Cutting back and forth in time from nearer to further future, this is a clever Singularity story about before, during and after the event itself though I noticed that Ballantyne, strangely, never once uses the word 'singularity' in the entire tale. Recursion also has something of an identity crisis, a kind of multiple personality that finds recursive echoes in the story itself: disembodied voices, hidden identities, a confusion of worlds both real and virtual. Ballantyne has made a quirky, though not brilliant, debut; there may be things lacking here that further books, if this is the first of a series, will hopefully provide.
Feb 20, Peter rated it liked it. Recursion interweaves three stories set at different time periods in the future.
One's a woman in the near future who starts to feel that her life is being manipulated by outside forces Another is a secret agent a century later who is to help make a decision that could affect all of humanity And finally there's the story of Herb, a rich dilettante whose illegal attempts to use self-replicating machines to custom design his own planet goes horribly wrong, and as punishment he's recruited to fight an AI menace that encompasses part of the galaxy, and expanding. The book deals with a lot of SF themes that I really enjoy, and it does have some particularly interesting thoughts on those themes.
The stories mostly move at a decent pace although they seem annoyingly irrelevant to each other at first, and even towards the end don't tie in quite as well as I'd hoped , and although I was something more interested in getting back to another time period than the one I was in, I was never bored with any of them. So why does this only get three stars which of course, does mean I enjoyed it, if somewhat less enthusiastically than other books? Honestly, I'm not entirely sure.
There was just something slightly off about things, particularly the characters, that I couldn't put my finger on. Not a fatal flaw although, I was particularly annoyed with the character of Robert Johnson I did grow to like the book more as it reached the conclusion, mainly because this was where more of the more interesting speculation started to kick in, and some of the problems I thought I had earlier began to have reasonable explanations. It's probably closer to 3.
Chapter 8 Mind Reading pp. At the same time, however, the interpretation of these hierarchically structured sequences remains potentially ambiguous, enabling message receivers as well as senders to produce personal, sometimes creative, conceptual structures. Previous Figure Next Figure. JAI Press. Tag: books.
I'm willing to write off the problems as either a personal experience I was reading them during the winter blues! Feb 01, Julia rated it liked it Shelves: read-to-me. This was read to me by Michael over the course of more than a year, mostly in the car. There are some obvious drawbacks to th This was read to me by Michael over the course of more than a year, mostly in the car. Relatively-elegantly-done world-building; Michael and I had a long and interesting conversation partway through comparing it to Otherland Tad Williams and enumerating the merits of each, which I'm sure would be greatly enlightening to all the denizens of GoodReads if I could remember anything about it.
Oh well. The ending is poorly done. I gather it's part of a trilogy and one is supposed to pick up the next one to continue the story, but it's not just that there's no good wrap-up; it's flat. Nov 26, M— rated it it was ok Shelves: z-do-not-delete , reviewed , journaled. California Vacation Read 1: The first of a disastrous selection of books brought with me for the trip. The plan to select books for this vacation based on how long I'd owned them and haven't yet gotten around to reading them was a terrible idea.
Do this. In many ways, this one had the distinction of being the least bad of the books on this trip, and yet it still only rates a two. The story had a great deal of potential Chess game for godhood rights. God that smiles all the time. Forgettable story; abandoned at front desk of Yosemite resort lodge. Below is an overview of my thoughts about it. The overarching premise connecting these three distinct narratives is actually quite interesting.
Recursion offers a highly improbable quite frankly absurd take, by comparison. Dec 28, Mark rated it really liked it Shelves: sf.
A future history primarily focused on the interactions between humans and artificial intelligence s AIs , but also has other themes such as choice versus responsibility. It simultaneous tells the stories of three people from three time periods. The suicidal Eva is trying to escape the health care system that caused her depression.
The corporate agent Constantine is trying to initiate a secret plan hidden from the AIs.
The rich scion Herb is drafted into service by the Environmental Agency to pay A future history primarily focused on the interactions between humans and artificial intelligence s AIs , but also has other themes such as choice versus responsibility. The rich scion Herb is drafted into service by the Environmental Agency to pay for his illegal terraforming experiment. I don't think any of these characters would be compelling enough to carry the book on their own, but they are enough to carry a third of the book apiece.
