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How Noble in Reason: A Novella Hardcover – 22 May 2006

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" Not the stereotypical academic, Alyn is a lover of art, science, literature, language, music, and history. His fascination with the world of computers, blended with an insatiable curiosity in the workings of human nature, drove him to write his first sci-fi novel How Noble in Reason. I recently had the good fortune to sit down with Alyn to discuss his journey from academia to novelist. -Dee-Marie,, July 2006
""If you are an SF reader who is also into thrillers then I'm happy to commend Rockwood's first fiction offering. "" -Jonathan Cowie, Concatenation, September 2006"

About the Author

Alyn Rockwood is a professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at the Colorado School of Mines where he is currently investigating fundamental structures and mathematical underpinnings for computer graphics. He has published several papers on scientific computing, scientific visualization, mechanical CAD, geometric design, computer graphics and image processing. This is his first novella.

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"Ragu, Ragu, Ragu," the crowd chanted amid rhythmic applause and loud foot stamping. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Symbolism in Science Fiction 30 July 2006
By L. Daines - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The genre of science fiction is not my forte', but I read this book because I've known Alyn from the time we were in grade school and wanted to be supportive of an old friend. I was impressed with Alyn's technical mastery of computers and of the idea of computers being designed to have feelings and character traits, an idea I had never considered. I was mostly impressed, however, with the symbolic nature of the book. I related to the theme of Job in the story, and ultimately of the restoration of things taken away, as Job also experienced. More than that, I was touched by the love a father has for a son, and tributes celebrating that love. Alyn contibutes to the lives of the masses through personal and individual accomplishment. I appreciated the insight I received as a result of reading this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Destined for the New York Times best-seller list! 19 July 2006
By Dee Marie - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is the year 2051 and Dr. Andreas Rasmusson's comfortable existence is about to unravel. The underlying source of the destruction ... a three-year-old unsolved murder of his closest friend, Bee, a nonorganic sentient. Ostracized from the Cornell University academic community, Rasmusson finds temporary solace within the bucolic lifestyle of Colorado. Yet, peace is short-lived. In his quest to prove his innocence and solve the crime, Rasmusson is plunged into a world of deceit, espionage, and madness.


When I began reading How Noble in Reason, I anticipated it to be a murder mystery sci-fi thriller, and it was! The story takes the reader on an exciting emotional roller coaster ride with shocking plot twists and turns. Author Alyn Rockwood drops enough red herrings to confuse but not sidetrack to extreme.

So, what sets this novel apart from other techno-thrillers? How Noble in Reason is a powerful love story! The prevailing theme of unconditional love flows through the story on many levels: between human intelligence and artificial intelligence, father and son, boy and dog, husband and wife, lovers, friends, nature, and even enemies. In a futurist world, where artificial intelligence is a perceived threat to the human race, love is the one tie that binds humanity and machine.

Alyn Rockwood writes in a crisp Michael Crichton style, with the perfect blend of suspense, techno-speak, subtle humor, underlying romance, and human drama. It is one of the few books I have read with several "I never saw that coming" moments. How Noble in Reason is destined for the New York Times best-seller list!

Dee Marie
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Daring, Compelling Science Fiction 17 Aug. 2006
By Thomas W. Jensen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
So much of Science Fiction has been dominated by the techno-thriller prolepses of Gibson and the vast rambling scientific recreations of Stephenson and all their imitators that the philosophical and speculative roots of the genre seem all but lost at times. "How Noble in Reason" is a return to the brave, imaginative values of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. Like those pioneers Rockwood begins with a daring and original speculation for a real future which he then explores through the lives of credible, conflicted characters about whom we come to care deeply.

The novel also feels almost Nietzschian at times, both in the way it rapidly and wryly touches numbers of philosophical issues and its central, highly original speculation. Nevertheless, like the stories of Wells and Verne, it is great fun to read. Rockwood is a scientist and Mathematician and he knows how human science actually is and how it's done. That experience lends the book the same level or authenticity that has made the books of Tom Clancy so successful.

Read the book because it is good, original Science Fiction. And don't be surprised if you find afterwards that you see the world you live in now in a very different way.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding Sci-Fi Work! 17 July 2008
By SJC - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'll start by admitting that I'm not a sci-fi thriller fan, but this book was recommended to me and I took a chance. I'm glad I did! This is an outstanding piece of work written by an individual who must know a great deal about high-technology advancements and the field of artificial intelligence. The book kept me enthralled and engaged every bit of the way. Anyone who likes thrillers and knows anything about computers - the advancements made and those yet to come - will find this book a must read. Mr. Rockwood has a promising future for writing and I look forward to reading more of his work.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fundamentally, just another story about a government conspiracy 20 Feb. 2007
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on
Format: Hardcover
When I read the opening of this novel, I had high hopes for it. Andy Rasmusson is a computer science professor at Cornell University and he has invented sentient non-organic beings. In other words, they are intelligent, self-aware computers. For lack of a better term, the computers are called Bee and Cee. The story opens with Bee being a guest on a television talk show hosted by a man named Ragu. There is a great deal of public animosity against the non-organic sentient entities and Ragu contributes to this hostility.

Shortly after the appearance, the administration and government agents try to get Andy to take a position on upcoming anti-sentient legislation. When he refuses, he is placed on unpaid administrative leave and asked to leave the university. The government then begins a program of persecution, intimidation and tries several times to arrange a fatal "accident." He is slowly being poisoned by the police bracelet and he is denied contact with his former colleagues who may be in a position to help him.

Andy eventually lands in the hospital due to the poisoning and the government plot is exposed. The poisoning has caused his liver and kidneys to fail, so the solution suggested by Cee is to have them regenerated using nanotechnological techniques. The conspiracy was so far ranging that it brings down the President of the United States and Andy is now a hero to the nation. A great deal of the prejudice against sentient non-organic beings now evaporates and the book closes with an episode of the Ragu show. This time Ragu is very respectful of the sentient non-organic beings and their future is assured.

The problem with this book is that once the opening is done, it becomes just another massive government conspiracy book. Government agents are ubiquitous in Andy's life; they plant bugs everywhere in his residence, have him under constant physical surveillance, block all his communications and cancel his credit cards. However, even though they have all this power, at the end the government agents prove inept and public pressure brings them down. It would have been so much better if the plot would have involved the decision-making process of the non-organic sentients. Something along the lines of Isaac Asimov's robot stories and the three laws of robotics. Fundamentally, the plot is not about the social and political consequences of a sentient computer and artificial intelligence. They are only background devices needed to launch a story about a government conspiracy.
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