Desert Isle Keeper
The Phoenix Code
Dr. Megan O’Flannery is an expert in the field of artificial intelligence, particularly where androids are concerned. When MindSim offers her the chance to head the team developing a prototype, she jumps at the chance – even though it means isolating herself in an underground lab in Nevada with only an android, Aris, for companionship.
Needing a robotics expert, Megan is able to convince the leader in the field, Dr. Raj Sundaram, to come help her. Soon Megan is dealing with her attraction to Raj and the suddenly hostile Aris, who has changed his name to Ander. She’s torn between whom to trust, the being she’s helped create or the man she’s falling in love with. Her life may depend on making the right choice.
Asaro goes into detail about artificial intelligence. As someone whose college chemistry professor actually encouraged to major in English because I was such a failure at science, I never once felt overwhelmed or lost. I was very interested in the discussion of the ethical dilemma about the rights of a being who looks human and has gained self-awareness, but is still technically just a machine.
Raj and Ander are interesting and complicated characters. Both are socially stunted individuals. Raj has developed many eccentricities to deal with a rough childhood and a staggering intelligence that makes others uncomfortable. Ander is constrained by his lack of experience in the outside world to set guidelines for the vast amounts of information stored in his brain. How both these men handle the situation into which they are thrust is fascinating to watch.
In comparison to them, Megan pales. We learn less about her, which makes her decisions hard to understand. I was especially skeptical when she continues to trust one member of the trio when he apparently goes rogue. Her trust appears gullible in the face of so much evidence that he is dangerous. Fortunately this is the only drawback to the story.
With a surprise ending that will leave the reader with more questions about where advances in science will take us, Asaro wraps up a great story that will stick with you long after you turn the last page.