Artificial intelligence, arson and a tumultuous father-son relationship— oh, and this is a novel that could be classified as a romance, did I mention?

“I like to think I have a scientific disposition, that I’m open to hypotheses and don’t walk into every room with my nose clothespinned with assumptions. I cherish evidence.”

page 24

As a divorced 30-something, Neill Bassett works at artificial intelligence company Amiante Systems, helping build an intelligent computer by inputting his late father’s diaries. He is set in his daily routine of life and work until he meets Rachel. Drawn to the much younger high school dropout at the same time as the computer begins to exhibit part of his father’s personality, Neill is forced to start reexamining his relationships.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Geeky isn’t the first thought that would jump to my mind, but as the main character, Neill Bassett, believes he has a “scientific disposition” even if he has no scientific background, I feel that this book has a “geeky disposition” even if it isn’t inherently geeky.

Set in the Silicon Valley, the novel tries to examine the meaning of human relationships, and one of the ways it explores this concept is through the use of artificial intelligence and a computer that is designed to beat the Turing test.

Rating (4 stars)

This novel barely squeaked by with a four. In fact, if I think about it again, I’d probably flip-flop back to a three. After all, it dragged and I felt like the novel took itself much to seriously.

It earns its four from the occasional brilliant moments that pop out on the page and kept me reading. The occasional geeky moments and comic phrases were enjoyable. I took a trip to San Francisco recently and liked revisiting the city through the novel.

If you are looking for something deeper about the human condition, would love to explore San Francisco and enjoy tidbits of geekiness, than this book is for you.