Factoring Humanity

A book by Robert J. Sawyer

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Sawyer at his best!

  • Oct 7, 2004
Each Sawyer book I have read seems to outdo the previous one. This is no exception. It has a little of everything including family drama, unethical medical practices, alien messages, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, the collective human "overmind," with a few consortiums of individuals that are trying to "buy off" scientific discoveries, being thrown into the mix. . Sawyer has a talent for presenting complex scientific theories in an interesting fashion. Each book seems to hint at answers to the most perplexing human questions such as what is the meaning of life, do we have a soul, how did the universe start, and are there extraterrestrials?

I remember the Arthur C. Clarke book "Light of Other Days" in which humans are able to view any event in history, therefore eliminating secrecy and privacy. This book shows another way of accomplishing the same thing. However, Sawyer's tale seems a lot more probable.

The book begins a little bit slow, but once you have read about 50 pages you will read the last 300 in possibly one sitting. Sawyer is starting to convince me that he is the best scifi writer out there!

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Factoring Humanitywill undoubtedly satisfy Sawyer fans, as well as those looking for positive-future scenarios à la Carl Sagan'sContact. Rather than a galactic vision of war and peace, this novel is localized in the extreme: the plot revolves around Heather, a psychology professor struggling to decipher extraterrestrial messages, and her estranged husband, Kyle, on the brink of the biggest computer science breakthrough of all time. What makesFactoring Humanitywork is that Sawyer deals with vast ideas such as alien contact, quantum mechanics, and the human overmind, but does so to a deeply personal effect.

Sawyer, like many writers of near-future science fiction, has an unfortunate tendency to be too rooted in today, to make so many casual references to our present that they draw undue attention to themselves, making it difficult for the reader to suspend disbelief. This fascination with 20th-century pop culture crowds the real story and real details into a corner and underscores an apparent lack of creativity in painting future landscapes. Otherwise, and forgiving Sawyer's breathtakingly myopic view of Native Canadians and rather bland prose, this is exciting, readable science fiction that will take you where no one has gone before--and you'll never forget the ending. --Jhana Bach --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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ISBN-10: 0765309033
ISBN-13: 978-0765309037
Author: Robert J. Sawyer
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Orb Books
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