Factoring Humanity

Factoring Humanity

Book - 2004?
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In the near future, a signal is detected coming from the Alpha Centauri system. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for ten years. Heather Davis, a professor in the University of Toronto psychology department, has devoted her career to deciphering the message. Her estranged husband, Kyle, is working on the development of artificial intelligence systems and new computer technology utilizing quantum effects to produce a near-infinite number of calculations simultaneously.

When Heather achieves a breakthrough, the message reveals a startling new technology that rips the barriers of space and time, holding the promise of a new stage of human evolution. In concert with Kyle's discoveries of the nature of consciousness, the key to limitless exploration---or the end of the human race---appears close at hand.

Sawyer has created a gripping thriller, a pulse-pounding tour of the farthest reaches of technology.

Factoring Humanity is a 1999 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel.

Publisher: New York : Orb, [2004?], c1998.
Edition: First Orb edition
ISBN: 9780765309037
Characteristics: 350 pages ; 21 cm.


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Aug 17, 2010

Not one of Sawyer's better books, in my opinion. Admittedly, part of my distaste was that I had taken this book with me to the witness room as I was waiting to testify on a sexual assault case, so I was rather upset to discover the only book I had to keep me occupied included accusations of sexual abuse (which were not in the description). However, after the trial, I still found the book lacking in both writing style (to a lesser extent) and content. One of my favourite things about Sawyer is his realism and his thoroughness in the consequences of his imagined worlds but this seemed undeveloped. Also, I felt a lot of the choices of events had much better alternatives (including the use of the abuse accusations - he could have accomplished the same goals while picking another issue. If that isn't the only detail that hits the right note, why that one? He's usually good at picking what needs to be picked!). Lastly, I felt the science was weaker than usual.


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