This year I have looked at fewer books so far, but every now and then I find something of interest. The idea of a futuristic world and AI programs is something of a personal interest of mine even outside of fiction. Over the past couple years I’ve read a few books with those themes as their central plot line, but Paragon.EXE was really different in its approach to handling the modern idea of what an AI is and does. Drew Cordell does a great job at setting up this idea with the suggestion that the idea of a central AI unit isn’t truly just a modern phenomena, but something that has been explored for decades on end before becoming something we are more aware of like in today’s electronically driven society.
I enjoyed this book and it was well worth the 99 cents to get it. There were a couple of reasons to why that is. First, it was short and Cordell made it clear from the get go that this was just the prequel to a larger story for the Absolute Knowledge series that he is currently writing. Since finishing this book I did choose to buy the first book, Absolute Knowledge, in the series and had no qualms in doing so with the certainty of knowing that it set up the background for the reader in a rather unique way. I have read a couple of books that have tried to do what Cordell has with flipping back and forth between two different time periods or alternate realities. My understanding this same style of writing continues on in the next book of the planned trilogy. In some of the books I read more recently with this same style have been interesting, but in one case left me wanting like in Black by Dekker. In Paragon.EXE the flipping between time periods not only set up the story well it presented two story arcs that were dependent on each while still presenting a single plot. Secondly, The story is interesting presenting a future that is far closer to reality than most would believe. In a lot of ways this book reminded me of book I read last year called Darknet by Mather. The modern age of technology uses and produces AI programs for all sorts of tasks. So why not one to defend a country? Actually, I suspect that probably is already a reality to a certain extent, but probably not as it is in this book.
Overall this a great start to a trilogy I plan on reading this year once my current selection of books from last year get a bit closer to completion. For you tech sci-fi readers I would recommend you take a look at this book I think you’ll find the price is right and the story is well done. If you haven’t taken a look at Darknet I would suggest giving that one a go and perhaps Heretic by David Beers as well. All three of these tech thrillers have one thing in common outside of being well written stories. The idea of AIs is a central theme behind the storyline and done effectively enough that the reader feels that just perhaps that these fictions could very well have some truth to their very futuristic worlds. I guess you might see a thread that binds these books to this post outside of having enjoyed them personally. These books satisfy our inner geek in a way that regular sci-fi, space dramas, or fantasy books just can’t fully reach. They can hit closer to home in ways that other types of stories can’t by presenting a reality that might be closer to us than we would probably like to believe possible.