Copyright 1997 by
I first read this in October 1999 and most recently in June 2000.
A few years from now, Canada's government is trying to hold together a
society rapidly fragmenting into three opposing groups: the decreasing
number of ordinary citizens; the rapidly growing right-wing religious organisation (known as "The
Accord") and finally the "Listers", the hereditary unemployed on the
Edward Wolfe is a project manager for the Skellig Michael Institute.
His current project is a big one - to save Canada from its imminent
economic and social, and thereby to reduce the risk of the "Die-Back" -
the global collapse of civilisation. He's guided in every detail by
Helen, a massively competent Artificial Intelligence.
However, The situation on the ground is deteriorating very quickly into
chaos and violence. It's clear to Wolfe that it's time to think about
evacuation for himself and his staff. Worst of all, Helen's begun to
make some decisions which are logically and morally questionable, and
if Helen has gone rogue all is lost.
I often enjoy novels set after an economic or environmental collapse. I
enjoy smart AIs (probably since 2001) and their use can highlight how
humans think, However, I wasn't so keen on this book the first time I
read it: it didn't enthrall me, it was just a straight read-through and
while it was fairly entertaining, I put never anticipated rereading it.
What rather surprised me was that I enjoyed it to the same degree, in
fact possibly more, the second time I read it. Yes, it's OK. Not
great, but not so bad. Read it on a rainy weekend, or on a long flight.
Loaded on the 28th February 2001.