Monday, December 1, 2014

Review::The Genesis Code:Lambda by Robert E. Parkin

The Genesis Code: LambdaThe Genesis Code: Lambda by Robert E. Parkin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Genesis Code: Lambda by Robert E. Parkin

This is an interesting book and goes on my list of books to love to hate. I think that the plot, the characters, and the whole premise of the book are okay and for the most part done well. What I had a problem with is the first one third of the novel. I am giving this high marks for being entertaining and another of those reads that got me from front to back on one sitting, but I had to slog past the first part; which was a shame considering that that part could have been just as well written as the rest.

The story begins with Zack getting up to start a normal day and meeting up with a friend,David, where they begin a bit of world building and it all goes well for a while. Until some distractions in the writing show up.

One of the first things that distracted me was that on occasion there would be some rather interesting images created by somewhat creative usages or combinations of words, but then there were the jarring ones that had the word 'to' where I would normally see 'at' or 'with' where I would see 'by' and other similar substitutions of words. On several occasions there were modifiers in the speach attributes that seemed unnecessary, but that might just be me and a person needs to read this to get the sense of it. There are a few words like 'no' where it should be 'now' and other words that seem to be totally missing in sentences. But what really drew my attention was the frequent use of the word 'just'. There is even one paragraph with four sentences that have 'just' four times; once in each sentence. And in most cases the adjective or adverb wasn't necessary if a more striking word were found for the one modified. Once again most of these are things that a reader must encounter to determine how they might affect the reading. Overall I think this could use one more edit.

Once I got past that one third mark the overall writing improved and the story became much more interesting so I took less note of all the just's.

An interesting style choice in this novel is to withold information as the story moves forward and then feed tiny hints here and there. This works for the most part, but becomes massively annoying when it appears that most of the major characters have a backstory that is dripped out this same way. There are few if any who don't have some hidden past which eventually adds to the confusion of mysteries that run rampant through the whole novel.

There are at least two instances I had to look back, because I was confused about some image or memory brought in at an earlier moment. The reader really needs to pay close attention to details, especially when they seem to be memories or hints at some dark secret.

There is also the initial separation of reality from the virtual and certain indicators that sometimes intrude into both and the reader has to pay close attention to know when something is reserved for reality and something for the virtual and those things that seem to exist in both.

The novel as a whole is like a blend of William Gibson and some super hero comics. In some instances the players have access to a slight inventory of weaponry similar to game avatars and many of these seem to cross the boundaries of reality and the virtual.

At some point the reader is introduced to the group of 12 whose names are such that the story begins to take on a bit of an alegorical bent, which doesn't quite get developed beyond a short peek into it.

It might be safe to say that this novel is about the growth and development of the Lambda character. It brings a lot of thought provoking notions into the development of an AI and when it becomes aware or sentient and sapient and has an interesting way of demonstrating the process to the reader over time.

This is good SFF for those looking for a good fun read that offers a bit more in some insight and deeper thought along the way.

Don't look for all the answers to all the questions because there are 'just' a few things that seem to be meant to extend into the next book. And I hope Robert E. Parkin is working on that novel.

J.L. Dobias

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