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on 12 September 2000
He really does write good books, Robert Sawyer. He's something a bit different in the SF world that he concentrates on people as well as stories and always has characters that you really feel for.
The book's described as a whodunnit in space, but to me it's more of a whathappened in space. It's fairly obvious who's covering up from early on in the book, but the story unfolds revealing a shocking conclusion. The exchange between Jason, the ship board computer and Aaron towards the end of the book is superb.
If I have one critism of Sawyer's books it's that the endings seem a little rushed, and this is no exception.
But it would be churlish to complain too much about such a wonderful writer.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 February 2012
The Argo is a colonization ship on its way to Eta Cephei IV with more than ten thousand humans aboard. But this is no sleeper ship. Everyone is awake and engaged in a variety of tasks, mission-related and otherwise. All of this activity is coordinated by JASON, the artificial intelligence that runs everything on the Argo.

The story begins as JASON murders crew member Diana Chandler and is nearly successful in making it look like suicide. Diana's ex-husband Aaron Rossman believes that Diana has killed herself because of his actions. His affair during the final months of their marriage was not a secret as he believed. Aaron gradually sees past his grief and deduces that Diana was murdered. Eventually we all learn the secret she was murdered to protect.

JASON is a bit like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but has more humans to talk with. And lie to. Sawyer gives us a consistent and intriguing portrayal of an advanced AI program with nearly unlimited observational data about human beings and limited experience with which to interpret it. Telling the story from JASON's point of view was a good decision and is well executed.

This is a good story, well told. Like some of Sawyer's other books, this one was written to explore an idea--artificial intelligence, in this case--as well as to entertain. It does both well. It is interesting to compare JASON's malevolent influence in this book to Heinlein's more benevolent but equally secretive Mike that controls Luna City in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Both have similar spans of control and are naïve in their understanding of humans. But they act quite differently.
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on 30 January 2015
An interesting murder mystery in a sci-fi setting. A good read.
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on 31 August 2014
spot on
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