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on 24 June 2015
I somehow managed to read the second book in the trilogy first and I enjoyed that book a lot. I didn't enjoy this quite as much but it's still a decent read. The subject matter is something which interests me and that's the concept of a technological singularity. If you're not familiar with the concept then it's an idea that technology reaches a point that is beyond our ability to understand and control it. A common cause for such an event is an emergent artificial intelligence which is the core premise of this book.

This book takes the scenario of an emergent intelligence and runs with it. It's a plausible scenario and one that fascinated me. Another aspect I enjoyed was that it took a positive aspect from this emergence rather than the usual apocalyptic one. The technology is well handled in the story and doesn't allow itself to be bogged down in too much detail.

While the technology is well handled I didn't feel as much for the characters. For the most part they lack any depth and seemingly exist purely to progress the plot. If this aspect had been more developed then I'd rate this as an outstanding read rather than just a decent one. It is still worth checking out if the topic interests you.
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on 9 May 2012
An excellent book! I was captivated throughout and could have read it from start to finish in one go, had time, work and sleep requirements allowed. If you like Charles Stross's 'Halting State' and 'Rule 34', as well as the 'Terminator' and 'The Matrix' films, you will probably enjoy this book. The only thing I found a bit strange was the ending. I look forward to reading the other books in William Hertling's 'Singularity series'.
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The Singularity is Closer than it Appears is not a bad book - just mediocre. Given the author's background as a programmer and 'tech guru', it's surprising that the text manages to be both turgid *and* technically unconvincing at the same time. Characters are paper thin, communicating their emotional state mainly through explicit statements of feeling, reacting limply to events within a plot that is ultimately unfulfilling. In the final reckoning, it's an unconvincing book because of the great logical leaps the protagonists take at regular intervals, as if they'd read ahead in the novel and knew they didn't have to consider alternate and far more plausible possibilities for the events they encounter. There are parts of the book where the main protagonists go through the standard trope of finding it difficult to convince authority figures of the implausible danger that lurks in the shadows. This is one of those titles where you can't help but sympathise with the bureaucrats. The deductive chain of the main characters has all the coherence and solidity of a conspiracy theorist's scrapbook. There are a thousand explanations for the weirdnesses they encounter that don't require Occam's razor to be so convincingly and so prematurely snapped into pieces. It's as if there are a hundred pages or so of plot development that simply fell out of the first quarter of the novel.

The book too is bizarrely technologically incoherent, managing to ascribe complex semantic motivation to an AI system explicitly explained as reasoning without context. This isn't a simple evolution of capability - the whole premise is built around the idea that the exponenting system can mine text for *meaning* despite that being the absolute opposite of what it was designed to do. It just doesn't make any sense from the perspective of even fictional technology, and while that may not bother some people it bothered the heckfire out of me.

That said, there's a kernel of an interesting premise in here, and had it been more competently executed by an author with a less ham-fisted approach to writing it might have been genuinely good. I'm sufficiently intrigued by the promise to be willing to consider the second in the trilogy, although there is a high probability that it'll end up being little more than a pound-shop version of the Terminator origin story. A first novel always has the risk of being too rough to really show off an author at their best, and this remains a salvageable story with enough possibility that I wouldn't write Hertling off at the first hurdle.
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on 19 February 2016
Fantastic book, a depiction of what could be framed realistically with proper thought and realism applied to the technology. There's none of the "Hollywood" take on technology with pseudo jargon nonsensical sentences littering the place. For those that have read the book, how did I find this book? It was the Amazon recommendation algorithm...
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on 7 November 2015
Very good fun and interesting. I could almost believe in the possibility of the accidental creation of an AI. Pretty fast paced and the characters were just about strong enough to keep my interest. I guess this is the computer equivalent of space opera and as such it was a good read.
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on 13 December 2015
This was an interesting story which progressed at a good pace and held your attention Not sure I share the authors view on the power of email to persuade, and they should definitely get rid of or expand on the final ending.
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on 1 April 2015
Slightly predictable but entertaining read. Similar in concept to a certain extent to Darknet by Mathew Mather and to a lesser extent Deamon by Daniel Suarez. I would recommend both these books to anyone that enjoyed this.
I enjoyed the initial concepts, doubted the outcomes and could predict the end result but it didn't stop me enjoying it too much. I will be getting the second book in the series.
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on 20 September 2013
This book manages to be a real page turner, while still being credible and thought provoking. I was really pleasantly surprised by it spotted someone recommending it over on the grandroids site and was reading about the singularity at the time. Really impressed with the standard of the writing and the author has a clear understanding of IT. If you like Daniel Suarez give this a go too it's in a similar style.
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on 24 June 2014
A great Sci Fi adventure set in today's world. Avogadro Corporation sounds very much like a familiar internet company and the story begins with just another work project. Despite the seemingly everyday context, the plot soon gains momentum and the project takes on a life of its own. Believable scenarios, interesting characters and an increasingly tense plot make this a good read. I don't want to spoil the end; enough to say I am presently enjoying the sequel!
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on 17 April 2015
A very good account of how artificial intelligence was created from what was effectively an advanced word processor. Well written and certainly leaving you will a desire to read the next book in the series.
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