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When Harlie Was One Mass Market Paperback – February 12, 1975


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 12, 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345243900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345243904
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,165,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
4%
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See all 26 customer reviews
I first read this in 1980, kept it, and went back to it in present time.
Ken Deshaies
There are so many explorations in this novel, all of which are absolutely riveting.
dan@cs.sunyit.edu
This is one of the great books of Science Fiction that everyone should read.
Brian H.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Roy on February 2, 2000
Format: Unknown Binding
A superb and thoughful book - the "Version 2", which is hard to find is very much better than the "original" which feels a little dated these days.
BTW The name HARLIE is an acronym which changes in the two versions of the book. In version 1 the acronym is for Human Analog Robot Life Input Equivalents. The last reviewer is dead wrong and actually gives away one of the key plot points and "jokes" of the book, so SPOILERS BELOW! You have been warned!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By mathew VINE VOICE on March 5, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the only book that's ever kept me awake all night, unable to stop reading until I got to the end. I think it was around 3am when I finally finished it. I don't usually re-read novels, but this was one of the rare exceptions, and I think it's due for a third reading some time soon.
If you're at all interested in AI, the mystery of consciousness, and related ethical issues, then you have to read this book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Peter B. Olson on June 18, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I looked for a long time for "When Harlie Was Two" (a title promised in the book "When Harlie Was One"). Never found it.

There was a good reason! That book was never written.

I finally found it at Worldcon 63 (Noreascon 4) in the huckster's room where I ran across the author himself at a booth selling "When Harlie Was One (Release 2.0)".

It may be out of print, but it is not unavailable. Try his home page.

[...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alex Carter on February 27, 2000
Format: Unknown Binding
I LOVE books about intelligent machines, and this is one of the best! I hope to live to see the first intelligent machines like HARLIE, and if you are into this subject too, this book is a MUST-HAVE
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dan@cs.sunyit.edu on July 6, 1999
Format: Unknown Binding
I picked up release 2.0 when I was about 10 years old, and proceeded to wear the book out through tens if not hundreds of readings. There are so many explorations in this novel, all of which are absolutely riveting. "What if?" What if we created a computer which acted alive, and WE COULDN'T PROVE IT WASN'T? What if that computer progressed through many stages of development, paralleling human development? What if 'higher ups' were going to destroy that silicon being, which believes it is alive? An extraordinary novel, I heartily recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 1998
Format: Unknown Binding
When Harlie was One was an enjoyable book, with quite a bit of thought given to "its" character development. Unfortunately, I've looked for "When Harlie Was Two" or "The God Machine" - both titles that were listed as a sequal and have not found either. Were either actually published?
David Gerrold is quite prolific and has done some great TV scripts and a number of series books (Star Wolfe) and (Chtorr). I would also like to see more in these series.
Mr. Gerrold, if you're listening. Please consider the many fans of these series and WRITE MORE PLEASE!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 8, 1998
Format: Unknown Binding
A computer (Harlie) comes to self-awareness, and his inadvertent creator must juggle helping Harlie grow up along with managing his own burgeoning love life. Meanwhile, the company they're working for is having financial problems. Gerrold delineates Harlie's growing awareness with careful skill and sly humor; his treatment of the moral problems arising from Harlie's teleological abilities outstripping his ethical capabilities is enlightening. This book is a true classic of the "self-aware computer" genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ken Deshaies on December 30, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ingenious. Gerrold not only creates a computer designed to be human, but he also creates a technology to make it so. Given that he first wrote this in 1972, it was obviously years ahead of his time. But it's not just about technology. It's about learning, about emotion, about a kid with an adult brain (HARLIE) who just finds a need to determine who he is and what his purpose is. Of course, he selects the most unlikely route to discovery - by deciding to create God. If he can, in fact, create God, he will prove that God exists.

This is also a survival ploy that he develops to help prove his worth to the corporation that has financed his development so far and is threatening to pull his plug.

Gerrold has an amazing way with words. His arguments and discussions between Harlie and his "master" will leave you spellbound. Taking our use of language, mixed as always with feelings and bias, and seeing how that language is interpreted by a machine designed to see only in logical terms, he sets out various conundrums, all of which lead to a prodigious and unexpected ending. It was difficult to put this book down once started.

If you can still find a copy, I encourage you to get it and provide some absorbing entertainment for your mind. Note that Gerrold published an update in 1988, which I haven't seen. I first read this in 1980, kept it, and went back to it in present time. And glad I did.
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