Zero Echo Shadow Prime is a gripping science-fiction novel by debut author Peter Samet. His protagonist is Charlie, a woman with a brilliant future ahead of her, who has terminal cancer. Her father's connections result in Charlie being replicated multiple times. The reader follows the adventures of the various Charlies in what is a deeply imaginative and often mind-bending plot.
The author creates alternative realities with skill and the world of the Echos in particular is fantastical and disturbing in equal measure. I would love to see how these scenes would be translated onto the big screen. My favourite parts of the novel were the interactions between Charlie and her robot friend Alan. Personally, I would have liked to have more of a reconciliation between Charlie Zero and her father, but that is a small complaint in this richly imagined novel.
This is a novel that lends itself to further discovery with each reading, and it is one of the most original science fiction works I have read in a very long time. The author asks philosophical questions about consciousness and existentialism that will linger with you long after you have finished reading the novel. Take a look at the wonderfully designed novel website too - [...]. I can't wait to see what Peter Samet comes up with next.
For many people Science Fiction is about spaceships and the exploration of far flung planets, but to me science fiction is all about the exploration of ideas, and Zero Echo Shadow Prime is packed full of them.
Set in the very near future, a young coder creates the very first sentient AI and everybody wants a piece of her. The problem is, she's dying of cancer. When rich industrialist father calls in a few favours and with the help of Jude Adler, CEO of the technology firm Rivir, decides to save Charlie's life against her wishes, Charlie's problems are only just beginning.
I really enjoyed this book. It's packed full of ideas, exploring some of the questions around human consciousness - what makes a person who they are, what is sentience, along with some of the thornier philosophical issues around the rights of synthetic beings and who owns a copied consciousness - all wrapped up in a fast-paced thriller. The world building is very well done, providing the small elements of detail required to show what areas of society and culture have changed without resorting to pages of backstory and setup.
In Charlie Nobunaga, Samet has created an intelligent, strong-willed female lead that had real agency despite her physical limitations, who is also a fearsome four-armed killer; a holographic personal assistant and a supercharged android warrior. The fact Samet manages to flick between each point of view without causing confusion is great testament to his skill as a writer.
There were a couple of areas where I thought the book could bi improved, the Echo storyline, while interesting, felt a little superfluous and the love interest never quite came off for me, but in a book this fast moving and complex, these are just minor issues. Overall this is a great read, and if this review doesn't persuade you to buy the book then the cover surely will.
If you are looking for a fun-filled thriller with substance and ideas, this is the book for you. Recommended.
A great first novel to have under your belt. I found it was impossible to put down, however implausable or faintly ridiculous, due to the fast pace, unbridled imagination and intriguing, if rather one-dimensional, plot line. I found some sympathy with the central character, even when she is split into four or more, and the few interactions she has with her father, sister, arch-rival, would-be lovers, and her own cyber-generated Animus. Also the main theme of what are we allowing technology to do to ourselves is compelling, if not immediately relevant or proven. I look forward to more of Peter Samet's imagination and story-telling panache applied to scenarios that I could feel I could possibly be involved in, and might possibly happen.