Monday, March 26, 2012

Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata

In the not-too-near future, nanotechnologist Virgil Copeland and his team are on the frontier of AI development. They've created a near-microscopic new species called LOVs, because "they exist at the limit of human vision." LOVs form a symbiotic link with their human host's brain. Because of this link and the potential power LOVs have over their hosts, they have been deemed unsafe and banished to a ship orbiting earth. But Virgil's team have rescued some LOVs from their exile, and using themselves as hosts, study the effects. The book opens as Virgil's team's misconduct is detected after a team member dies inexplicably. Her connection to the LOVs is blamed, and Virgil ends up on the run. Meanwhile, the LOVs in orbit, fearing for their survival, separate themselves from the rest of the ship and fall to earth, landing off the Vietnamese coast. Ela Suvanatat, a freelance journalist, dives to investigate the crash site, not knowing the political and martial whirlwind her actions will unleash.

Limit of Vision characterizes the speculative nature of science fiction: it not only shows readers an interesting new world, but it asks "what if..." In this case, the question is: what if artificial intelligence ceases to be artificial? Virgil, Ela, and a cult of Vietnamese youngsters called Roi Nuoc all ask this question, and the answer they come up with is at odds with the rest of the scientific community and the powers that be. Stimulating developments ensue.

While I can't say I liked this book as much as Memory, I found it just as easy to read and finish. It wasn't always riveting, especially in the second half, but the characters and the plight of the LOVs kept me at it until I closed the book with satisfaction. I'm going to contine reading Linda Nagata.

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Copy source: library
Genre: science fiction
Format: hardcopy

View my suggested books by Linda Nagata

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