. Shannon is awesomely deep and interesting in her own right. As a thriller it succeeds on all these little life-details across the board, perfectly separate from the SFnal and Horror bits. And most of the novel IS exactly this.

    I cannot see a universe in which this particular novel doesn't make it ultra-huge. I mean, it has all the elements and high-craft of a super-huge best-seller. As a genre-masher, it's perfectly mainstream and exciting and entirely in line with what people seem to WANT. And it excels at each part! No half-ass aspect anywhere. :)

    So I liked it, right?

    Oh, hell yeah. :) Hit me out of nowhere and I'm a total convert. :)

  • Blair

    I wanted to read this because of the story that Neill Blomkamp is adapting it into a film, as well as the fact that Sweterlitsch has served as co-writer on a number of Blomkamp’s Oats Studios projects. I mention this first because

    being pretty high-concept sci-fi, is not the kind of novel that would have appeared on my radar otherwise. Thankfully, Sweterlitsch is a first-rate storyteller, and though the plot is complex I found the narrative fascinating.

    Explaining the premise is g

    I wanted to read this because of the story that Neill Blomkamp is adapting it into a film, as well as the fact that Sweterlitsch has served as co-writer on a number of Blomkamp’s Oats Studios projects. I mention this first because

    being pretty high-concept sci-fi, is not the kind of novel that would have appeared on my radar otherwise. Thankfully, Sweterlitsch is a first-rate storyteller, and though the plot is complex I found the narrative fascinating.

    Explaining the premise is going to make me feel ridiculous, but I’ll have a go. NCIS agent Shannon Moss is part of Deep Waters, a top-secret project involving travel in space and time. One can only jump

    in time from their present day or 'terra firma', in Shannon's case 1997 – but not beyond the Terminus, 'the moment humanity ceases to be relevant'. Every timeline ends in the Terminus sooner or later, and, ominously, it's getting closer. The futures Shannon and other agents visit are only possibilities and may never happen in reality, but an agent might live for years in an 'IFT' (inadmissible future trajectory).

    Back in 1997, a family is massacred, and the prime suspect is the patriarch, a Navy SEAL who was also part of Deep Waters. Shannon is tasked with solving the case, and is perturbed when she finds the crime took place in a house that used to belong to her childhood best friend. The story has been described as

    meets

    there's more than a little

    in there as well (not least because Shannon watches the show and is a Scully fan). Boiled down to a sentence, it's a time-travel whodunnit (so,

    basically.)

    The 'gone world' the title speaks of is not, as you might think, one of these IFTs, but Shannon's past, in particular the life she shared with her best friend Courtney Gimm before the latter's death at age sixteen.

    The device of grounding Shannon's motivation in Courtney's death works really well, both because it humanises the character and because it keeps bringing the story back to a recognisable context. No matter how outlandish the rest of it becomes, there's always this element of ordinary humanity.

    It's safe to say

    is outside my reading comfort zone, but this was a gamble that paid off. It's very well paced, and while everything was explained, I never felt like I was getting bogged down in the intricacies of how it all worked. Turns out, murder mystery and time travel go surprisingly well together.

    (There's one thing I hated about it, though – the epilogue. I hated that epilogue so much I don't even know how to begin talking about it. Let's pretend it never happened.)

    The Gone World

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  • Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    The Gone World follows protagonist Shannon Moss, who belongs to a top-secret division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. On paper, her job is to investigate any criminal activities involving members of the US Navy or Marine Corps, but behind the scenes, her duties involve a whole lot more, including traveling through time to search for clues in a myriad of possible futures. It’s dangerous work, and years ag

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    The Gone World follows protagonist Shannon Moss, who belongs to a top-secret division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. On paper, her job is to investigate any criminal activities involving members of the US Navy or Marine Corps, but behind the scenes, her duties involve a whole lot more, including traveling through time to search for clues in a myriad of possible futures. It’s dangerous work, and years ago she even lost her leg to frostbite while on an assignment exploring the wintry landscape of a future Earth.

    Moss’s “own” time is 1997, the year she receives a case to track down a missing teenage girl named Marian whose mother and brother have been brutally murdered. The main suspect is a former Navy SEAL, who Moss discovers, with some shock, was part of the Naval Space Command program, stationed aboard a spaceship assumed lost on a classified mission. Knowing how the stresses of traveling through space and time can push a person to the edge, Moss suspects a deeper connection. Now she will need to jump ahead to a possible future Earth to see if Marian’s disappearance has made any ripples, so that Moss might trace the events backwards to discover what happened to the girl.

    But for a while now, the NSC has also been aware of an event known as the Terminus, which will bring about the end of the world and all reality as we know it. The date of the Terminus, however, is not set; every time Moss makes the jump to the future and returns to the present, she receives news that the Terminus has moved up a few more years, drawing ever closer.

    This novel is a sci-fi crime thriller with time travel thrown into the mix, so you just know the story will be a little wild. It can also be quite confusing—but again, that’s almost par for the course when it comes to time travel fiction. Everything is connected somehow, and as readers, we must keep track of the times Moss travels to the future, how long she stays, the people she talks to, and the information she gleans. Just to make it even more complicated, every time Moss jumps forward and comes back, the future she visits “blinks” out like it never happened (or maybe that should be “will never happen”?) and anyway, all her futures are possibilities only, not certainties. If your head isn’t exploding yet, there’s more: Echoes. These are individuals brought back from the possible futures, doubling someone already living. This aspect plays a big role in the story, so I won’t say more on the topic. The point though, is that The Gone World is a story of many different components, which Sweterlitsch juggles like a performer spinning plates on sticks, trying to keep them all up in the air and moving at once. If you’re not prepared to have your mind twisted, of if you’re in the mood for something lighter, then this is not a book for you.

    This is also the second novel I’ve read by the author, so to some extent, I knew what I would be getting in terms of the tone of the story and writing style. In a word, it’s dark. Really dark. Like Sweterlitsch’s first novel Tomorrow and Tomorrow, we’re talking an extremely bleak worldview, where the threat of the Terminus is always present and encroaching on our minds. Some of Moss’s memories and her disturbing visions also have the quality of a nightmare, and the prose frequently utilizes imagery that is once painfully beautiful and viscerally horrifying.

    As much as I enjoyed this novel though, there are a few caveats. The raw, gritty, and depressing mood aside, I’m not sure the book got its ultimate point across successfully. The story might have lost its hold on me at the end, crushed by the weight of its own ideas and growing a little too unwieldy for the plot structure to support. As well, I still have no idea how a lot of the science or the mechanics behind the technology in the novel really work; the author doesn’t make much of an effort to explain. One can argue all that is secondary to the main story, but I think it would have helped to get at least some background on the secret NSC space program and the history of how time travel was ultimately achieved.

    But all in all, I enjoyed this. It’s smart, imaginative, and so edgy it could cut. I liked following our compelling protagonist, watching all the pieces come together (and sometimes get torn apart) against a backdrop of drama, action, and thrilling suspense. I would recommend this for time travel fiction fans and sci-fi mystery lovers, especially if you’re looking for a challenging, mind-bending read.

    Audiobook Comments: Brittany Pressley was a wonderful narrator, successfully portraying a large cast of characters of different ages, different backgrounds, and different times. She used accents to great effect for several of them, creating a very immersive experience for the listener. She had a great voice for the book too, perfectly capturing its grim and dark tone.

  • Cindy Burnett

    3.5-4 stars

    I struggled reading this book and am struggling writing the review. I loved the concept of the story but didn’t totally love the execution. I am always intrigued with time travel, and I felt that the portion of the book dealing with that was fabulous. Sweterlitsch clearly researched and thought through that concept and executed it very effectively. What I didn’t like as much was the length (the book would have benefitted from significantly more editing), the intricate scientific detai

    3.5-4 stars

    I struggled reading this book and am struggling writing the review. I loved the concept of the story but didn’t totally love the execution. I am always intrigued with time travel, and I felt that the portion of the book dealing with that was fabulous. Sweterlitsch clearly researched and thought through that concept and executed it very effectively. What I didn’t like as much was the length (the book would have benefitted from significantly more editing), the intricate scientific detail and the overly complex plot. I felt I had to be hyperly focused on the book every time I read, or I would lose track of the various story lines. Overall, The Gone World is an interesting and original tale that you must be prepared to devote your entire attention to as you read it and not spread it over too many days. It is also contains several fairly gory sections. I had to skip over those. Thanks to First to Read for my copy. All opinions are my own.

