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Frankensteel (Just Hunter Book 1) Kindle Edition
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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. These radicals are capable of serious violence, but the robot uses his intelligent understanding of human beings to survive.
Frankensteel is a novella length story which I read in a few hours. Its chief problem is that the characters are not sufficiently developed for me to care what happened to Frankensteel or any of his friends. It might be stronger if it was compressed to a short story length and then told through the eyes of just one of the characters, Frankensteel himself perhaps, so that readers both identified with his nascent humanity and were also drawn into the discussion about machine and human consciousness.
But I salute Robin Craig for imaginatively raising the issues: I enjoyed meeting Frankensteel.
[Review published in TableAUS, the magazine of Australian Mensa September/October issue.]
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.
This story explores the concept of artificial intelligence as it relates to humanity and our individual identities. (Readers interested in this concept should check out "Turing Evolved.") I do appreciate how the author uses a updated rendition of Frankenstein's monster to explore the theme of AI.
Decent Sci-Fi, although it lacked excitement for this reader I suspect others might find something to like here.
We are drawn into the characters' lives and minds as they struggle with their own inner conflicts.
This has been written by a very clever and articulate mind, and it is to be hoped this author has more up his sleeve.
I absolutely loved it!
Most recent customer reviews
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