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posted by LaminatorX on Friday February 21 2014, @09:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-hope-I-can-get-this-story-break-right dept.

toygeek writes:

"'John Watson, PhD student, husband and father to be, struggles to keep his research and career goals on track as he discovers strange anomalies in his artificial intelligence system. His dreams begin to unravel when the system becomes targeted by malicious hackers, greedy corporations and someone inside the university. John and his expecting wife Sarah must protect their future as his research professor threatens to pull the plug on a decade of work when the system begins behaving in ways that John can't quite fully explain.'

Just released in December, this first novel by Fisher Samuels was thoroughly enjoyable."

(Read More for the full review)

It's probably fair to say that I am right smack in the middle of the target audience of this book. I'm a dyed in the wool geek in his late 30's, and an IT professional since my teens. One thing I'm not though is a programmer. The book spoke about programming, but it's very light on technical details, which I was quite glad for. If I wanted those, I'd be picking up a different kind of book, most likely with a camel or llama on the front. While a bit more technical than your average mystery thriller, the areas it touched on were not overwhelming, and to be blunt if someone didn't understand them, they would be able to infer their meaning from context. The most important parts of the story were non-technical in nature for the most part. Even contextual idea of the subject would be enough to allow someone to keep going and still enjoy the story. And enjoy the story I did!

John Watson is very likable and easy going. He is also a consummate geek; so much so that I encouraged my wife to read the book because it so well describes what it's like! I felt an immediate camaraderie with the character, and was able to relate to his emotions and fears easily. The story had some very good twists, turns, and delights. The end came, and I was quite satisfied with how it all turned out. I am very much looking forward to Mr. Samuels's next book!

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by visaris on Friday February 21 2014, @09:40PM

    by visaris (2041) on Friday February 21 2014, @09:40PM (#4563) Journal
    "John Watson, PhD student, husband and father to be, struggles to keep his research and career goals on track as he discovers strange anomalies in his artificial intelligence system. [...]"

    I was a PHD student once... I think it's typical for your research to be your active career goal. Now if only he focused his sentient artificial intelligence system on the task of finishing his dissertation, he may have actually graduated on time...
  • (Score: 0, Redundant) by LAngeOliver on Friday February 21 2014, @10:08PM

    by LAngeOliver (1355) on Friday February 21 2014, @10:08PM (#4573) Homepage

    ...will read that book!

    --
    Decode your health [biogeniq.ca]
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @05:05AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @05:05AM (#4695)

      > ...will read that book!

      Looks like a book I'd enjoy too, but it appears to be only available for Kindle. Since I refuse to do business with Amazon*, I guess I won't be reading it anytime soon. Can anyone find this book from another vendor?

      Blatant thread hijack --
      * I'm the co-author of several engineering reference books. They have been accepted in our specialty, continue to sell ~1000 copies a year, and are reprinted every few years (one is currently in 14th printing). Pricing is at the low end of this kind of book, the 900 page book lists at USD $100 and the 600 pager at USD $70. They have a quality sewn binding and I've seen well-used copies from 15+ years ago that are still holding up well.

            From time to time, our publisher tries to stand up to unreasonable pricing demands (ie, over 60% discount from list price) or other commercial demands of Amazon. A typical result (retribution!) has been that Amazon lists our books as "probably out of print" or similar. Other times Amazon or affiliates offer used copies at 2x or 3x the current list price. Note: At no time have the books been out of print, they have always been available from the publisher's online store (connected to a technical society).

            Since they have established themselves as "having every book", when Amazon hints "out of print" this has an immediate chilling effect on sales. I've even received panic emails from potential customers asking if I have stockpiled any copies that I could sell directly.

            Bottom line, Amazon is hell on small independent & specialty publishers.

      • (Score: 1) by maxwell demon on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:30AM

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:30AM (#4739) Journal

        Well, I'd not buy a kindle-only book anyway, because there's no way I'd buy a kindle (proprietary Amazon-only format, 1984), but that's an interesting point.

        In Germany, the "Buchpreisbindung" prevents much of that (the bookstore — including Amazon — simply isn't allowed by law to sell the book at any other price than the list price (there are still tricks to get around that restriction, like selling a perfectly good copy as "Mängelexemplar" (defective exemplar), but still, that's quite limited).

