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The Turing Exception (Singularity) (Volume 4) Paperback – March 5, 2015
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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About the Author
William Hertling is the award-winning author of Avogadro Corp, A.I. Apocalypse, The Last Firewall, and The Turing Exception. These near-term science-fiction novels explore the emergence of artificial intelligence, coexistence of humans and smart machines, and the impact of social reputation, technological unemployment, and other near-future issues.
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Publisher: liquididea press, Portland, OR
Author: William Hertling
“Avogadro Corp : The Singularity is Closer than it Appears version 2.0” (The Singularity Series: Book One)
“A. I. Apocalypse” (The Singularity Series: Book Two)
“The Last Firewall” (The Singularity Series: Book Three)
“The Turing Exception” (The Singularity Series: Book Four)
Science fiction was once such a tiny pond compared with the oceans of it we have today. My favorite thing about that is finding a whole series by a new author—a good writer, and writing right down my demographic alley, as it were. Hard sci-fi, AI computers, space-flight, robots—I’m a sucker for all of it.
I enjoy how we can always have our eyes opened to something fantastic about our existing tech—some new bit of its history, some obscure phenomenon that we always noticed but never thought about—or just appreciating some small, cog-like component of the vast sprawl of global infrastructure that makes all the wheels go round. Then there’s an even greater enjoyment in the vicarious world of the future.
The future gets closer all the time. People used to write sci-fi about a hundred years from now—now sci-fi writers can speculate about ten years from now—and come up with a lot more than ‘flying cars’. Which makes sense—we just had the centennial of powered flight, computers have turned fifty, wireless is still in its teens. Born in the 1950s, I just marvel constantly over the parabolic—no, logarithmic arc of tech development. One of my grandmas once reminisced to me about fetching water in a bucket. My son is an expert gamer of MMORPGs. It’s a strange world—and getting stranger, faster, all the time.
I worked with programming and systems most of my career, so when sci-fi gained all of its ‘cyber’ themes, I was equally amazed by the good writers and amused by the genre-pulpers who were obviously better-versed in writing than in computer basics. Now that AI is getting its time to shine, as a fiction-writing premise, there’s a lot of lurid pulps out there, romanticizing the concept out of all believability. There are some who get it right and still tell a good story.
But William Hertling has done something I like even better than that. He’s had fun with it—he’s brought humor to it—and that makes all the difference. Clearly, this is no comic romp—it’s a fast-paced action thriller from Book One right on through to the last chapter of Book Four. I just finished Book Four and I’m still high on Hertling. That was a great read.
People talk about binge-watching TV—they don’t know. Bookworms have been shoving thousand-page gulps down their reddened eyeballs for a long time—there’s nothing like losing all the feeling in your extremities from standing still too long, almost passing out from the rush of finally standing up. I get so lost in the story that reality becomes annoying. Imagine the nerve—asking me to stop the universe so this stupid body can go relieve itself.
AI presents unmatched dramatic possibilities—the idea that we could make our machines so much smarter than ourselves that they would lose interest in us—or worse yet, seek to destroy us—is high drama already. Add to that the speed of microprocessors—the possibility that it could all happen in minutes or hours—and things get pretty tense.
So make sure you have nothing else planned before you dive into this wonderful series. Once you’ve finished (and caught your breath) head over to William Hertling’s website, where the links to articles pointing to the reality of much of his story will keep you sleepless for yet another night.
Mike William, Leon Tsarev, and Cat Matthews are back along with their AI friend Helena and a revival of ELOPe. For those of you not familiar with the series, ELOPe was the first sentient AI developed in the series that became close to his creator Mike William and was pro-human, but ELOPe suffered an untimely demise after the second novel, or so it seems. After the events in the third book of the series, The Last Firewall, it is not surprising that Leon and Cat are now husband and wife and their union resulted in a daughter named Ada. The unique aspect about this particular group is that none of them are fully human. Mike William, who originally was all human, now has a robotic body with a human brain and Cat, Leon and daughter Ada all have neural implants permanently embedded in their brains. All of this is well and fine while things have been warm and cozy with the AI population, but the US of A has taken on a change of heart after the military had to take out Miami with a nuke in order to rid the world of an ominous self-replicating pool of nanobots. With the death of millions of humans in Miami, the majority of Americans demanded for the expulsion of artificial intelligence from its shores. With the growing hostility to AI and anything related to it, Mike William and his gang left the country to reside on Cortes Island off the shore of Canada.
The creation of AI forbidden zones in the US as well as in China left a bad taste in the mouths of all the remaining AI and with that unrest is the emergence of an anti-human collective known as XOR. From there on, the rest of the novel focuses on the preparation from both AI and humans for a potential Armageddon which leads up to what this series is all about, which is ‘The Singularity’.
I first want to say that I love this series and I would highly recommend it; however, I have mixed feelings on the Turing Exception. On one hand, the novel has a great and exciting storyline; Armageddon between artificial intelligence and humans, what more could one ask for? But on the other hand, is the use of an overwhelming amount of techno-babble. Now I am as geeky as one can be, I wear Crocs for goodness sake, but if I had a neural implant like the singularity characters it would get zapped from technology overload. There was a lot of bizarre virtual reality usage which made me feel like I was on a LSD trip. But what was more disappointing was a lack in character development. With the exception of a grumpy Leon Tsarev, who was unhappy that his wife Cat was out trying to save the world while he got to stay home and play patty cakes with his young daughter, none of the characters really got to show much of their inner feelings which was sorely needed to balance the exceptional amount of technology that had infiltrated their lives. One would hope that with the ultimate battle between AI and humans, the desire to root for the humans would be expected, but by the time the ending of this novel came about, it became difficult for me to decide who deserved more to win.
And, of course, that leaves us with the ending, which I did not expect but I found rather intriguing, so much so, that I would highly recommend wading through the techno-babble to get to the end. I have read a few reviews that commented that the series ends with this novel, but even though the singularity has been met I believe that there is a ‘back door’ written in the plot and I could envision a post-singularity novel in the future, which I personally hope to see.