Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Singularity by Steven James

I became interested in James by reading the Patrick Bowers series. They are intense and full of suspense.

This is the second in the Jevin Banks series and I am getting hooked. Banks is an illusionist who manages to get involved in very suspenseful situations too. He frequently uses his expertise in illusion and similar skills to get to the truth.

The Jevin Banks series is more about scientific ideas than action and suspense. There is action and suspense, but it seems to revolve around something scientific. In this novel it is the concept of singularity. There will come a moment, sometime in mid-century, when converging “technologies create a tipping point after which our understanding of what it means to be human will be irrevocably changed.” (137) Machines will have intelligence, emotion, language acquisition, and pattern recognition on the same level as humans. On the other side there is gene splicing and bionic implants (like night vision). The question is: What does it really mean to be human?

While the novel is not overtly “Christian,” there are Christians in the novel and Christian themes woven into the story. For example, on the issue of what makes humans different from machines, Charlene says, “to create truly 'human machines,' they'd need to be able to worship or rebel against their creators.” (448)

While there is philosophical thought in the novel (such as whether kids should be forced to read the classics), it also has lots of action. There is cutting edge research going on developing machines that can be controlled by the human mind. We even manage to get into the secret research location of Area 51. If you like to read about what may be happening in the near future, you'll find much to like in this novel.

Steven James is the author of several novels, including the Patrick Bowers thrillers. He has a master's degree in story telling and has taught writing and creative communication on three continents. He currently lives near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee. You can find out more at www.stevenjames.net.

Revell, 464 pages.

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