Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Singularity TrapThe Singularity Trap by Dennis E. Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where the Bobbiverse novels relied on an equal mix of pop-culture nerdiness and solid SF idea exploration in the realm of a self-replicating AI who is still effectively "human", The Singularity Trap jumps on some of the same solid SF ideas and plotting but does it without most of the humor.

I can only assume this might piss off a few fans of the other books, but not me. It just proves that Taylor has the grit to back up his SF idea exploration with nothing more than good characterizations, big tech, and even better Fermi/Game Theory musings.

The novel begins with a mining ship finding something strange which can be surmised from the cover, but more than that, this is a novel of equations. Not math we have to do ourselves, of course, but equations such as survival equations, cost/benefit equations, moral equations, or even engagement equations. What happens when a crewmate is being transformed, full body-horror included, and we have to balance it against nearly unlimited wealth? How about the risk of contagion versus unlimited tech? At what point does a person stop being a person?

When does a troublesome species like humanity become too much trouble to bother with?

I won't spoil the hell out of this novel, but one thing is certain: it does a great job at laying out all the questions and deriving a ton of conflict out of them all. The mirroring is also quite good. At what point does a transformed species still remain its parent species? At what point does an AI stop being the consciousness of the alien and be the same kind of AI that it thinks its fighting? Between nanites and AI's on the BIG playing field, I can't tell the difference except in how they play their Game Theory.

So let's hear it for the Prisoner's Dilemma! :)

This might be a standalone novel or a series. It's primed for a series. And I hope so. I'm enjoying this as much as the Bobbiverse. :)

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