        Of course in the USA such a thing would never be accepted because of "evil regulation". Even in the EU, introducing this system would probably fail; it's just because the system existed before the EU that it is still tolerated.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Jaruzel on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:59AM

          by Jaruzel (812) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:59AM (#4745) Homepage Journal

          IN the UK, we used to have the fixed pricing model also, it was called The Net Book Agreement [wikipedia.org] but was phased out in 1997.

          -Jar

          --
          This is my opinion, there are many others, but this one is mine.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @04:01PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @04:01PM (#4853)

          > In Germany, the "Buchpreisbindung" prevents much of that ...

          Interesting. Germany also hosts the world's largest book fair.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_Book_Fair [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 1) by demonlapin on Friday February 21 2014, @11:22PM

    by demonlapin (925) on Friday February 21 2014, @11:22PM (#4599) Journal
    This topic seems pretty dead. Let's talk about fiction for geeks.

    Please leave canonical works out. If they're dead, and you can still find their books in a bookstore, they're not the sort of author I want to talk about here. If they've made any of their books into a movie, same thing.

    I got suckered in by the strangely compelling Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality [hpmor.com], which is a rewrite of the Harry Potter series that starts with a twist: Harry's mother gave her sister a beauty potion, and as a result she married much better - in this case, a biochemistry professor at Oxford. And being childless themselves, they dote on him. Harry proceeds to march through Hogwarts with a scientific mind. Warning: there's a huge amount of text there. Based on recommendations from the author of HPMOR, I also found:
    • Worm [wordpress.com] was written as a serial on the Web, but is now complete. A rather epic superhero story.
    • a href="https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8096183/1/Harry -Potter-and-the-Natural-20">Harry Potter and the Natural 20. A D&D adventurer finds himself in Harry Potter's world. A D&D adventurer who's a munchkin. [wikipedia.org]

    I usually read nonfiction books, but all of these have been pretty enjoyable. Anyone else?

    • (Score: 1) by ezekielsays on Friday February 21 2014, @11:53PM

      by ezekielsays (1297) on Friday February 21 2014, @11:53PM (#4613)

      Unfortunately I have far too little time for reading fiction lately, but I would put forth Alif The Unseen by G willow Wilson as an interesting read.

      --
      Go ahead and play the blues if it'll make you happy.
      • (Score: 1) by visaris on Saturday February 22 2014, @12:13AM

        by visaris (2041) on Saturday February 22 2014, @12:13AM (#4618) Journal
        I agree that it's hard to find time for non-fiction these days. Though, if we're going for non-fiction, I would thoroughly recommend Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion by Gary Taubes.
    • (Score: 2) by WildWombat on Saturday February 22 2014, @01:20AM

      by WildWombat (1428) on Saturday February 22 2014, @01:20AM (#4647)

      That Harry Potter link is freak'n epic. Thanks for the heads up on that.

      One of my favorites that I don't see mentioned too often is Elizabeth Moon's trilogy The Deed of Paksenarrion. I feel like in an objective sense its not the highest quality of prose but I've always loved them. I've read that trilogy at least half a dozen times.

      Cheers,
      -WW

  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Saturday February 22 2014, @12:18AM

    by Gaaark (41) on Saturday February 22 2014, @12:18AM (#4621) Journal

    His real title is Dr. John Watson, and his wife's real name is Mary.

    And if you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth...

    His dreams begin to unravel when the system becomes targeted by malicious hackers, greedy corporations and someone inside the university.

    Evil, thy name is Moriarty! :)

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 1) by maxwell demon on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:06AM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:06AM (#4734) Journal

      And the AI he is working on is IBM's Watson.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 1) by baldrick on Saturday February 22 2014, @07:13AM

    by baldrick (352) on Saturday February 22 2014, @07:13AM (#4719)

    husband and father to be

    is this supposed to be science fiction or a romance novel ?

    --
    ... I obey the Laws of Physics ...
  • (Score: 1) by anubi on Sunday February 23 2014, @08:38AM

    by anubi (2828) on Sunday February 23 2014, @08:38AM (#5122) Journal
    I was particularly enamored by a novel with a similar plot that circulated around in the 70's time frame...

    The Adolescence of P-1 [wikipedia.org]

    ( Yes, I am the same anubi at Slashdot. Thanks for posting the links to here... )
    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]