• Rationality Zero

  • A Cyberpunk Espionage Tale of Eldritch Horror - The Dossiers of Asset 108
  • By: JM Guillen
  • Narrated by: Joel Richards
  • Series: Asset 108, Book 1
  • Length: 5 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 24-12-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Irrational Worlds
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (5 ratings)


June 21, 1998
San Francisco, California
The world is not what it seems.
Michael Bishop is an Asset of the Facility - a job that comes with many strange perks. He is a man who never gets ill, who never pays taxes. He is effortlessly fit and has a different woman every night of the week.
That is, when he is not on assignment.
When activated, Michael becomes Asset 108, a cyberenhanced human who stands against the strange darkness that lurks at the edge of our world. Armed with equipment that most would find impossible to comprehend, he is sent on missions both strange and deadly. Each dossier pits him against irrational creatures and beings - most with the power to unravel his sanity or reality itself. It's never a simple job.
This job, however, is more complex than most. Mysterious, unknown targets are fracturing reality somewhere in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The Facility has no other Assets in the area, and their telemetry is spotty at best. Without knowing what to expect, Bishop is activated, assigned to a cadre, and sent to the middle of nowhere.
What he finds there is both the beginning and the end.
©2013, 2015 Irrational Worlds (P)2015 Irrational Worlds
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By kanundra on 29-03-16

Just Fantastic! I hope there's more!

What did you like most about Rationality Zero?

Umm I have to say the lovely tone of voice from Joel. It was one of the best performances I've listened to in the last few weeks. Great narrator.

But, it's defo a toss-up over that and the actual story. What an interesting story and world. I can't say enough about that either, so will go into more detail below.

So both, together these two are a fab team.

What other book might you compare Rationality Zero to, and why?

Honestly, don't know on this one. I'm a sci fi girl, but this sub genre was a different take on it.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The characters are just so well drawn out, that even when they're in the darkest of situations their humour and banter carries you off. I have to admit, when Wyatt's face is taken off and Anya's deploying them the right pain and healing meca the fact that he's just his usual self is a very good thing.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were some really awful and cringe worthy moments, with the creatures and the Verum. I think the whole journey in the facility is just that on the edge of your seat, that the defining moment has to be when they finally do get near leaving it's makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.

Any additional comments?

Okay, so there were several things I did love about the story and a couple of things I wasn't so keen on.

The world building and understanding of science in here must have been a huge undertaking, because although I'm no scientist, it felt so real. Like the tiniest part of the story just made so much sense. All with irrational and rational space. I'd love to know how much effort this was while writing. :) I felt like there was an amazing amount of knowledge in here, yet I didn't feel like it was that heavy that it bogged the story down at all.

I do remember thinking that sometimes the explanation of the mecca came a little late when it was being used and not first taken from their white room.

I think what I would have liked more was that human connection, having said that. I got the feeling that Bishop really started to like Anya towards the end of the narration. Was there more to that than I thought, maybe I'll listen to another book in the series and find out. hehe. I do hope that Wyatt's face isn't that badly scared as well. Even with the time taken in the hospital I felt so bad for them all. Maybe a little more at the end of the novel would have been a good idea. I know they've got all that great information, and are prepared better for the invasion... I think with the MC having a life outside of his job the start of the story and the ending, though they tie in well kinda left me with a little headscratch. More because of Bishops lack of personality there or it felt like it. The woman he was with in the start, just a throw away. And in the beginning, that made me not like him as a MC, however, he did care for his job and what he was doing, so he kinda won me over in the end, and the fact he cared for his friends, especially Wyatt, who he does call his best friend at one part. I liked that.

Thank you for the awesome job that you both put into this. :) I'll happily buy the next in the series, and the one after that, lol

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Norma Miles on 05-03-17

"... the carpet was avocado green..."

Any additional comments?

Many would be envious of Michael Bishop's life. With regular large sums of money paid tax free, direct into his bank account, he has no need to work. His luxury apartment and the utilities which service it are all prepaid. Even his car, clothes and shopping are bought for him: Anything he needs he only has to request it. And he is never ill. But Bishop has a secret: he is asset 108, and,: when the need arises, he can be called upon to protect the stability of the world against singularity changes.

We meet Michael just after he receives one such call and follow him as he is sent, with two other assets, to investigate some strange readings at a spot in the heart of the desert. Bishop suspects that this is an unusual mission, a feeling reinforced when he is lured into a trap whilst still travelling. Written in the first person, the story has an immediacy as Bishop and companions struggle to discover what is happening, and survive. It is slightly reminiscent of gamer (LitRPG) novels in that the protagonists move amongst different levels of reality, fighting with whatever weapons they carry in their arsenal, and facing strange monsters along the way. But the only prize that they are fighting for is the survival of humanity itself.

Narrator, Joel Richards, has fully immersed himself in the character of Michael Bishop. His voice is warm and well modulated, beautiful as befits the description of the man; the reading is pace perfect and the other characters are also individually recognisable in dialogue. His performance helps to transform this already enjoyable story into something special.

I was very fortunate in being gifted my copy of Rationality Zero. My thanks for that. I am now looking forward to hearing the second book in this series.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Robert DeFrank on 01-01-16

The adventure comes to audible!

What made the experience of listening to Rationality Zero the most enjoyable?

The narrator's talent and attention to the roles.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The unfolding plot as we are introduced to what this new universe has in store.

Which scene was your favorite?

The introductions of the cast of characters and their seamless teamwork in the face of eldritch horror.

Any additional comments?

Having read this first installment of the Assets and their covert adventures safeguarding this reality from the forces of chaos from beyond the bounds of dimensioned space, I went into the audio realm with one overriding question: does this narrator sound like Michael Bishop?

To that I give an unqualified ‘yes.’

Joel Richards’ performance captures the character’s voice as he relates the first-person adventure investigating an alien conspiracy.

Richards conveys Bishop’s businesslike and oft times humorous descriptions of and commentary on the bizzaare situations, while still expressing the horror of the otherworldly monstrosities they face. Whether suddenly finding himself thrust into realms inimical to humanity or facing off against aberrations, Bishop relates it all in his own way, never confusing grim gallows humor with annoying flippancy.

The next criteria I paid attention to was the quality of the other voices in dialogue. The book has a varied cast of characters, from gritty American Southern to Russian, and Richards projected the accents well.

Listeners will also appreciate Richards’ work dealing with the involved tech-speak and uniquely alien phraseology favored by the denizens of Irrationality. I look forward to again listening to this journey into a universe beneath and around our own.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jesse Bollinger on 08-01-16

Fun Cyberpunk and Lovecraftian story.

What did you love best about Rationality Zero?

This story brings together two of my favorite genres of fiction: Lovecraftian monsters and Cyberpunk.

What did you like best about this story?

I really enjoyed the characters. Seeing the story through Michael's eyes really pulled me in making me feel a part of the story. The secondary characters were also very likable and easy to feel for. I also loved all the technology and world building. It was nice to see the universe the story is set in revealed to us piece by piece instead of in a large info dump like some stories. I'm really interested to see more adventures in Michael's world. Lastly, the action scenes were fast-paced and very gripping.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narrator did an ok job I felt. At times, it seemed like the action scenes were moving in slow motion. I didn't feel there was enough excitement in certain parts. overall though, it was a pleasant listen and didn't make me want to turn it off.

Any additional comments?

This is a great start to what I hope will be an acceptional series. I can't wait for more.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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