Factoring Humanity by Robert J. Sawyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Factoring Humanity hits some rather huge emotional triggers. From the start, I'm totally prepared to hate one of the main characters and the starting gun already has everyone on pins and needles. Estranged couple, suicided daughter, and the other daughter is accusing her father of molestation.
This is one hell of a hardcore start for a novel ostensibly revolving around alien contact, with a very Contact feel and development, artificial intelligence research and development, and quantum computing.
And yet, it's only an accusation under suspicious circumstances and the AI hasn't seemed to progress that far into self-awareness and we, as humanity, have refused to respond to the Alpha Centaurians.
This makes for a strangely placid novel with deep undertones of conflict and/or disturbing reveals to come. I'm pretty amazed how much I got into it. It's not flashy or fast paced. It's focused on ideas and tragedy and moving on through all the permutations of each.
Are there good reveals? Yep. Are there cool reveals? Yes, indeed. I REALLY like the way the Contact-like scenario plays out. The scientific concepts, the math, the implications, and especially the psychology underpinning it all makes this an impressive SF.
It's workmanlike in it's writing, but the ideas are completely top notch. :)
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