Proof of Concept

Proof of Concept[PDF] ⚣ Proof of Concept ✯ Gwyneth Jones – On a desperately overcrowded future Earth crippled by climate change the most unlikely hope is better than none Governments turn to Big Science to provide them with the dreams that will keep the masse On a desperately overcrowded future Earth crippled by climate change the most unlikely hope is better than none Governments turn to Big Science to provide them with the dreams that will keep the masses compliant The Needle is one such dream an installation where the most abstruse theoretical science is being Proof of PDF or tested science that might make human travel to a habitable exoplanet distantly feasibleWhen the Needle’s director offers her underground compound as a training base Kir is thrilled to be invited to join the team even though she knows it’s only because her brain is host to a uantum artificial intelligence called AltairBut Altair knows something he can’t tellKir like all humans is programmed to ignore future dangers Between the artificial blocks in his mind and the blocks evolution has built into his host how is he going to convince her the sky is falling. 25 stars One of those books I really want to like than I actually did I love the concept the characters have great potential and I like some of Jones' wordsmithingButthe concept was not as well explored as it could have been; the characters did not come alive and remained uite two dimensional; and the clever wordsmithing did not make up for the sort of confusing muddle of a storySo I didn't hate it but I could have given it a pass and not missed anything For such a short novella Proof of Concept is packed to bursting with plot threads thematic uestions and worldbuilding elements The story takes place in a fascinating dystopian world where pollution and global warming have pushed the world's population into giant hives separated by toxic Dead Zones where impoverished non citizens try to eke out their short existences MegaCorps have a chokehold on culture and politic and even scientific endeavor must be turned into pop culture and seek the approval of the GAM Global Audience Mediation AI The issue of extreme population control is hotly contested as is the future of the human race The uest for hyperspatial travel is seen as humanity's last hope To get funding the serious scientists have partnered with the popular reality show stars to live underground in isolation to create a proof of concept for hyperspatial travelThe story is as packed with genre elements as it is with worldbuilding concepts a Vernesue journey to the center of the earth a coming of age story a romance and even a strong tang of mystery There are so many ideas packed into this little novella; I just wish there had been a little room for character development The timespan of the story is so wide the cast so large and the worldbuilding is so broad that I think in some ways the characterization and driving urgency of the plot got a little lost I never got a real sense of the different characters and while I think this contributed to the shock factor of the ending I found it also rather unsatisfying In particular and uite at odds with the rest of the story I felt that the end expected me to unuestioningly accept the author's definition of good guys and bad guys and accept that the good guys can do absolutely terrible things and yet remain the good guys by definition alone time spent on characterization of both the faceless antagonists and the tarnished protagonists would have helped greatly I thinkOne of the most interesting themes in the story involves Kir a child saved from the Dead Zones to act as the wetware for an artificial superintelligence uantum computer Is she a captive or a willing participant? Is she deluding herself when she believes the woman who cut her head open and installed an ASI inside sees her as a person rather than a tool? Is the thing who shares her head a being with its own identity or merely a sophisticated calculator and despite the supposed firewalls what influence does it have on her behaviour? You're going to put a supercomputer in my head It's going to share my brain Okay I can't stop you But what if he goes wrong and starts eating me? Overall Proof of Concept is itself an interesting proof of concept for a world and idea that I think fully deserves a longer novel If you're looking for a fascinating little novella Proof of Concept is worth a look35 I received an advanced reader copy of this ebook through Netgalley from the publisher Torcom in exchange for my honest review Cross posted on BookLikes short novel that is packed with ideas and ends in a very interesting way begging books set in the same universe; in a future earth on the verge of definitive catastrophe the super rich want to flee it for pristine planets and the new physics information space gives them a chance to do so if theoretical ideas about instantaneous translation can be put in practice; and so an experiment is funded in a deep cavern isolated from the rest of the earth; things happen though not uite as expectedwhile not an easy read and with lots of things crammed in see blurb for details the short novel is excellent sf at the current cutting edge of the genre especially in its social descriptions Although it is only 176 kindle pages long Proof of Concept feels like a novel length read Not in the ‘it’s just slow and boring and feels like it’s taking