Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review::Sunrise Alley by Catherine Asaro

I don't care what everyone else says-I enjoyed this book

Sunrise Alley by Catherine Asaro

I picked this book up in the kindle version- probably from the publisher-I don't see it here on Amazon. I'm familiar with Catherine Asaro and had not yet read any of her novels.

This novel reminded me of some of Heinlein's middle years - you know after the juvenile and after stranger in a strange and before the really wild stuff he wrote near the end. This is more on par with Friday. Except that the female character in Sunrise Alley has more depth.

Samantha Bryton is a rich intelligent woman who, after having suffered the loss of her father and her husband, has become a bit of a recluse. In the year 2033 where everyone is connected by what they refer to as the local mesh, Sam is trying to shed most of technology. This is a difficult thing for her since she's a leading figure in the development of EI Intelligence and EI Psychology. To say nothing of the basement lab she has in her seclude home.

We find Sam on a secluded beach near her home after a storm jogging and checking out storm damage while remaining as disconnected as she can from the mesh. She discovers first a shipwreck and then the man who calls himself Turner. It takes Sam a while and much conversation before she discovers that Turner is and EI - sentient machine that's been hybrid into a deceased human.

One quibble right away might be that this story early on takes the shape of a slightly contrived plot.

Here we have Turner an EI who, though he died and someone named Charon has altered his brain with an EI, claims he is still Turner Pascal the human.

Since Sam has been a staunch supporter of the notion that EI intelligent machines are sentient and should be accorded the same rights as people this seems all too convenient.

But the contrived nature of this story is also a plot point so it works as it is.

There are a number of twists and turns in the plot and plenty of thrills and danger to match many Hitchcock suspense films. There are some places where are hero's get into tight spots and squeak out of them rather conveniently - again a plot device and that becomes clear soon enough. What isn't clear is the why and that keeps the story going.

The evil character of Charon is shrouded in mystery and there are some twists and turns here but there are plenty of clues about this to make any final reveals work well.

It was an easy read for me-one sitting- and anyone who enjoys science fiction, suspense and even romance will find plenty to keep them involved.

J.L. Dobias

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