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Extinction: A Thriller Kindle Edition
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|Length: 382 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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More About the Author
Mark also writes science thrillers for young adults. His first YA novel, "The Six," is about six dying teenagers who give up their failing bodies to become U.S. Army robots. The sequel, "The Siege," will be published in July 2016.
A lifelong science geek, Mark attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City and then majored in astrophysics at Princeton University. Working with his advisor, the Princeton theorist J. Richard Gott III, Mark wrote his undergraduate thesis on the application of the theory of relativity to Flatland, a model universe with only two spatial dimensions (length and width, but no depth). The resulting paper, "General Relativity in a (2 + 1)-Dimensional Spacetime," was published in the Journal of General Relativity and Gravitation in 1984 and has been cited in more than 100 physics papers since then. (Scientists who are searching for the Theory of Everything are particularly interested in Flatland because the mathematics gets simpler when one spatial dimension is removed from the equations.)
While at Princeton, Mark also studied creative writing with poets Michael Ryan and James Richardson. After graduation he made the fateful (and perhaps foolhardy) decision to pursue poetry rather than physics. So he entered the M.F.A. writing program at Columbia University, where he took courses taught by Stanley Kunitz, Octavio Paz, Derek Walcott, Susan Sontag and Elizabeth Hardwick. Two years later, when he realized that poetry would never pay the bills, Mark became a journalist. He started as a reporter for the Claremont (N.H.) Eagle Times, writing stories about school-board meetings and photographing traffic accidents with his beloved Nikon FG. Then he moved on to the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he learned the history of the civil-rights movement by covering George Wallace's last year as governor.
In 1987 he returned to New York as a reporter for Fortune Magazine and over the next five years he wrote about the computer industry and emerging technologies. During the 1990s Mark worked freelance, contributing articles to Popular Mechanics and writing copy for the talking heads on CNN's Moneyline show. Throughout this period he was also writing novels and short stories, but the only piece of fiction he sold was a short story called "My Life with Joanne Christiansen," which was published in Playboy in 1991.
In 1998 Mark joined the board of editors at Scientific American. With his love for science reawakened, he soon came up with another idea for a novel. While working on a special issue about Albert Einstein, he was intrigued by the story of Einstein's long search for a unified field theory that would explain all the forces of Nature. Mark started writing a thriller about high-energy physics, incorporating many of the real ideas and technologies described in the pages of Scientific American: driverless cars, surveillance robots, virtual-reality combat and so on. The result was "Final Theory," which was published by the Touchstone imprint of Simon & Schuster in 2008. Foreign rights to the novel were sold in 23 countries, and the film rights were optioned by Radar Pictures. Touchstone also published the sequel, "The Omega Theory" (2011), which was about religious fanatics who try to trigger Doomsday by altering the quantum algorithm of the universe.
Mark switched from physics to neuroscience in 2013 when his third novel "Extinction" was published by the Thomas Dunne Books imprint of St. Martin's Press. In this thriller, the technology of brain-computer interfaces leads to the emergence of a new species of deadly man-machine hybrids who share a super-intelligent collective consciousness. Foreign translations of "Extinction" were published in Greece and Taiwan. In 2014 Thomas Dunne published Mark's fourth thriller, "The Furies," which told the story of an ancient clan who share a genetic mutation so shocking that they were persecuted as witches for centuries and forced to flee to the wilderness of America four hundred years ago. And in July 2015 Sourcebooks Fire published Mark's first Young Adult novel, "The Six," a thriller about teens trying to retain their humanity while trapped inside weaponized robots.
Mark lives in Manhattan with his wife and two non-robotic teenagers. He's a proud member of Scientific American's softball team, the Big Bangers. More information about his books is available at his website: www.markalpert.com
Top Customer Reviews
Extinction has a great premise and it should have worked beautifully; unfortunately it is ruined, for me, by this juvenile series of situations where the story protagonists CONSTANTLY cheat death at the last vital second; I mean, ALL the time, it just gets silly. It has very believably written technology, but is so let down by the YA tone and lack of believability (not the technology, the storyline), I couldn't finish it - I finally stopped when Pierce and Chan escape a major tidal wave that destroys cities by, wait for it, driving ahead of it in a 3-wheeled car UP a 50 metre flight of steps to get above the water line... Oh dear god, and it's FULL of crap like this. And of course, there's the compulsory, unnecessary, love interest. Give me a break.
