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REVIEW: "Prey", Michael Crichton

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKPREY.RVW 20030308 Prey , Michael Crichton, 2002, 0-00-200554-9, U$39.95 %A Michael Crichton MichaelCrichton.net info@crichton-official.com %C 10 East
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2003
      BKPREY.RVW 20030308

      "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
      %D 2002
      %G 0-00-200554-9
      %I HarperCollins
      %O U$39.95 212-207-7000 information@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0002005549/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0002005549/robsladesin03-20
      %P 367 p.
      %T "Prey"

      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/
      Upcoming (ISC)^2 CISSP CBK review seminars (+1-888-333-4458):
      March 31, 2003 Indianapolis, IN
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