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I’m Cold, Dave

November 24, 2012

Time is ticking indeed.  I’m in the edit mode for “Lion and the Scorpion,” with breaks taken for other things including “Come Dark O’Clock.”  But I do need to get “Less Than” closer to the finish line soon.  Had a scare in the Times when I saw the email preview of a review in the Sunday Book Review, which described the novel “A Working Theory of Love” that said “This first novel centers on a race to make computers seem more human.”

O shit o shit o shit I thought, I’m too late, someone beat me to it, I took too long.  Also the author is much better looking than I am which is just as important in determining which book beats the other in the market.

Imagine my relief when I read that while some of the book revolves around the protagonist’s effort to beat the Turing Test, incorporating his dead father’s 5,000 page diary into the AI,

while this is a very accomplished novel, it feels a bit as if Hutchins has given short shrift to its most original and exciting element: the philosophical struggle with the Turing test. The scenes in which the researchers volley with “Dr. Bassett” are the most electrifying in the book, and even though the journey through family history and the story of Neill’s romantic and sexual escapades are beautifully written and consistently engaging, I found myself eager to get back to the undead doctor, who in his halting, awkward fashion is the most affecting character in the book — much the way his direct ancestor HAL was the most lifelike character in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Whew.  So I imagine this reviewer would like Alex a lot better.  Now all I have to do is finish the story.

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