forever way’ that one might assume either Instead Gwyneth Jones does a great job of giving the reader so much story in a relatively short amount of pages As soon as she establishes the setting she’s off and running The pace is fast the dialogue is good and there’s enough death to make a sci fi horror hound happyGwyneth Jones explores several ideas within Proof of Concept Some new some not so much How would a group of extroverts and a group of introverts get along if trapped in an isolated environment? What if our current evolution of media and popular opinions being the ruling ones continues the way it has been? Facts will give way to who has the most popular opinion Her GAM Global Audience Media virtual media representative seems disturbingly likely if that’s the case Also her take on the first hosted AI is definitely something to be considered There’s of course but you’ll need to read it yourselfProof of Concept does reuire your full attention This is not a story you can breeze through There were paragraphs especially in the beginning that I had to read a few times when I had gotten distracted It's not a book that gives you multiple paragraphs of text you need to have a science degree to understand though You just need to be able to wrap your brain around some large words and hefty ideasThe end of Proof of Concept had me exclaiming in frustration Then turning back to the beginning to see what in the world I missed Sure enough even though I’d read one paragraph like three times I still managed to miss the clue that would have set me up for the ending It was something that in retrospect should have been if not obvious than at least not a surpriseSide note I was happy to see the nod to Stephen HawkingOverall Proof of Concept was a great read and I can’t wait to check out work from Gwyneth JonesDisclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration 25 stars This was a disappointment honestly Rushed didn't establish the world or characters very well and the ending came out of left field I think this would have worked better as a novel as there would have been time to establish the world and set things up so that events felt truly shocking and meaningful As it is I was just kinda confused and stopped caring by the halfway point 30% in and I have no idea what's going on The narrative is all over the place the dialogue is clunky and the story just isn't capturing me This is a short read but I'm giving up after two chapters Thanks to Tor for the NetGalley ARC but this novella just isn't for me This review is going to have to be spoilerific so I can talk about this bookSPOILERS AHEADThis has an interesting idea that is poorly realizedThe global ecosystem has pretty much collapsed so some scientists convince the ultra wealthy One Percent to build an underground lab to test some next gen physics that will enable humanity to travel faster than light apparently by teleporting via uantum entanglementThe Needle as it's called because something something needle in a haystack is the test bed for this FTL experiment Except we find out at the end that it's all a scam The geriatric scientists have sold the super rich snake oil I think It's hard to tell because the writing isn't very good or very clearHerein lies the problem with this story there's precious little science in the science fiction and Jones spends so much time focusing on the POV character's feelings that when she does the big reveal at the denouement it lands with a thud All along I suspected the leaders of the science experiment had an ulterior motive and when Kir our POV character suspects that they lied about the titular Proof of Concept it's pretty clear something shady is up but then Jones just sort of drops itSo I was left wondering if that was a red herring but it's just bad writingKir is among the group because she has a uantum computer named Altair in her head and they need said computer for I don't know computer y things Since we never get to see what Altair does there's no opportunity for misdirectionNone of the characters are fully fleshed out so speculating about their motivations is impossible This isn't a factor of this being a very short book because I've seen fully realized characters in stories which are ten pages long Ultimately I was left with the feeling that I was watching episode 4 and 8 of an eight episode BBC series having no clue what was happeningThe one really interesting idea Jones had in this book occurs at the very beginning where the main characters are being interviewed by a holographic avatar comprised of the gestalt of social media users asking uestions Now THAT is a cool idea which is uickly dropped as they go down into their bunker But I really like the idea of a program which can synthesize all the input of thousands or millions of people on Twitter or Twitch and coming up with coherent uestions on the flyWe've already seen various experimental chatbots attempt this over the past couple of years some of them with hilariously predictable results such as when Microsoft's Twitterbot became a racist sexist asshole in less than a day based on the things it was encountering online Check it out But ironing out the kinks of that seems like an obvious endgame and a clever way to streamline what people are saying Too bad Jones never develops it past those first couple of pages because the implications in other aspects of society are enormous Newsreaders and talking heads