Sunday, July 05, 2015 6:47 PM
[A review published yesterday on Amazon.com]
“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)
Publisher: liquididea press, Portland, OR
Author: William Hertling
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.