Note: from reading other reviews, several of the things I like about this book the simultaneous stories, the switches between reality and computer simulations are reasons others found the book hard to follow. I can totally see that.
Society in the twenty-third century runs smoothly and peacefully with the aid of Social Care operatives such as Judy 3. Meanwhile benevolent AIs, under the. This apparently innocuous book comes with something of a health warning – it's not a light read and if you're trying to read with one eye on the.
Jul 12, Katie rated it liked it Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy. If you like world building - literal world building, not just that thing that authors do for books - then this title will fascinate you. And you have to like AI, too. And while the story grows and pivots on mostly things related to Setting, there are a few likeable, interesting characters and some less so, but still interesting with key inputs.
I'm glad I read it since it's at the outer limits of my sci fi comfort zone. Will I read the 2nd in this trilogy? But not in the very near future. Oct 21, Nicholas Whyte added it. However, I was left unconvinced by the external world-building - on the very first page, one of his central characters accidentally destroys an entire planet, which raises for me important questions, never answered, of how you can locate planets that can be so casually destroyed. In addition, I felt that the author's prose style simply did not rise to the level needed for such an ambitious plot.
Feb 09, Broodingferret rated it liked it Shelves: science-fiction.
This was another random used-bookstore buy from a while ago. Recursion provides an interesting answer to Fermi's Paradox, and goes in some neat directions with the implications. Ultimately, however, the book, like so many sci-fi works, comes across as an extended dialogue that the author is having with himself on a number of subjects, this particular dialogue being both on the benefits of social engineering and on who should be trusted with establishing the baseline standards of said social engi This was another random used-bookstore buy from a while ago.
Ultimately, however, the book, like so many sci-fi works, comes across as an extended dialogue that the author is having with himself on a number of subjects, this particular dialogue being both on the benefits of social engineering and on who should be trusted with establishing the baseline standards of said social engineering. As such, the characters come across as kind of flat and the plot as somewhat simplistic.
Ballantyne has apparently written a few other books that follow this one, and maybe he fleshes things out a bit more in them, but I currently have too many other books on my list to worry about them right now. Fun sci-fi romp, but that's about it. Jun 24, Gensan rated it liked it. It starts out fairly simply but with a story spread out across three or 4 distinct time periods spanning hundreds of years with characters that pop in and out of other periods and murkey motivations so that you're never certain of the motivations of any of them it gets fairly complex quickly.
Throw in the fact that some of the characters are imaginary, and it just spirals out of control. It did have some interesting ideas about AI, and an almost luddite perspective about technology in general - It starts out fairly simply but with a story spread out across three or 4 distinct time periods spanning hundreds of years with characters that pop in and out of other periods and murkey motivations so that you're never certain of the motivations of any of them it gets fairly complex quickly.
It did have some interesting ideas about AI, and an almost luddite perspective about technology in general - but only about ai, technology is everywhere throughout the book as a positive thing - as long as it's "made from human ingenuity" which is a distinction I don't think I fully grasp. Aug 03, Onefinemess rated it liked it. The writing is serviceable, but not particularly grabbing or exciting. The story is interesting. Idea: 3. If I could picture the best sci -fi movie in my head that I hadn't seen but wanted to, this would be it.
It's a book that should be a movie. Of all the movies that get the green light and get millions of dollars to be made, this should be one of them. The theme of a man covertly turning a planet into a disaster and while trying to get away, gets caught is only the begining. There's 2 other stories being told. If your not one that like multiple stories or characters, erase that idea. Recursion is best applied when you need to call the same function repeatedly with different parameters from within a loop.
While it can be used in many situations, it is most effective for solving problems involving iterative branching, such as fractal math, sorting, or traversing the nodes of complex or non-linear data structures. Recursive functions are also naturally easy to test because they are easy to write in a pure manner, with a specific and consistent return value for any given input, and no side effects on external variable states. The classic example of a function where recursion can be applied is the factorial.