The entire human population is attacked by a very suspicious virus. SIMPOC's programmer doesn't come in to work, that day, the next, or ever. The commander of the space station Oasis, Joan Herl, is forced to abandon the station because of dwindling resources. When they land on earth, they are attacked by another thinking computer who would do anything to protect itself and to continue thinking.
The moon colony, Dessert Beach, is trapped as their resources are running out, and they must decide when to come home. They have only lifeboats to carry them back to the lifeless Earth, and what will they find when they enter the atmosphere and land?
The astronauts trapped on the Mars colony, Red Dirt, are in worse condition. Their systems will break down and resources will run out. Coming home for them is a different story. The lifeboats aren't made for that purpose and must be rebuilt before the colony breaks down. Should they stay and take their chances on Mars, or should they journey back to Earth?
©2014 Raymond J. Perreault (P)2015 Raymond J. Perreault
Good solid characters and great storytelling make this a really compelling book. It's great to get the opportunity to identify with a story where humanity gives birth to AI but in a positive way. Yes there's a disaster going on in terms of what's happening to humanity but we have managed to develop AI without mucking it up. I can't say that I've seen other authors do this - so its great to see.
SIMPOC. Although maybe I should say SIMPOC and his programmer. I love the way we see SIMPOC develop and I lover the determination that his programmer has to make sure that he brings him to life in a way that enable him to communicate with us and to a positive force in the world.
I like Zachary's narration in general and in this book he's great. Really good differences between the Thinking Computers and Humans which helps to draw you into the storytelling.
Yes. In fact it took me two, but I would have listened to it in one had I have been able.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com.
I found it quite sad listening to the people on the space stations, going from quite optimistic to very depressed, realising that hope was all but lost.
The only criticism if any is that the audiobook seemed too short. It felt like the first quarter of a bigger book. I will definitely listen to part 2 when it's released
I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot com.
This is a book about an AI with the mind of a child that explores the world not judging it, but only trying to understand it. It befriends humans and trusts them unconditionally and was even ready to sacrifice it's own life just to save them. This is point of view that we don't find very often in literature nowadays, where AI is usually an anthagonist and only brings destruction. It is not AI who we should be afraid of but the people who created it and the very basic first instructions we give it, that will later shape its personality.
It is a great book, with very funny moments and great sense of humour. I really enjoyed it and once I started listening to it I couldn't stop until the very end.
"On the verge of perfect.."
Yes, Perreault did a splendid job with creating a connection with SIMPOC. I thoroughly enjoyed listening from the perspective of a computer.
This has to be a combination of the narrator and the story telling. When SIMPOC realize that his maker will not come back, you can almost feel SIMPOC loneliness.
Amazing job on narrating, really made me feel what SIMPOC was feeling.. if computer have feelings.
The reason why I did not give this book a 5 star was the lack of story development when he introduce the few human survivors. It just felt a little rush, I know that there will be back story revealed in another book. But if this was the only book I read in this series it just felt a little incomplete. I was more connected to Termen who was the creator of SIMPOC and was really sadden when SIMPOC realize Termen won't return.
*I received a free copy of this audio book for an honest review.*
This is an interesting look into what a computer what would happen if things went more than a little awry. A virus has wiped out almost all humans and SIMPOC, a newly turned has just begun earning about how things work when the computer finds it is alone. Pick up this short story for an interesting subject
"The Story could go any direction"
Well yes I would if I had friends who read or use audio books. Sadly I have no such friends (unless you count the maybe friends on the websites I interact with)
This is a unique twist on the whole apocalyptic epoch. If all humanity dies (or most of it) will the computers take over, will they do what is necessary to survive and will they all be on the same side or will there be good and evil or at least different perceptions of right and wrong?
I liked that they used a bit of sound effect to make it seem like the computers are all saying things at once. I am a bedtime listener to books rather than having them play in the background during my daily activities (although some tempt me more than others) and so I enjoy the pace and cadence of Mr. Johnson's performance. (Not to say he puts me to sleep by any means!)
