The Turing Option

By Harry Harrison

The Turing Option is a science fiction novel by Harry Harrison.

I have always enjoyed Harry Harrison's stories - he knows how to write a fast paced and interesting story, but what I know him best for is his space opera stories (The Stainless Steel Rat, Bill The Galactic Hero and the Deathworld stories). But, he definitely can write in a more serious tone as he proved in the wonderful book West Of Eden.

The Turing Option, is another try at a serious piece from his hands and this time he has gotten help from AI (Artificial Intelligence) specialist Marvin Minsky. Turing Option is a very interesting story about the young (in more than one way) scientist Brian Delany, who manages to make the worlds first true AI - he succeeds so well that his competitors try to kill him. Their attempt fail but Brian loses his memory and all his records and has to fight to reclaim his memory and reinvent his AI.

The story is more about Brian than about AI and this is both a good and a bad thing. It's a good thing, in the way that the AI (when Brian finally succeeds), called Sven, is so human that it gets uninteresting and a bad thing in the way that Brian himself gets more and more inhuman and therefore harder and harder to sympathise with - but the story survives these two weak points and it's still a good read.

Written on 1st March 1999 by .

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