"Prey", Michael Crichton, 2002, 0-00-200554-9, U$39.95
%A Michael Crichton MichaelCrichton.net info@...
%C 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
%O U$39.95 212-207-7000 information@...
%P 367 p.
Crichton is, of course, a past master of the ODTAA (One Darned Thing
After Another) school of thriller plotting. He also has an amazing
ability to create some of the most realistically annoying characters
in fiction, which makes his domestic scenes singularly unappealing at
times. But enough of literary criticism.
The author has made some real howlers, in terms of computer
technology, in previous works (cf. BKDSCLSR.RVW, BKJURPRK.RVW). This
time around, he mixes a standard recipe of genetic programming,
artificial life, distributed computing, and agent software to create
the predator implied by the title. He does, however, take some pains
to ensure that the fields really do promise what the story implies.
As usual, we get the "complex systems give rise to intelligence"
story, but he does back up that assertion with discussions of emergent
The narrative still has some problems with physics. While Crichton
attempts to address the issue of energy requirements for
nanotechnology, photovoltaic power would not be able to provide the
levels necessary for the masses in the later part of the story. Power
dissipation is not addressed at all, and is possibly a greater issue.
Submicron capacitors commonly hold charges for milliseconds, not the
several hours stated.
Still, time enough for that in future works, I suppose.
copyright, Robert M. Slade, 2003 BKPREY.RVW 20030308
rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
Find book info victoria.tc.ca/techrev/ or sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/
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