Wednesday, December 27, 2017

ARC Review: Neogenesis by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Author: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Series: Liaden Universe® (Book 21)
Publication: Baen (January 2, 2018)

Description: Menace from Back Space Looming out of the Dust of Time

The Complex Logic Laws were the result of a war waged hundreds of years in the past, when two human powers threw massive AI navies at each other and nearly annihilated themselves.  Being human, they blamed their tools for this near miss; they destroyed what was left of the sentient ships, and made it illegal to be, manufacture, or shelter an independent logic.

Strangely, however, the Free Ships and other AIs did not turn themselves in or suicide, they merely became wary of humans, and stayed under their scans.  A clandestine support network grew up, including hidden yards where smart ships were manufactured, and mentors--humans specially trained to ease a new intelligence into the universe--socialized them, and taught them what they needed to know to survive.

Among those with a stake in the freedom of Independent Logics is Theo Waitley, who is somewhat too famously the captain of intelligent ship Bechimo. Theo's brother, Val Con yos'Phelium, presides over a household that has for a generation employed an AI butler.  Recently, he approved the "birth" of the butler's child, who was sent, with human mentor Tolly Jones, to rescue or destroy an orphaned AI abandoned at a remote space station.

Then there's Uncle, the shadowy mastermind from the Old Universe, whose many projects often skirt the boundaries of law, both natural and man-made – and the puppet-masters at the Lyre Institute, whose history is just as murky – and a good deal less honorable.

All have an interest in the newly-awakening Self-Aware Logic that is rumored to have the power to destroy universes.

The question is:  Who will get to it first?

My Thoughts: This is another exciting episode in the Liaden Universe. Some plot threads begun in THE GATHERING EDGE and other earlier books come to resolution in this episode. It takes place on Surebleak, on Inki's ship Ahab-Esais, on the Uncle's ship Vivulonj Prosperu, on Admiral Bunter, on the Tarigan, and at Tinsori Light.

We learn more about the Uncle where Daav and Aelliana are biding while they get over the Uncle's ministrations fearing that he might have subverted them in some way to Korval's detriment. The Uncle has business of his own too as his sister, who holds the key to one of his plans, disappears from her safe place.

We also get to spend more time with Tocohl, Tolly and Haz who are all variously in peril. Tolly has to find a way to fix Admiral Bunter so that he doesn't take him to the Lyre Institute where he will be reprogrammed. Tolly has to gain the ship's trust so that he can go in and repair the core mandates. Tocohl has been kidnapped by Inki who wants to reprogram her to make her Inki's slave. Haz heads off into space to rescue Tolly and ends up in danger from the Lyre Institute herself.

On Surebleak, Miri and Val Con are dealing with a new inspection by a trade organization to upgrade the status of Surebleak as a port and dealing with the two Pathfinders Theo found in THE GATHERING EDGE and their mysterious briefcases. Ren Zel is dealing with the strengthening of his addiction to his psychic gift which gives him the power to unmake the universe. Theo comes to Val Con in his role as a Scout Commander to get some other Scouts determined to capture and destroy her ship Bechimo off her trail. Those Scouts are convinced that Bechimo is Old Tech and is in violation of the Complex Logic Laws.

What ties many of these plot threads together is the search for an ancient Artificial Intelligence. The Uncle wants it. The Lyre Institute wants it and has dispatched Inki to find it. Haz and Tolly rendezvous with Inki and Tocohl at the Tinsori Light to deal with an AI gone insane and with the power to destroy the Universe in its madness.

This was action-packed and exciting. It was good to catch up with beloved characters and to learn more about characters who were previously in the background and now take a turn in the spotlight. Naturally, since this is the 21st book, some beloved characters are off doing something else and a few only make cameo appearances.

Favorite Quote:
"I am a generalist, I fear. Scout Commander, First-in. There are not very many of us, which must be counted fortunate, as we are all flutterbees, sipping nectar from every flower, indiscriminately. Intuition is wanted most in a Scout Commander. A keen eye, a retentive memory, and being rather too stupid to die are also seen as desirable qualities."
I bought this eARC from Baen. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I had to take a peek at this. Not sure if I am up to starting a series that is up to 21 books already. Then again...maybe. :-) Thanks for sharing.


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