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The Siren Project Paperback – December 15, 2012
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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“Call him again. Tell him this thing is more advanced than any of us suspected. If he doesn’t give us everything he can, it'll be too late.”
“This thing is the future,” Mitch said.
“Nuclear weapons can destroy countries, but this invisible monster can control mankind without anyone ever knowing it. It’s not only the end of our way of life, it’s the end of all free will.”
Slowly, Christa realized Mitch was right.
“I'll call him.”
This is the theme of this fast paced, mystery/science fiction/philosophical, thriller. Plot revolves around . . .
How important is free will?
Should political authority have final decision about everything and everyone?
When should politicians be obeyed and when resisted?
How does the political/military/industrial/academic elite manipulate/control the population?
Who can/should be trusted?
Science/logic the only truth or are religion/ethics essential?
“Imagine,” Mouse said, “If every baby born gets some early programming. We could all be voting for the same political party, buying the same car, choosing brand X over brand Y, and never realize it wasn’t our own preference. Or we could mass produce super soldiers with no moral dilemma about killing and no fear of death, and yet, with absolute, total obedience.”
“Or eliminate crime, drug abuse, and mental illness,” Gunter countered.
“End suffering. With that kind of understanding, we could unlock the true potential of the human brain, double the intelligence of humanity in a single generation. It could be an evolutionary step for the entire human race, the first evolutionary step designed by humanity, for humanity.’’
This debate, control that unites all under a clear, logical, rational, scientific program, could produce a lot of benefits. Think roads, education, space program, nuclear power. However, what is the cost? Think Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, etc.,etc..
“I understand,” Gunter said. “If they program a person to obey a specific instruction, that person would be free to do what they want, after the order is carried out. But if they program blind loyalty to an authority, the person will follow that authority's orders forever, no matter what they are.”
Keen insight. Obedience to a specific rule, even many rules, does not remove free will. Programming, requiring blind obedience - does.
This conversation highlights deep problems that thinkers have considered for centuries . . .
“Ask him how he knows he exists,” Gunter said cautiously. Mitch gave Gunter an exasperated look.
“Not you too! You’re supposed to be the sane one.”
Gunter’s expression was unmoved so Mitch shrugged and typed in the request.
I EXIST BECAUSE I KNOW I EXIST. I KNOW I AM. HOW DO I KNOW YOU EXIST?
“Great,” Mitch said, “A cyborg super computer with attitude!”
“That is a good answer,” Gunter said evenly.
“Only a self aware individual can be certain of their own existence, but they cannot be certain of anyone else’s, because they are not them!”
“If this thing was alive, why would he go along with this mind control crap?” Mitch demanded.
“Because . . .” Gunter replied thoughtfully, “He may not yet know the difference between good and evil.”
“Are you telling me this thing, which can multiply infinity by infinity, doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong?”
“It’s not in its programming!” Mouse declared.
“Ask him if he’s ever read the Bible.”
“What!” Mitch exploded. “Give me the damn explosives, and I’ll waste this thing myself.”
“It is a fair question,” Gunter said.
“Or the bill of rights,” Mouse added.
“Or the international convention on human rights, or the . . .?”
“You’re serious? It’s a machine whose sole purpose is mind control.”
“Then it won’t matter if we ask it?” Mouse persisted. He stumbled out of his chair and pushed Mitch aside, taking his place at the keyboard.
“Have you ever read the Bible?’’
NEGATIVE. WHAT IS THE BIBLE?
“A book about right and wrong.’’ Mouse replied.
“Do you know the difference between right and wrong?’’
I WAS DESIGNED FOR COMPUTATIONAL ACCURACY. CORRECT AND INCORRECT.
Mitch sighed. “Tell him about the monkey.”
Mouse looked up, confused.
“In the chimp room at the Institute. Remember, EB was confused about cruelty. Let’s see if he’s had a chance to think about it.”
“It’s name was Bobo,” Gunter said.
Mouse entered, “Do you understand why Bobo was treated cruelly?’’
DENIED FREE WILL. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND FREE WILL.
“How do I explain that?” Mouse asked.
“Tell him ... Tell it ... to put itself in Bobo’s place.” Mitch said.
“What does he think of being controlled the way that monkey was.” Mouse typed in the question.
EB did not reply immediately, as he attempted to compute the most difficult proposition he'd ever encountered: Empathy.
Logical, rational, scientific thinking has no morality. It does not and never will.
I have chosen these passages since I enjoy writing that provides the ideas that create the action and drama. To me, the story appears coherent, creates vivid, comprehensible characters.
Renneberg does the same for the villains. . .
“It’s kind of a club, a mutual benefit society. I’m just the King Maker’s secret policeman, a very well paid secret policeman.”
McNamara hesitated as a thought struck him.
“Funny isn’t it?”
“FDR was right all along, all we have to fear, is fear itself. When people are afraid, they forget about freedom. Not that it matters anymore, the masses are already enslaved, they just don’t know it. I call it wagery, wage slavery. People get paid to surrender their freedom. How much control do they really have over their own lives? None!”
Nevertheless, most of this novel is action, wisecracking and detective work.
Fun, interesting and enjoyable!
(See “The Holocaust and the Crisis of Human Behavior’’, by George M. Kren. Covers many of these ideas in a historical, scholarly manner. Great!)
In the story John Mitchell an Ex-Marine and former Secret Service Agent, Mouse Szlinsky a computer hacking genius and Gunter Wartenberg an expert in electronic surveillance and explosives are coerced into working for a covert U.S. Government Organization determined to find a missing scientist who was working on secret technology that could change the face of military defence in immeasurable and destructive ways. Working with Christa Malleson, a woman with remarkable mental abilities and a mysterious defector from the rogue organization that wants to control humanity's free will, Mitchell uncovers a sinister plot that has not only seeped into the highest levels of the military and government bureaucracy, but into U.S. security agencies.
The main characters in "The Siren Project" are all realistic and memorable. I loved the undaunting determination of the pragmatic John Mitchell, the humor and wit of Mouse, the dedication and subtle intellect of Gunter and Christa and especially EB the created intelligence who is a chief advocate in overcoming the evil of the organization.
The story is filled with exciting twists and turns, as Mitchell and his team struggle not only to bring the perpetrators of the insidious conspiracy to justice, but to escape the long arm of coldblooded assassins out to kill them. This novel is a page turner from beginning to end and I highly recommend it
Now, all that being said, I did NOT give this story 5 stars. I will explain why, but be warned the explanation requires spoilers.
=== SPOILERS ====
The reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because the author depended on a few things to move the story along that really interfered with my ability to suspend disbelief. First of all, as a plot device, hitting characters on the head to knock them out then having them wake up some time later and function normally is pretty horrible. Additionally, using a psychic was pretty lazy in many respects. So, essentially, what I'm saying is the story was good but it could have been better if a few things we removed or perhaps reconsidered.
This book has it all. And it would look fantastic on a big screen.