Saturday, June 8, 2013
Review::Turing Evolved by David Kitson
I came into this one with a totally wrong idea of what I would get.
That wasn't bad, but it did result in it being on my kindle for a long time before I read it. The book description is rather short and not real informative. I expected the typical future war story with a possible AI human romance.
The romance is there but the story reminded me more of what I would expect of Philip K. Dick if he were alive and writing today. There's that bit of surreal sense as Jon Carlson- an ex-Demon Pilot is working with a place called Mind-space Samaritans- a group that helps pull lifers out of the virtual worlds they've been hiding in.
Jon's old job as a Demon Driver didn't pan out so well and though he was exonerated for what he had done he was booted out of service. He goes to work for MS as a means of reintegrating into normal life but we soon find that Jon is not meant to have normal life. His neural interface makes him an asset for this type of work.
First his initial assignment is someone who's been in for over twenty years and has a virtual family with child and wife and doesn't want to come out. But the bills aren't being paid and the plug has to be pulled. This gives the reader a first hand look at the MIND-space and how it can seem so real for the people who use the right equipment in their virtual world.
In the real world; while out with his new coworker Jeremy - Jeremy sights an ANGEL in the sky- an AI that's a good Samaritan of sorts who can assist people and not harm anyone. The description of these robotic AI's reminded me of Jack Williamson's Humanoids. It also gave me a creepy feeling based on the the technology involved that they could very well be quite similar to those Humanoids in many ways. Jeremy wants to see if he can find the place where the ANGEL has landed. Jon has misgivings but goes along with the notion until he hears what he recognizes as the sound of dangerous munitions.
When confronted with a mercenary Demon pilot Jon's training kicks in to attempt to save himself and his friend. That's when Rachel, the ANGEL shows up and he thinks that she's saved them. Unfortunately things don't go well for Rachel because she is not allowed to be armed and Jon ends up having to save her.
The media from this puts Jon and Jeremy in the limelight, which will prove dangerous for them. And, having taken the time to save a machine Jon has to face his own feelings about what these AI's are and he has to relive the reason he had to quit being a Demon pilot.
I loved the way that the romance in this is slow to boiled and has take a lot of time and work to begin moving. I like the questioning of the notion of what an AI is as opposed to human and how Jon really felt about it as a very important elements of this novel.
Much of this book though Dick-esque has a lot of William Gibson in it too with the notion of jacking into some form of cyberspace to operated dangerous weapons and the mystery of AI's that may have more mobility in this virtual landscape than advertised..
There were many times that the plot became predictable but it was all done in a logical and well paced way that kept me engrossed in the book until I was forced to put it down to get some sleep. One thing I enjoyed was that it did not have that certain something that always made me struggle getting through Philip K. Dicks works which were always a lot of work to read. And it was not heavily jargoned like some of those other Cyberspace novels such as William Gibson's works.
This is a fairly easy read and the science is quite well thought out and consistent within the context of the story. There were a few twisty elements of the story and even the outcome was not quite as predictable as I expected.
This is a good book for all Sci-Fi and Fantasy and SF Military and Psychological Cyberspace Thriller lovers. If you read fast enough you'll finish it in one day. It took me two but It's an enjoyable read despite the numerous grammar irregularities and errors created by incorrect words or misspelled or duplicated words. And I only mention that as a warning to those who are put off by such things. I'm glad that they don't bother me because this is a darn good read that I found hard to walk away from I want more of this story.