When the humans go the way of the dinosaurs the computers reign begins but will the human frailties of the past become SIMPOC's downfall?
Can't wait to hear the next installment!
"Lots to contemplate in this novella!"
SIMPOC is a new AI and his programmer is just starting to introduce it to the wide world. However, a new deadly virus breaks out and spreads like wildfire. Pretty soon, SIMPOC is having to think and act on it’s own, and SIMPOC chooses to protect the few humans it can find – in space.
This was a fascinating story of AI and world calamity. Yep, lots of meat to this little story. First, I enjoyed how the AI came about, being programmed and brought into consciousness on purpose. Then there’s the careful, graded introduction of SIMPOC to the world. As SIMPOC explores newsfeeds from around the world, it comes across the Havarti virus. It is asked by the programmer to monitor it.
The Havarti virus is named after a cheese for a reason folks. Yep. I will let you contemplate the disgusting aspects of that. Pretty soon, SIMPOC is on it’s own. And this is where the second interesting part of the story steps in – all the humans in space.
There’s astronauts in orbit on the space station Oasis, some on a Moon colony, others on a Mars colony. They each have their own challenges. The action really picks up as SIMPOC tries to keep these humans alive. But there are forces working against SIMPOC, so this new AI must be clever and quick and sneaky.
I had a lot of fun listening to this story. My one criticism is that there is only one female character, Joan, who is the commander of the space station, and she doesn’t show up until perhaps half way into the story. Obviously, I would like to see a better gender balance, especially since this is a world calamity and science fiction where women get to do more than tend house and have babies. Joan is written well and is integral to the story so I hope the author continues to write female characters into the story line as the series goes forward.
The tale wraps up the arc for this part of the story but leaves open the bigger picture for a second book (yay!). In fact, the audiobook has a preview of Book 2 at the end. It will be interesting to see what SIMPOC does next and how the remaining humans react to it in the long term.
I received a copy of this audiobook from the author (via the GoodReads Audiobooks group) at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
Narration: Zachary Johnson did a very nice job with this book. He had distinct voices for all the characters and the one female character had a believable feminine voice. I liked his slightly clipped, very practical, calm voice for SIMPOC.
"Entertaining and insightful"
I would definitely listen to SIMPOC again. The story is inherently interesting: a thinking computer learning stuff about the world. The novel goes in unexpected directions one after another.
One of the most memorable moments was when Alpha was turned on and was interested in seeing and communicating with humans.
I haven't, but would like to. It was more of an audio play than an audiobook. The robots in unison was superb.
My extreme reaction was non stop listening and interest!
Very interesting to a cognitive science major like myself!
"SIMPOC is an oxymoron: apocalyptic, yet uplifting"
As others have mentioned, I was wary of narration from the point of view of an inanimate object. It is an idea many authors have experimented with and few have succeeded with. With that in mind, SIMPOC was a delightful surprise.
SIMPOC is indeed a thinking computer- a perfect mix of humanized and mechanized; he (or she, depending on how it's programmed) is capable of self-awareness and, to an extent, even empathy. SIMPOC destroys the common sci-fi trope of the self-aware AI antagonist. The supporting characters are well-written as well. Without giving too much away, I found myself missing a certain programmer, despite his brief appearance in the story.
I bought the audiobook version of the book and found it very easy to listen to. A human voice gives SIMPOC's moments of loneliness and doubt a tremendously different feel. Well-done and worth considering, even if you don't typically listen to audiobooks.
I look forward to the next book in the series. I did not anticipate that I would enjoy this story as much as I did.
""Never to think again sounds very lonely""
A book I would recommend to anyone who enjoys real science fiction at it's best. It is an apocalyptical tale told from an unique perspective.