Jim Pierce builds prosthetic devices. His estranged daughter Layla is a computer hacker. China's Ministry of State Security is displeased that Layla hacked the Chinese government's network with the help of a former Chinese agent named Dragon Fire. Dragon Fire (whose ability to travel unimpeded to the US on short notice goes unexplained) shows up in New York long enough to give Layla a flash drive with information about the evil Dr. Zhang, who has networked the brains of twenty-nine lobotomized dissidents. The network, hidden in a remote compound, is named Supreme Harmony. It is designed to analyze surveillance videos in real time. In a surprise to Dr. Zhang but not to readers of trashy thrillers, Supreme Harmony has an "I am alive" moment and develops a collective consciousness of its own, not unlike the Borg. And like all Computers Gone Bad, it decides it needs to destroy humanity to preserve itself.
Pierce lost his wife, son, and arm during an attack by "al Qaeda martyrs" in Nairobi, one of many overused plot devices upon which Mark Alpert relies. Now Pierce has a bunch of prosthetic arms. He can detach one and snap on a replacement in seconds. One incorporates a machine gun. Yes, a machine gun arm. That, at least, is good for a laugh, as is a ...Read more ›
Reading this speculative narrative is similar to sitting still in traffic and watching in your rear-view mirror as a car approaches too quickly to avoid a collision with your back bumper: you have a vague idea of what's coming, and you know it's going to hurt (at the very least), but there is not a whole lot you can do about it. As we rely increasingly upon machines and technology for everything from checking our spelling to making simple mathematical calculations to filling in the blanks of the blanks, the line of demarcation that determines at what point artificial intelligence and its myriad manifestations remain our tools and at what point it becomes our slaves approaches and then blurs. To put it another way, does the cage keep you out, or does it keep you in?
EXTINCTION raises similar questions in the guise of a thriller cum speculative fiction novel that will push you to the edge of your seat and shove your heart into your throat. Jim Pierce, the human heart of the book, is an ex-Army Ranger who left a piece of himself on the battlefield in the ongoing war on terror. Having re-invented himself as a forward-thinking engineer, Pierce, inspired to replace his own arm, has developed a state-of-the-art prosthesis that will help others similarly affected. His life, however, is clouded by his estrangement from Layla, his adult daughter, who has used the innovative brainpower that she inherited from her father to become an outlaw hacker. So it is that Pierce is somewhat stunned when he receives a surprise visit from an individual who is purportedly from the U.S. government and is seeking information about Layla.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are a lot of good scientific ideas in this book, hence the 3 stars. Unfortunately the plot has gaps. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alex
A good parallel to the real political situation in China, especially Hong Kong that we love.
You don't fight, you will be absorbed!
I don't think Mark Alpert intended to write a horror story, but he did. What makes it scary is this technology, while in its infancy, is with us already to some extent. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jeff McCauley
This recent book does not bode well for upcoming fiction. Remember the ancient Greek cynic Diogenes, who could not find an honest man in Athens? Read morePublished 19 months ago by Solipso
I like SF but it has to either make sense or be plausible some day. I found in a few places it lacked common sense, but for the most part it was entertaining.Published 23 months ago by vintageward
Someone in a chat room recommended this book. Better have some spare time when you start reading this one, you won't be able to put it down. Read morePublished on December 6, 2013 by MoBack
This review is for the Audible.com audiobook. It was my first purchase and after the first few chapters, I was already regretting it. "What have I ordered?", I wondered. Read morePublished on December 4, 2013 by Yvette Zarate
This novel hooked me with the cover and title--it just screams action-thriller. And I wasn't disappointed. Read morePublished on November 5, 2013 by dedlund
We have recommended this book to several friends, many of whom have made the purchase and have given it high marks.Published on August 20, 2013 by Byron West
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