Monday, December 14, 2009

Terminal Logic Review

Terminal Logic by Jefferson Scott

From the back of the book:

“This is your God… I have become displeased with all my worlds… Therefore I will wipe out all participants and begin again.” When this message appears on the screens of millions of GlobeNet users, most see it as the work of a prankster. But virtual reality programmer Ethan Hamilton has discovered renegade artificial intelligence “bots” in his virtual reality gameworlds, and he suspects, and confirms, a situation of nightmarish potential. Soon, Ethan is in a battle with an intelligence bent on the destruction of the human race. Even the FBI and the Dept. of Defense must stand by helplessly while the battle is waged by Ethan and a band of computer experts in the new final frontier – cyberspace.

Terminal Logic is about what happens when virtual reality steps outside its programming and starts interacting with the real world. The dangers of AI and making computers too smart is not a new concept but I think it is a fun one that always has a lot of potential. Terminal Logic is supposed to take place in the future, and did when the book was written, but since it all happens in the year 2006 it is slightly out of date. But if you can ignore the dates it doesn’t really matter. The only other thing that seems to date the book is all the references to movies and TV shows that pop up. They are mostly classics like The Jetsons or 2001: A Space Odyssey so they are recognizable but they are not exactly current. But the story itself is not dated. The dangers of smart programs and having all the computers linked together and cars and houses run by computers still all works today. This is the second in a series. I haven’t read the first and I had no trouble following the story but I do think I would understand the characters better if I had read the first one. The characters talk a lot about things that I assume took place in the first book and some of their motivations seem rooted in those events. It is Christian fiction so many decisions are based on prayer and what God would want them to do. They do talk about their beliefs and their faith and share it with their friends but it never becomes a sermon or gets in the way of the story. The story moves quickly and does grab you right away. I picked it up and was well into the book, both in reference to the number of pages and interest in the story, before very long. You can feel the sense of danger and menace build along the way as you move towards the climax. And even though we are talking about a computer program and virtual reality fighting you are never allowed to forget that there are real world consequences so the feeling of urgency and fear are never lost.

1 comment:

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