6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Very artificial, and not much intelligence,
This review is from: The Fear Index (Hardcover)This book occupies the same niche as Michael Crichton's "Prey", which featured nano-bots becoming independent entities a bit like social insects. A little better written, but equally unrealistic in its take on technology and stuffed with one-dimensional characters.
The character of Hamilton didn't work for me. I know mathematical "nerds" and the one thing that connects them is a passion to know not just what their theorems and algorithms do, but HOW they do it. Knowing how is the basis for improving. It is inconceivable to me that a Hamilton character would not be monitoring the how of VIXAL And how come none of the quants did either? Not true to life.
The company structure doesn't ring true either: no evidence of financial control, which would have flagged up all VIXAL's manouevrings.
Mostly, though, the book lacked suspense: one had guessed by about the fourth chapter that it was the AI doing the dirty, so the interest became "how". The only original twist was the theme of internet assisted killing.
The one redeeming feature of the book was that it might open more eyes to the world of computer driven market trading, and the risks that the methods harbour. Won't change anything, though.
I'm disappointed. Perhaps it shows. I thoroughly enjoyed all three of Harris's books on Roman society, also Fatherland. The subjects he used as the basis of the Fear Index are important, and merit better novels to bring out the human aspects - the 21st century equivalent of say "Bonfire of the Vanities" by Tom Wolfe, or "Brightness Falls" by Jay McInnery.
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Initial post: 17 Oct 2011 10:43:54 BDT
Justice Peace says:
Hoffman was the main character, not Hamilton :o)
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Oct 2011 10:28:12 BDT
yeah - who the hell is Hamilton?
Obviously a fast scan reader, rather than immersive.
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Nov 2011 17:25:03 GMT
Yeah, you're right, because he misrembered the characters name that makes everything he said in his review completely and utterly invalid. Despite a considered and thoughtful analysis of the books strengths and failings he typed the characters surname incorrectly, therefore as a Robert Harris fan I wont be considering his opinion before deciding whether to buy the book.
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