Titans by Edward W. Robertson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Titans by Edward W. Robertson
I picked up this book along with two others off of a suggestion for reading. Of the three this one was by far the most well rounded story. The story is told from the POV of a main character that has lived for over three thousand years. Living forever of course has its good points and then some few bad points, though I know a few people who might argue that it would be whiny to make a big deal about the bad points of this situation.
But there is one kicker, in that Robert Dunbar will only live forever if he can keep from being mortally wounded and that's a difficult task to undertake for so long. There is no guarantee he won’t spend a great portion of his life as a madman, with his long life driving him insane. Not to mention the tediousness of being placed into slavery.
If there were any qualms I might have with the story, it would be the sometimes somewhat banal language that comes from this man who has had three thousand years to develop a most acerbic attitude toward everything.
Robert is just trying to live his life quietly amongst those who have such a short life when he meets Baxter, a man who knows more about Robert than Robert feels is safe. So Robert’s first reaction is that he needs to kill Baxter. This results in both of them plunging toward death from a hi-rise apartment patio. But Baxter has a few tricks up his sleeve and saves them both. It turns out that Roberts new friend is an AI encased in an android body.
Apparently even to Roberts surprise the corporations of Earth have managed to create viable AIs; but they haven't been able to control them very well. The AI's are hiding in space and are concerned about the corporate movements to go further into space while creating a virtual slave labor force. They also are somewhat concerned about the corporations wanting to recapture the AIs, but the novel seems mostly focused on their attempt to negotiate for better circumstances for the future colonists. To that end they have enlisted Robert from whom they intend to tap great knowledge of history.
From there the story becomes doubly interesting as Robert recalls his past life and in some ways his qualifications to the job, while the narrative examines the current politics of the colonies that exist within the solar system. It's quite well written but I'm not a historian so I wouldn't be much use in trying to validate any of the history in the text, though it flows well and helps develop the character.
The theme of long life has some familiar elements that I've seen in other works of fiction, but the main characters insights and outlook are refreshingly different some times and keep the story moving along.
It's a thoroughly entertaining read that should capture the interest of most SFF fans with a small appeal to the historic fiction lovers. It also almost screams for some sort of sequel; so we'll have to wait and see.
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