whodunit and the canton rep. robert harris and artificial intelligence
the only comment i'll be publishing today is my own. as part of a community blog page? section? the rep on line (canton's repository) has picked up this whodunit? blog. i'll let you all know when it will start appearing under the community blog heading in the repository. the main way to reach me will continue to be <http://bit.ly/OhAudrey>
the hype surrounding robert harris's the fear index has been intense. for example, the guardian calls it an ingenious financial thriller. it is. other reviews speak of hedge funds, algorithmic trading, etc.; about a book filled with acronyms: cern, emh, bf; and clothed in sophisticated language dotted with french, german, and other phrases. they almost frightened me away.
but you know what, the fear index is a fun, science fiction novel in the best sci/fi tradition. it is the dybbuk, frankenstein, jekyl and hyde brought up to date. our mad scientist (he isn't really mad, but traps are well laid around him to make him appear dangerously mentally ill) dr. alex hoffman is responsible for developing an artificial intelligence machine, called vixal4. the machine feeds on fear, hence the title of the novel. hoffman uses this machine to successfully predict financial markets.
ah, ha, those of you who have read or heard of any of the sci fi books mentioned above (and who hasn't?) will know that the machine will turn. i hope this isn't a spoiler for anyone who doesn't know that in our literary world that's what machines do, turn on their creators.
the novel takes place during twenty-four hours in switzerland, although there is a back story that we readers get piece by piece.
it helps if the reader knows a few financial terms, but those terms shouldn't be off-putting. you'll enjoy the novel if you enjoy a good science fiction mystery.