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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Evolution's Darling

Copyright 1999 by Scott Westerfield

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Awful (1/5)

I first read this in April 2001.

A powerful computer on board a spaceship achieves consciousness. Two hundred years, and a humanoid body later, it has developed a skill and reputation as a purchaser of fine art. It meets a very dangerous lady, Mira, who is also in search of works by the revered Vaddum, an artist thought long dead. A number of difficult situations are worked through and the story ends.

This was a disappointment. It was published in one of those bigger format paperbacks intended to subtly portray higher literary value. I should have waited until it came out in mass-market format, and probably resisted even then. "Polymorph" showed real promise and the subsequent "Fine Prey" achieved some of that. I expected "Evolution's Darling" to be even more satisfying. However, although a more accomplished work than the its predecesors, it lacked any tension and real excitement. In fact I'm so surprised that this book was such a disappointment that I've just picked it up and leafed through it again. My conclusion is that, yes, it's very skillfully written, but artifice has obscured purpose, and the emotion and tension has been lost.

What's it got: artificial intelligence achieving consciousness. That's about all I can remember a few days after reading it. Oh no, I forgot, there was also a lot of human-machine sex. Amazing that that almost slipped my mind.

Loaded on the 16th May 2001.
Cover of Evolution's Darling

Reviews of other works by Scott Westerfield:
Fine Prey
The Risen Empire