An ambitious professor bets his life on a bid to abolish uncertainty, but when an entropic alien stresses the Machine’s computing power to its absolute limit, he faces an impossible dilemma as everything begins crumbling around him.
A grizzled war veteran comes to the Machine to fade away. His hopes for a quiet retirement are shattered when his ship implodes, stranding everyone on the Machine, and he finds love at the edge of the half-finished artificial planetoid.
A homesick science graduate becomes the unlikely hero when he saves a man from predetermined suicide — but he must then master gravity in a desperate attempt to save a thousand more people, including three cyborg madammes of excellent pedigree.
A fifty-year-old widow in an ageless body tries to escape the horror of her husband’s death only to find his charred remains 40,000 light-years from where he died. As chaos erupts and more people attempt to kill themselves on the Machine, she becomes the reluctant leader of the desperate castaways as they all clash in the battle between entropy and determinism.
The Gnosis Machine is built to predict everything, but in the end, will it be able to foresee — and prevent — its own fate?
There are a myriad of characters in the book. Fair warning I did not like the Professor one wit. The man was such a Machiavellian to his core with ideals of grandeur and an arrogance that is similar to John Hammond in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park without the visionary feel. Thankfully he is one among many character, including the spontaneous and ambitious Douglas Morgan and budding scientist Jason. My favorite characters and interactions by far are those that involve Sunny (Douglas’s adoptive daughter) and the righteous Captain. I also very much liked Maribella. She had a backbone and a tragic story, but she had her head on right…can’t say that for all the other characters. And the spontaneous alien – I won’t say much there for fear I’ll give too much away on the shape shifting alien. There were a few times I was a little lost as to which point of view I was in, but it usually was when they were all together and it didn’t take long to straighten out.
After a rough start (It was difficult listening to the professor right at the beginning) this book quickly grabbed hold of me and I just had to know how it ended! I had to know what caused the explosion and how the author was going to resolve the conflict. I could see so many different paths stretching out from the single plot point. This is the primary reason I enjoyed this book so much – the way in which the author weaved the characters and plot together where you kept guessing what was going to come next!
Most disappointing part of the book was so much left unresolved. I wasn’t fully satisfied with how the author left things – even with the additional twist at the end. Which sort of explains the abruptness of the ending, but I’m not sure if it was satisfactory based on the content of the rest of the book. I’m afraid to say much more than humans will be humans and uncertainty and fear will drive even the best people to do terrible things. But with the destruction and chaos there is also progresses and beauty.
This book will challenge you and make you question every step of the way what is right and what is real. That is the true strength of the book. I expect this author will only grow with each book – I suspect this is not his first book either. I could see the effortless ability to weave in multiple points of view together in a clever way. Now if only he had just nailed an ending that made sense and wrapped everything up a little better.
This was very character driven with multiple characters taking front and center. Mostly it was easy to follow along and the writing was satisfactory, although at times excessively wordy. My biggest surprise was that this was a ‘hard’ sci-fi with lots of interesting angles and scientific information, but it was mixed in with simplistic language like variations on ‘looked.’ I started tracking it about 25% of the way through when two ‘looked’ showed up on a single page (on an smartphone sized screen) and by the end I had amassed over 60 of them. It was difficult to merry such simplistic language with such advanced scientific ideas, a world which was built in such a way that I felt it could actually happen.
This book was a real treat. Amusing, scientific, and with interesting characters submerged into a mind-bending plot.
This is a voluntary review.