  • Juli

    Deep Space. Deep time. In the future there isn't much in the universe outside of the reach of humanity.....even time. Shannon Moss is part of a secret branch of the NCIS that travels in time, investigating possible futures and the Terminus....an event in the future that might cause the end of humanity. They want to learn how to prevent Terminus, but they also discover that time travel has some very real physical and mental costs. In 1997, Moss joins a police investigation into the brutal murder

    Deep Space. Deep time. In the future there isn't much in the universe outside of the reach of humanity.....even time. Shannon Moss is part of a secret branch of the NCIS that travels in time, investigating possible futures and the Terminus....an event in the future that might cause the end of humanity. They want to learn how to prevent Terminus, but they also discover that time travel has some very real physical and mental costs. In 1997, Moss joins a police investigation into the brutal murder of a mother and two of her children. Moss is familiar with the house -- years ago her best friend lived there. A Former NavySEAL who disappeared during a time travel mission years before is the main suspect in the grisly murders. The dead woman's 17 year old daughter is missing. As she travels in time to find facts about the murders, the missing girl and the crazed suspect, Moss also discovers horrifying facts about Terminus.

    Wow! This book is an awesome mix of Sci-fi and suspense thriller! The story sucked me in right away and I couldn't stop reading! The plot has intricate layers....flipping back and forth in time....but Sweterlitsch's powerful writing keeps the story under control, making it thrilling and not confusing. Moss is an excellent main character....gritty, intelligent and determined.

    I definitely recommend this book for lovers of Sci-Fi, suspense and thriller novels. It's an exciting read. The story just grabs ahold and doesn't let go until the very last page.

    Excellent read! This book will release in February 2018.

    For more information on the author and his other books, check out his website:

    **I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from First To Read/Penguin Random House. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    If there is one book that I feel inadequate to review, it's The Gone World, because it's so mind-blowing fascinating and sometimes a bit too much for my little brain to take it, but at least I think I grasped most of what was going on in the book. Still, it's hard to review that left you with a feeling of exhausting, wonder and dread.

    If there is one book that I feel inadequate to review, it's The Gone World, because it's so mind-blowing fascinating and sometimes a bit too much for my little brain to take it, but at least I think I grasped most of what was going on in the book. Still, it's hard to review that left you with a feeling of exhausting, wonder and dread.

    The book is gorgeously written, and at first, there is a tiny feeling of hope in the story, despite, the gruesome murder, as we learn more about time travel, and all the wonders with it. Then, we learn about Terminus, the end of humanity, an end that is closing in faster and faster, from being a threat generations away to a threat that seems to move faster towards each day and you start to feel that humanity may be doomed that there will be no way to stop Terminus from happening.

    The Gone World is a fabulous science fiction book and I felt a craving for more books like this after finishing it. I've always loved time travel, and I loved the idea of going forward to an "if" future to see back to how for instance a case would be solved, and then go back. It's not a new thought, but adding the Terminus, gives the book a sense of doom, a sense that nothing will, in the end, stop the end of humanity. There is hope, but will Shannon Moss, be able to figure out a way to stop Terminus? Or is she just fighting windmills?

    I feel that part of me is still processing this book, despite that, I finished the book a couple of days ago. It's such an extraordinary book. I also loved how the author quoted August Strindberg, from the book The Ghost Sonata, as intro quotes for new parts in the book. Love details like that. And, I need to find time to read or listen to Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Tom Sweterlitsch!

    Read it, or listen to the audiobook. I have a tendency to do both when I have the chance, reading at home listening at work. Btw that's a great way to get some reading done when you don't have time. Combine listening with reading. *A tip from a Bookaholic Swede*

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