As seen on Stumptown Books
I stumbled across this online novel last month and didn't read anything about it, but just hopped right in. It is available for free here
, although I recommend transferring it to an e-reader device if you can as it is rather long. You can also support the author through Amazon
, which offers both a Kindle and paperback edition.
There is a disclaimer at the top that proclaims: "This online novel contains strong language and extreme depictions of acts of sex and violence. Readers who are sensitive to such things should exercise discretion." I really
should have paid more attention to it. This novel begins with an extremely graphic and disturbing sequence, and although it then gets down into the meat of the story, the last chapter brings back all the disgustingness again. All the weird sex and deaths were completely gratuitous, and it colored my enjoyment.
Much of the story reflects Asimov's The Last Question
(which I highly recommend and is available for free here
), but in a much darker and depressing way. I love Artificial Intelligence stories and the ideas in The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect
were not only different and interesting, but had me questioning my own hope for the future. What if an A.I. is capable of creating a perfect Utopia where you can do anything, you never die, but you also never truly live? Is it worth it? I hate having the scales fall from my eyes but this book did a great job of questioning whether an A.I. is a good thing. I just wish it could have been done with less guts, incest, and zombie sex along the way.
I thought about Asimov a lot while reading this book, as it not only reminds me of the short story mentioned above but also echos Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics as put forward in I, Robot
. I love the Three Laws and love books interpreting them to the best of their ability. In this case however, I felt that the laws were manipulated to create the problem. One of the most brilliant aspects of I, Robot
is that at the end the robots have completely taken over but humanity is unaware of it
. I found this to be so terrifying and awe-inspiring at the same time. In the case of Metamorphosis
, a robot takes over and lords it over humanity every chance it gets. I didn't enjoy this interpretation of the Laws, as humanity being unaware is what makes the whole A.I. taking over thing pack a huge punch. I wanted Prime Intellect (the name of the A.I.) to be...I don't know, MORE. Instead it is capable of being caught in a logic loop. With all of humanity riding on your back, the last thing I want is for the computer to get stuck in a logic loop.
Would I recommend it? I would say yes, with a grain of salt. The imagery really is very disturbing. You need to be very aware of that before embarking on this novel. Otherwise, it raised some valid questions and was also well written, in edition to being a self-published work, which I always like to applaud!