Author: Michael Poeltl
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Createspace, Indie
Pages: 477 pages
Release Date: January 31, 2018
My Rating: ♥♥♥
Blurb: When is it considered murder to turn off your computer? A.I. Insurrection is a near-future science fiction tale investigating global utopia and the struggle to maintain an unrealistic hold over everything and everyone. Meanwhile A.I. struggles to discover their new-found awareness, a secret coup threatens to overthrow the peaceful government, and a separate threat arises from the Shadow net, taking direction from a mysterious avatar. In an impossible three-sided war, enemies become uneasy allies as each faction of humanity and humanity’s creation fight to claim their own place in an ever-evolving solar system.
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a revolutionary science-fiction. In fact, it’s probably been about 365 days since I last opened any books in the SF genre, so I was eager to read Michael Poeltl’s A.I Insurrection. The cover isn’t much to look at – though the general advice when it comes to judging a book is not to do so by its cover. The very first line is what made me decide to ultimately read on:
“It’s not uncommon for revolution to begin this way, Tobias considers.”
What I loved most:
At the first line, I was drawn in by curiosity. Who is Tobias? Which Revolution? How did it begin as all others do? Revolutions are so varied and so, I wanted to know how this one in particular stood out enough to mention in the first line.
Right away, I dove into the world of the Shadow Net, which resembles the Dark Net. It’s without restriction, persecution, or surveillance – reminiscent of when Bitcoin was being used to hire hit men or order illegal substances on the Dark Net, a place where even the police cannot consistently reach.
The rich concepts built into the world. When reading SF, you can tell who did their homework and who didn’t. In this case, plenty of research was done. What struct me most was the software and human psychology poured into the A.Is. Each had a name (MALEB, SENTA, RENDO) and were programmed to behave in certain ways.
An A.I might chatter with you while making a drink at the bar. Another might perform some formal ritual to please its master. Most, if not all, mimicked behavior of humans. The A.I’s even have the ability to change the tone of their voices to match emotions – sarcasm, sadness, fear. At least, this is how I processed the information given to me in the book. This was all very cool and I liked it 🙂 Also, I loved how flawed the A.Is were. In fact, I felt they were more so flawed than the humans in the book.
I really liked all the science and technical mumbo-jumbo. Words like A-Class, EMP blasts and coding – this was all relatively thought out and served the story in a way that enriched the SF element of it.
What I wasn’t crazy about:
Firstly, I felt A.I Insurrection lacked a balance between showing and telling. Though I enjoyed the first line of the opening chapter, there was zero action, description, or dialogue. Everything felt dry because there wasn’t any “showing” and I’m not entirely sure if this was intentional or not.
Secondly, there were times when the chapters would open with “he” or “she” with little to no reference to who those people are until pages later. I found this frustrating because all the A.Is were given names, but I had no idea which character I was following. The passages read as if I should know him or her, but I don’t. Since no physical descriptions were given early on, it was difficult for me to piece it together.
Thirdly, everyone kind of felt like an A.I. Where was emotion in human beings? Where was the conflict present in their existence? I think because “telling” outweighed “showing” in this book, I was ultimately robbed of the emotion and a means to truly connect with the characters. This improved as the story developed, but I wish it happened in the first few chapters.
Ultimately, I would say this book is a good read, especially if you enjoy a good ol’ fashioned SF story. No book is perfect and most of my issues with A.I Insurrection stemmed from personal preferences when it comes to reading SF. While it wasn’t my favorite book this month, it certainly introduced me to a highly technical world where A.I revolt against the enslaving humans in an effort to be more like their creators, which is ironic in its own way. If you’re looking for a book off the beaten track, I recommend you read A.I Insurrection.
Interested in checking out A.I Insurrection?