Menace from Back Space Looming out of the Dust of Time
The Complex Logic Laws were the result of a war waged hundreds of years in the past, when two human powers threw massive AI navies at each other and nearly annihilated themselves. Being human, they blamed their tools for this near miss; they destroyed what was left of the sentient ships, and made it illegal to be, manufacture, or shelter an independent logic.
Strangely, however, the Free Ships and other AIs did not turn themselves in or suicide, they merely became wary of humans, and stayed under their scans. A clandestine support network grew up, including hidden yards where smart ships were manufactured, and mentors--humans specially trained to ease a new intelligence into the universe--socialized them, and taught them what they needed to know to survive.
Among those with a stake in the freedom of Independent Logics is Theo Waitley, who is somewhat too famously the captain of intelligent ship Bechimo. Theo's brother, Val Con yos'Phelium, presides over a household that has for a generation employed an AI butler. Recently, he approved the "birth" of the butler's child, who was sent, with human mentor Tolly Jones, to rescue or destroy an orphaned AI abandoned at a remote space station.
Then there's Uncle, the shadowy mastermind from the Old Universe, whose many projects often skirt the boundaries of law, both natural and man-made – and the puppet-masters at the Lyre Institute, whose history is just as murky – and a good deal less honorable.
All have an interest in the newly-awakening Self-Aware Logic that is rumored to have the power to destroy universes.
The question is: Who will get to it first?
At the publisher’s request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).
This enjoyable latest installment of the long-running Liaden space adventure saga, featuring the ever-resourceful Clan Korval and their eclectic allies, picks up on the simultaneous and parallel story lines of Alliance of Equals (2016) and The Gathering Edge (2017). Theo Waitley, captain of the intelligent ship Bechimo, arrives at the clan home on Surebleak with a ship that once belonged to Korval's founder, accompanied by a pair of superhuman Yxtrang Pathfinders in search of a new purpose. Meanwhile, mentor Tolley Jones, newly birthed AI Tocohl, and their companion Hazenthull must contend with the intelligent, potentially dangerous space station Tinsori Light, an artifact from a previous universe that has been corrupted by age and circumstance. Finally, returning protagonist Daav yos'Phelium, a major figure in Clan Korval, and his lifemate, Aelliana Caylon, cope with their recent cloning, which has de-aged them and placed them in debt to the mysterious Uncle. As always, this intelligent space opera focuses on matters of manners, honor, duty, and clever repartee; violence is rarely the solution, and subtlety wins out over overt force. This tale relies heavily on previous entries, and new readers will be lost. For returning fans, it provides thoroughly satisfying progression or resolution for multiple threads and will feel comfortably familiar for fans of Korval's escapades.