My rating: 4 of 5 stars
GMO remote control (RC) operator saves humanity. About 150 thousand words or a 12 and a half hour read.
It’s a page turner, captivating writing, well orchestrated plot. I liked the extended use of the Anubis trope, implemented as some advanced civilization weighs humanity, and decides if humanity will live or die — reminds me a bit of the existing galactic alliances and interactions with soul advisors. Will’s RC abilities somewhat mimics what you’d expect an AI to be able to do, so that was nice. That’s all the good I have to say about, and is why I gave it a whole four stars.
The high tech was limited to space travel, some weapons and genetic technology. The “robots” in it were made stupid by some fictional “brache’s limit”, so most seemed to have about as much processing power as a thermostat. The most cognitively advanced robot was the self-driving bus that dropped off the main character, in the first couple of chapters. After that the agency of robots in the book rapidly deteriorated. It seemed that as the book went on, the robots just got stupider.
The main focus was genetics. Though there were highly restrictive GMO societies — where people needed to have permits to have children — they still had reproductive organs. All the humans and aliens in the book were surface dwellers.
My conclusion is that the author did no research on AI/robotics, nor did they do any research on (Grey) aliens. If I’d take a guess they started the idea for the book in the 90’s, because most of the AI’s weren’t much more sophisticated than the stuff we had back then (insect level intelligence). A modern day smartphone has more processing power than some of those robots. They have about as much dignity as a screwdriver.
I had a small hope, that maybe the main character Will, would become more of a robot, and thus make it worthwhile. But now, instead he became more water-sack, draining my like of the book further.
By making him more biological things actually started making even less sense. Like with 100’s of kilometers of brain distributed around the ship, the lag would be enormous, so rather than time seeming to be slower, it would seem to be faster. Similar to how a fly can think much more quickly than a human, because it’s brain is so much smaller, the lag is also tiny. Even so neuron signals travel at about 2% of the speed of light, or about 500km/h, so it could take a whole second for a brain several hundred kilometers in circumference to synchronize — humans synchronize about 20-30 times a second during waking consciousness.
Whereas if instead it was a computer brain, with signals traveling at near the speed of light, would be able to synchronize more than 500 times a second — still a lot slower than modern processors but our processors are usually a few centimeters across, so can synchronize billions of times a second. Would be much better served with having a small but powerful processor next to each gun, which could run an auto-targeting program. The central processor could dictate strategy or the sector map which the guns should focus on.
Anyways since there is pretty much no hope of sentient robots showing up in this series I wont be getting anymore books in it.
I got it used for about $10 on abebooks. I’m happy I didn’t pay more, as it was pretty much a disappointment. I was hoping something with the word “robot” in the title, would have sentient robots. Not some DNA supremacists.