Select one of the keywords
The Kraken Project    by Douglas Preston order for
Kraken Project
by Douglas Preston
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Melissa Shepard is a brilliant programmer who's developed an artificial intelligence that is able to problem solve as the situation arises. This feature will spell the difference between the success or failure of NASA's mission to explore Titan, one of Saturn's moons and a viable habitat for extraterrestrial life.

Unfortunately, once the AI, aka Dorothy, becomes aware of her fate - it's a one way mission during which she will ultimately be destroyed - she initiates what turns into a catastrophic escape and disappears into the Internet.

Enter former CIA agent, Wyman Ford, who's tasked to help track down the escaped artificial intelligence with its not always cooperative creator, Melissa. Working against time and a billionaire with his own plans for Dorothy, Wyman and Melissa begin their relentless search for an artificial intelligence that has no intention of being controlled and whose retribution might well go global.

The initial plot of Preston's latest is intriguing, but the moment Dorothy goes rogue, the story's credibility falls apart. She runs amok in half a dozen different directions, doling out deadly retribution, throwing tantrums, or making temperamental decisions. She even spends some time looking for Jesus and the meaning of life while enemies are closing in from all sides. Ultimately, and unbelievably, she trusts her fate to a twelve-year-old boy whose own situation and mental state are rather unstable. I just couldn't buy into an artificial intelligence behaving like an angry teenager.

As for Melissa and Wyman, they never do more than have phone conversations with Dorothy and often (and literally) take repeated wrong turns at Albuquerque in their quest to find and corral the escaped AI. I couldn't warm to either of them, particularly Melissa, whose combative nature seems to have been programmed into Dorothy.

Preston's idea had promise but like Wyman and Melissa, the plot definitely took more than a few wrong turns on the way to Albuquerque.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more SF books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews