Company Town

Company Town

Book - 2016
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New Arcadia is a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd. Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she's the last truly organic person left on the rig - making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defence and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline? Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city's stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa's front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to be - but now, the danger is personal.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780765382900
Characteristics: 285 pages ; 22 cm


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Jul 27, 2020

Although set in a futuristic, gritty setting Company Town has a number of funny parts. I found the story to be very involved and found it hard to put down.

liljables Jul 11, 2018

I picked up Company Town to read on a recent trip home to Newfoundland - it seemed fitting. I found the world-building and the dystopian concepts in this novel really compelling, and I would gobble up a sequel if Ashby chose to write one, purely to learn more about this universe and the characters that inhabit it. Sadly, the plot really loses steam in the third act, so I can't recommend this one to anyone who wants to stay on the edge of their seat until the bitter end.

Sep 28, 2017

Really exciting that tackles some really interesting ideas about a future society. Sadly falls flat at the last leg, with a drastic tonal shift.

Jul 30, 2017

This book is so good I don't want to put it down, but I don't want to finish it too quickly. Savour Hwa in a future I believe in with a tone I've never experienced in this genre, gruesome and greasy, still I totally want to be a rigger on her tower.

May 17, 2017

I heard of this book through the Canada Reads competition, which may have set my expectations for it too high. I found this book to be just ok. There are definitely interesting ideas being discussed (privatization/corporatization of our world / bio-medical enhancements and whether they make us as people 'better'), but these discussions lacked both consistency or resolution. There are sections of this book I was completely enrapt by, that I devoured with enthusiasm; and then other sections that I had to truly push myself to get through.... and then some sections that I skimmed out of boredom. The author sets up a futuristic world, but doesn't spoonfeed the audience all the context surrounding the world - which I appreciated. However too often this lead to me trying to make leaps of logic, trying to discern what exactly was going on; and left me lost. All in all I think this book has some great foundation of story, but lacks follow through.

May 11, 2017

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Company Town takes place in the unique setting of an oil rig the size of a city off the coast of Newfoundland. After the original rig is consumed by flames, New Arcadia is established, built by the powerful Lynch family who plaster their logo on every tall building. When we meet our protagonist, Go Jung-hwa, she is working as a bodyguard for the United Sex Workers of Canada and teaching self-defense classes on the side. Subject to a disease that makes her prone to seizures and marks half of her body with a birthmark, Hwa is an outcast in a society filled with augmented human beings. Where others have cameras built into their eyes, implants in their brains, and vaccines for countless diseases, Hwa is completely organic.

It is because of her organic status that Hwa is conscripted by Zachariah Lynch, the patriarch of Lynch Ltd. to act as personal bodyguard for his teenage heir, Joel. She is unable to be hacked, controlled, or cheated. What was once a symbol of her status as poor has become her greatest asset.

Mar 31, 2017

Company Town is a page-turning sci-fi adventure set in a future that is a cautionary tale about technologies from resource extraction to genetic editing. With such a detailed and fully realized futuristic setting, it is no surprise to learn that Ashby works as a professional futurist, helping companies with strategic foresight, imagining both optimistic outcomes and worst-case scenarios. The concepts and ideas she incorporates range from the already-viable to more theoretical concepts, such as the fact that the death threats against Joel appear to be coming from the future. Company Town is also a gritty noir mystery; after Hwa leaves her old job, someone begins targeting the women she used to protect, and Hwa is determined to figure out how these brutal killings relate to her new employers.

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Feb 21, 2017

This book is just OK. I found that a lot of the plot was either not resolved adequately or resolved in contrived ways. I did not find the book to be well edited, but it was an interesting story. As mentioned, it is on the short list for Canada Reads 2017. If they wanted to choose a book about dystopian futures to discuss, I think Quantum Night would have been a better choice. I don't personally feel that this is a book "Canada needs to read now".

Feb 10, 2017

Finalist for Canada Reads 2017. I am not a fan of futuristic stories but I liked this one. Interesting take on allowing people to be augmented and Big Brother knowing everything. What is the true meaning of perfect and humanity?


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Mar 31, 2017

On an oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland, Hwa is one of the few entirely biological humans, unaugmented by technology or genetic tailoring. Hwa works as a bodyguard for the sex workers’ union, but when the rig is bought out by the Lynch family, she is hired to protect the patriarch’s son and heir, fifteen-year-old Joel. Hwa’s lack of augmentation means that she is not vulnerable to hacking, but the medical condition that led her mother to write her off as not worth the cost of the augmentation procedures leaves her vulnerable to seizures. But the fact that she cannot be hacked is valuable to the Lynch family, because Joel has been receiving high-tech death threats suggesting he will be killed before his next birthday. However, as Hwa’s involvement with the Lynch Company grows, the women she used to work with begin turning up dead in a gruesome series of murders.


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Mar 31, 2017

Choice had little to do with it. Money was the thing. When you had no money, you had no choice. But there was no use explaining that to a man like Zachariah Lynch.

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