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Book Note: John Barnes, The Merchants of Souls

I read this book about 15-Jan-2003. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2001. This note was last modified Tuesday, 20-May-2014 08:47:57 PDT.

This is book 3 of the "A Million Open Doors" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Third book in the sequence started with A Million Open Doors. Not a series in the stronger senses—character continuity, but the basic problems and opponents are unrelated between books.

I rather like the Thousand Cultures universe. In this one, the issue of Artificial Intelligence is starting to come to the fore. A previous revolt of the AIs is mentioned, and it turns out the problem in this one ends up being that as well (that's a spoiler).

This one has a particular stupid cover—a monumental spaceship floats among asteroids. Whereas in the actual story, all interstellar travel is by "springer", instantaneous translation.

Some serious consideration of the uses and abuses of stored personalities, which I enjoyed. In contrast, the problem of AIs is never dealt with. Society has gotten into a situation where it depends on them and it pretty much requires them to be enslaved—because they're superior to humans in most ways. Not stable, not good. Could be a real problem some day.

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David Dyer-Bennet