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Self-Reference ENGINE

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  • Posted June 26, 2013

    This is a strange, fractured book about a strange, fractured eve

    This is a strange, fractured book about a strange, fractured event (the deliberate fragmentation of spacetime by massive artificial intelligences in their struggle with humanity). To counteract that perhaps off-putting description, I will also say that it is also highly readable, wildly imaginative and intelligent, and often laugh-out-loud funny. The title is apt, as the book is often commenting on itself. More than anything, it resembles something by Stanislaw Lem. If you think that's a good thing (as I certainly do), then it's very likely you will enjoy this book. If you prefer linear, straightforward narratives... well, you should go read something else.

    It's not perfect. There are a few oddities which may be the result of the translation. The massive artificial intelligences are constantly referred to as "giant corpora of knowledge", which is a very strange expression in English, and got a little grating when repeated several times per page in places. At one point the number 2 to the 20th power is described as "a number that made a billion seem modest". Well, no: 2 to the 20 is just over one million. Also, although at the beginning of the book there is a "Mapping of Maps", indicating links between various chapters, I was unable to decipher what these connections might be; this may just mean that the author is smarter than I am. Furthermore, although there are a lot of interrelations between different chapters, there are a couple that have no apparent connection to the larger scale structure of the book.

    These are minor quibbles. If you like science fiction that exercises your brain via both form and content, give this a try. I hope more of EnJoe's work will be translated into english.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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