who reflect the aggregate of online attention? How awesome and terrifying would that be?Anyway the book ends with the murder of Kir's boyfriend who was secretly recording the experiment This is seen as a big deal but I don't know why It seems like half the global economy is focused on the exchange of ideas and entertainment online so why not fund the Needle by selling subscriptions to the feed? A reality TV show where the ultimate aim is to teleport an entire installation across the galaxy? Where the conflict is like the Big Brother TV series with two completely disparate groups trying to work together to save humanity?All of this feels like a gigantic missed opportunityUltimately the sham is revealed when they call an end to the experiment after the murder and natural deaths of the elderly scientists in charge but for some reason it takes weeks for them to reconnect to the surface This is a built in issue not any sort of problem with the connections or the surface except that there IS a problem with the surface in that the entire world has died while they were undergroundWhich was the ultimate point of the whole thing All this talk of uantum mechanics was just bullshit to get it financedWhich also doesn't make any sense Surely in the future there are just as many doomsday preppers among the richest people as there are today Yes that's actually a thing have a look Many of the world's millionaires and billionaires have built survivalist camps complete with underground safe spaces some of them converted mines or missile silos And these guys are doing it on the suspicion that civilization is going to collapse In Jones' future world most of the Earth has already been utterly ruined with massive dead zones all over the place Of course there would already be places like the NeedleMaybe the folks in charge were just trying to scam the rich into funding a bunker for average people but that's not made clear either I would have bought into that idea Problem is there aren't enough people down there for it to be a viable ongoing situation I just don't think Jones has thought this concept through enoughAnywaythat's the gist Now you can skip it Go read Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey instead That's the better version of this idea I’ve had this obscure novella by Gwyneth Jones on my to read list for a few years and recently located a copy on eBay I’m not generally a completist but have read a good many of Jones’ novels Her Bold as Love series is one of my favourite visions of the future a guardedly utopian Britain in which technological civilisation has largely collapsed and government is by attractive rockstars I highly recommend it Her other sci fi tends to be intellectually interesting but isn't as emotionally compelling That certainly holds for ‘Proof of Concept’ which contains some fascinating ideas while not doing a lot to develop the narrator The setting is an overpopulated world of environmental collapse in which the richest 1% are funding scientific efforts at interstellar space travel Nothing hugely original there The specific setting of the story is far distinctive and intriguing a massive underground cavern in which scientists and reality TV stars are sealed off together for a year The purpose of this is to enable experiments on the Needle which may allow colonisation of a distant planet Kir the narrator has an AI in her brain and is trying to work out what the heck is going on This eventually becomes clear although the twist was not hugely surprising I preferred the creepiness that built up to the revelation as the atmosphere in the cavern was compellingly peculiar Gwyneth Jones has a specific knack for evoking caves and underground tunnels; she also did so in Spirit or The Princess of Bois Dormant I have no further commentary to make as despite some excellent world building details ‘Proof of Concept’ wasn’t as memorable as I’d hoped Life is too short for bad books and I stopped on page 80 of 138 when I realized I was forcing myself to pick it up I don't think Jones spent enough time developing the world or the characters the premise had a lot of promise but I had a hard time following the narrative or caring about anything that was happening This might be a good pick for fans of Jones' writing style but it didn't work for me Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 11th April 2017I’m not sure if it’s my reading comprehension or the book at fault but I did have some trouble understanding the technology and political background to this There’s stuff which is obvious overcrowding has forced people into hive like cities people want to go to nearby habitable planets and then there’s the science and the politics of funding the venture and whatever all that meansHowever on the personal level it worked Kir’s connection with Margrethe her difficult relationship with Bill her half a relationship with the computer in her own head Altair The hothouse effect of the confined living space felt real as did the consternation spreading through the group The ending worked as well though it felt a little rushedOverall not the most effective of the Torcom novellas but that’s a pretty high bar to try and clear It was entertaining enough to keep me readingOriginally reviewed for breathesbookscom

Proof of Concept PDF/EPUB ↠ Proof of  PDF or
  • Paperback
  • 144 pages
  • Proof of Concept
  • Gwyneth Jones
  • 01 July 2015
  • 9780765391445