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Frankensteel (Just Hunter Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Robin Craig
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $1.99
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Book Description

Hard science fiction with strong characters and a philosophical bent: if you like gripping, engaging fiction that also makes you think, you will love this book. It is the near future, and in the conflict between advancing high technology and its opponents, the world’s first intelligent robot violently escapes its creators and the men sent to shut it down. This novella follows the intertwining lives of the people trying to find, save or destroy the robot, and explores the philosophical implications of artificial intelligence and what it means to be human.

The full-length prequel to Frankensteel, "The Geneh War" is also now available.

Product Details

  • File Size: 597 KB
  • Print Length: 57 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007DR3VKE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,855 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story; needs work. March 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Some warnings first: The writing mechanics won't let you forget you are reading an aspiring author. The frequent comma splices drove me to distraction, and, while there are promising bits of prose, they're dominated by ungainly sentences. You will not be shown much or allowed to infer or wonder about much; you will simply be told and even moralized at, the style reading like an unpracticed hybrid of James P. Hogan and Ayn Rand. A writer doesn't use the novella format for richly developing characters, so don't expect that.

With that out of the way, the story's premise and plot engaged me well enough to see it through. The pacing, though a little uneven, is reasonable for the length. You'll find interesting ideas sprinkled throughout, and Craig demonstrates moments of artistry in observation. The science is good. The book's theme is a familiar one that we are going to see a lot more of in the next few decades as the fiction becomes science. The twist at the end is interesting but at the same time puzzling for what it leaves unanswered after so much blunt prose.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO good I read it twice January 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Some readers can't get their minds around using improper punctuation to make a point in a story. Yeah, that happens in this one, but it doesn't detract from anything. This is a poignant tale of a modern-day Frankenstein, brought to life the same way that thousands of CPUs are brought on line every day...only this one is slightly different. It's a book about prejudice, about irrational fear, and about ethics. The writing is superb, and I would guess that what some readers have objected to as editing errors are, in fact, exactly as the author wanted them to appear. I read this about a year ago, and I came across it again when organizing my kindle. I remembered it enough to read it again. It's short, so no great investment in reading time, but it certainly gives you something to think about long after you are finished with the book. This is a wonderful book, and I strongly recommend it. The people who dished it might have been reading a little above their pay grade. Give it a try, and see what you think.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Human consciousness: complete and inconsistent? September 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Frankensteel tells the story of an anthropoid robot equipped with an organic brain whose intelligence grows from a few simple learning algorithms. The robot at first appears unable to speak, however, but just the fact of its invention throws the authorities into panic mode. They order its maker Stephen Beldan to destroy it. Frankensteel has quite a presence in a room, and its first spoken words are effectively a declaration to its maker that it would be inhuman to destroy it. Though the scientist locks the robot away, it inevitably escapes and seeks out the company of Professor David Samuels whose expertise in human consciousness may help it understand whether it is human or not.

Special Investigator Miriam Hunter is ordered to hunt "Steel" down and finds herself drawn into the moral dilemma at the heart of this story: whether this human creation with its intelligence should be destroyed or not.

The story has been told before. Any writer since Mary Shelley's 1818 classic attempting a re-write of the Frankenstein myth must have a stand-out factor to distinguish it from its predecessors. Its factory setting and its police hunter skilled in dark arts of pursuit and assassination give Frankensteel a modern "industrial" and almost noir feel. The character of the professor, in particular, gives Robin Craig the narrative licence to develop arguments for and against artificial intelligence and its relationship to human consciousness. Frankensteel brings the old myth up to date by taking into account recent developments, both in neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

Set against these protagonists are the shadowy Imagist cult, believing that only human beings are made in the Image of God, and therefore set against machine consciousness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good n quick March 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As others said, the first few chapters took some getting through but then I was hooked and could not put it down. I really enjoyed the pace and the characters. I would have liked to see the characters and story developed into a longer novel, however it was a fun quick read all the same.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Delicious March 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Despite the forced style of its opening chapter this little novel hit way above my expected enjoyment.
The story has warmth, humor, tension and well-sculpted characters, whom we are left wanting to know better at the end.
It doesn't feel like science fiction although the science is certainly in assured and masterful hands here; what is most surprising is the beautifully flowing prose which makes this novella, for me at least, equally a work of literary fiction.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for heroes? March 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When a new scientific discovery comes into the world, the usual reaction is fear. We have seen this played out through history and we can watch it happening on our news broadcasts every day. History books describe the mass reaction and the actions of the power mongers who seek to turn the new knowledge to their own advantage.

This author uses three archetypes, the philosopher, the scientist and the soldier to reveal the deeper story and to describe the type of people who drive and protect our civilization. His characterization is excellent. These are fully rounded people who demonstrate that reason and emotion are not antagonists. One is left realizing that such people do exist, and longing to meet them.

This is achieved in a short book that can be read in one sitting. I could not have read it any other way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended. - Nigel
A suspenseful plot with admirable characters and an elegant treatment of the intersection of artificial intelligence and individual rights. Highly recommended. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Herophile
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars; Decent Concept
I found this story to be a little dry for my tastes. It felt like it lacked spark. Nevertheless, I did read the whole thing through to the end. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dr.Gonzo
2.0 out of 5 stars Good sleep aid
If you're having a hard time sleeping, try this plodding story.

I was not impressed. I did feel sorry for the robot because of the narrow-mindedness of people but felt... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sherry Holthe
3.0 out of 5 stars Frankensteel
This is a story that you have to work at to read and appreciate it.
It is the indirect route to a science fiction - robot story, which goal is not the "story" but rather to... Read more
Published 16 months ago by amazon reviewer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story line
I didn't realize the book would be so short. The wording was a tad hard to follow sometimes. Good story line though
Published on January 11, 2013 by amalie
4.0 out of 5 stars Writing ok, story great!
A very interesting twist of the classic Frankenstein dilemma. Well formatted for the Kindle Fire. A very enjoyable and thoughtful read.
Published on January 9, 2013 by soldner
4.0 out of 5 stars Thinker ahead
Robin Craig's novella hit a sweet note for me. Just the right amount of text for a single sitting read and the story opened up some thinking for me to do. Read more
Published on June 7, 2012 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Read past the prologue and don't let it put you off as the meat of the story is thoughtfully and well written. Read more
Published on April 19, 2012 by Jennie Price
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More About the Author

Dr Robin Craig has a PhD in molecular biology and a keen interest in science and philosophy. He believes that art in all its forms should have something to say or it isn't worth doing, but that the pleasure of reading is as important as the theme.

In our world of rapid progress, he feels that science fiction set in the near future is a perfect vehicle to explore intriguing themes relevant now and in his readers' lifetimes. He approaches ethical and philosophical questions from an original viewpoint, using thought-provoking plots spiced with hidden delights and interesting, sympathetic characters.

Dr Craig wrote a number of short stories before becoming interested in the more flexible possibilities of longer fiction. His first novella, Frankensteel, explored the world of artificial intelligence and the rights of a thinking machine. That book introduced detective Miriam Hunter, then at the prime of her career. His first full length novel, The Geneh War, goes back in time to the start of her career, and his upcoming novel Time Enough for Killing follows shortly after the events in Frankensteel.

He also writes non-fiction. In addition to 14 scientific papers and a long-running philosophical series in TableAus (the journal of Mensa Australia), he was a contributor to The Australian Book of Atheism with his chapter on "Good Without God", on the importance and validity of secular ethics.

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