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Utopia: A Thriller

A book by Lincoln Child

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A roller-coaster thriller ... literally!

  • Sep 4, 2010
Dr Andrew Warne is a brilliant computer engineer with some very avant garde theories in the field of artificial intelligence and robotic learning. Warne's hardware designs and his cutting edge software - "The MetaNet", an operating system that allows large numbers of robots loosely tied together in a common network to operate quasi-autonomously and to learn and improve from their day to day activities - have been used to create the wildly successful theme park "Utopia" located in the Nevada desert. Following in the tradition of Disney World's "kingdoms" but light years beyond in conception and execution, Utopia uses a fanciful, creative blend of technology, engineering, holographs, robots, set design and special effects to create an astonishingly, indeed almost frighteningly realistic set of worlds in which awe-struck patrons can enjoy a completely immersive experience - Victorian England, Camelot, a spaceport, a turn of the century American boardwalk seaport in the style of Atlantic City and a re-creation of Atlantis, still under construction!

When a series of bizarre accidents, injuries and even fatalities occur in the park, circumstances seem to point the finger of blame at problems in the MetaNet and Warne is summoned by Sarah Boatwright, Utopia's CEO, to supervisor the dismantling of his pet creation. Naturally, this does not sit well with Warne and he strenuously insists there is nothing wrong with the network. With the assistance of the park robotics expert, Theresa Bonifacio, he hurriedly struggles through a forensic hunt for the proverbial needle in a computer haystack and frantically debugs his code virtually line by line. As a very nasty chap, who styles himself John Doe, enters the park and calmly attempts the extortion of a copy of the park's invaluable state-of-the-art holographic software threatening the lives of Utopia's 65,000 guests, it now seems clear that Utopia has been the target of a well coordinated team of terrorist thieves - including very sophisticated hacking and tampering with the MetaNet.

The next four hours erupt into a non-stop series of adrenalin charged confrontations with the terrorist team as the good guys attempt to foil the thieves' escape with the software CD and their plot to explode the dome covering Utopia which would almost certainly kill thousands of innocent guests.

"Utopia" is a techno-thriller, the first (and quite clearly very successful) solo effort by Lincoln Child, one half of the Child/Preston duo famous for their Aloysius Pendergast series that started with "Relic". Child has enough output behind him that it is safe to label the style of this novel as vintage - wonderful characterization, enough romance to be heartwarming without indulging in even a hint of prurient sex or sappiness, and high speed action juxtaposed with a number of technical explanatory sidebars that explain, inform and educate on a wide variety of topics that, almost magically, seem to happen without slowing the action and the novel's pacing and plot.

Highly recommended for those that love their thrillers (and Child's next book "Deep Storm" is just as good!)

Paul Weiss

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More Utopia: A Thriller reviews
review by . March 02, 2004
If you are old enough, you may remember a movie named Westworld as well as the sequel. In the movie, a theme park had been created allowing park visitors to experience the past thanks to fully functioning state of the art robots. Robots so real that they passed for human. Everything worked wonderfully and the park was a success until the robots started malfunctioning, attacking and killing guests.If Lincoln Child had stopped there with his idea of the novel "UTOPIA" the book would have been nothing …
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Paul Weiss ()
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   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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It takes a lot of chutzpah to give your novel the same title as one of the most famous novels in the history of English-language literature, even if the original novel didn't spawn a literary field or two (utopian and dystopian fiction) or become an everyday term for the perfect place to live on Earth. Yet there's a postmodern appropriateness to applying the titleUtopiato a novel set in a theme park that uses cutting-edge technology to create Earth's most desirable fantasy place to visit. LikeWestworldandJurassic Park, Lincoln Child'sUtopiais a near-future theme-park thriller, and like Michael Crichton, Child delivers an abundance of white-knuckle thrills, chills, and shocks.

Despite its remote location in the Nevada desert, the Utopia theme park receives 65,000 visitors daily. They never dream their lives may be in any real danger. However, some of the self-programming robots are becoming erratic, so park administrators quietly bring the robots' brilliant creator from the East Coast to fix the problem before it gets any worse. Dr. Andrew Warne brings his daughter, for he doesn't believe there is anything wrong with his creations. But on the day of their arrival, a mysterious band of ruthless criminals infiltrates not only the park, but its computerized systems. The unknown terrorists appear to control everything, from the simplest robot to the most dangerous ride. And if their demands aren't met, thousands of innocent park-goers will be killed. --Cynthia Ward

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ISBN-10: 0385506686
ISBN-13: 978-0385506687
Author: Lincoln Child
Publisher: Doubleday

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