2051. A devastating virus is sweeping the world only days after the prototype organic A.I. is first brought 'to life' and begins it's tentative learning of the world under the careful control of a human contact. Built to have cognitive abilities, S.I.M.P.O.C.is just becoming aware of concepts like self and death when his controller fails to return to him. He is alone. But he reaches out to the other terminals he knows exist and takes control.
There are a few humans still alive - in space. And, unexpectedly, another organic based A.I. but this latter refuses all communication and seems hostile. Can SIMPOC survive and help the stranded humans?
The story is told through the communications. It is a difficult enough task for a narrator to give realistic and distinctive voice to human protagonists. In this book Zachary Johnson not only does this but also has to provide the voices of several computers, making them sound authentically mechanical but still easy on the ear. He does this to perfection and, far from seeming just bland, manages to invest SIMPOK in particular with an internal feeling which shows through the unemotional reading.
The last minutes of the book offer a preview of the second part of the SIMPOC story which I will definitely listen to very shortly. But first I want to hear the human side of this same time frame which I understand is covered in Virus, 72 hours to live.
My thanks to Mr.Perreault who gifted me a copy of his excellent book without any obligation
"Really well executed idea."
SIMPOC is the name for the bio-organic computer artificial intelligence a big tech company has created. It is a learning computer, gaining vast knowledge as it is further exposed to different data sources. When its creator one day asks it if it has noticed any trends in data, it tells him it has noticed the rise of a virulent disease in Eastern Europe that has 100% mortallity rate. andthus starts a story of the end of the world as we know it, as the Harvarti virus quickly overtakes humanity. SIMPOC does what he can to help the survivors, including the astronouts stuck on Mars, the Moon, and the Space Station, all while fighting off the minions of his brother computer at another facility. I cant spell out the end without spoilers, but it leads to the next book in the series, well worth checking out.
The story has an interesting way of progressing, basically telling the story from the point of view of SIMPOC, who hasnt been turned on for but a few days before the end starts to come about. The author does an amazing job showing the growing pains a new computer intelligence would have, all while not turning it into a terminator/berzerker story.
As far as narration, Zachary Johnson does a great job with the different characters and with the narrative flow, bringing the story to life.
Any fans of end of the world type sci fo stories should check this one and ists sequels and various spin offs out.
I was given a copy of this book free of charge by the author in exchange for an honest review throuogh Audiobookblast.
I loved everything about this one, from performance to phenomenal writing. The story developed and sucked you in right from the first few pages and you were drawn in to see how things would develop, how Simpoc fit in to everything and how it all meshed together. I'm a scifi buff, and I've not read good scifi like this in forever. This is why I fell in love with the genre and would recommend it to anyone that has a love for the classic by the seat of your pants scifi of Asimov, Heinlein, and a touch of the introspective Silverberg to boot. The first bit of this reminded me of a book whose name escapes me now, but it was by AE Van Vogt, and the computer in that story that gradually became self-aware. Totally different stories and plotlines one had a very moving ending when the machine realized it was aware, and man was miniscule and this one is just a bit more action-packed especially the deeper you dive, but still I'd have to say this book and Mr Perreault's other books pay homage to the classics more than I've seen lately, with a flare for the new that keeps it fresh. I loved this story and hope someone else would as well. Happy reading folks.
"A Rarity: Intelligent Sci-Fi!"
It's really logical... the progression of events makes perfect sense and it stays close enough to reality that it's completely believable.
From an IT guy with 30 years in the industry, the computing stuff was pretty dead on, but not super-technical. Perreault hits all the right beats, but doesn't bore you with details. Many writers let the tech get in the way of the story, not here.
SIMPOC. A learning computer. Brilliant. Have to say that Termin (spelling?) was also great.
Absolutely. I actually would leave early on a drive and arrive early just to listen to more.
This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. It's not just a quick 5-star because I received it free... you can check my other reviews. I only give credit where it's due. The narration by Johnson was also great. As someone with voice acting experience, he's quite talented, down to the different personalities and cadences in voices to the accents.
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