SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 506 Sunrise Alley, by Catherine Asaro Book Review |

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Sunrise Alley, by Catherine Asaro
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen
Published: 2004
Review Posted: 10/7/2004
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 9 out of 10

Sunrise Alley, by Catherine Asaro

Book Review by Kate Savage

Have you read this book?

It is 2033. Sam Bryton walked out of the corporate world because of disturbing ethical practices in the AI/EI (artificial/evolving intelligence) industry. She is a top-notch scientist who specializes in stabilizing IE personalities -- in other words she is an IE shrink. Having plenty of capital, she has cloistered herself in a home in California. Walking along her beach, she sees the wreckage of a yacht and among the debris, an unconscious man. She pulls him ashore and he pulls her into a big old adventure.

Sam has saved Turner Pascal, whose last known whereabouts was the local morgue. Legally he was dead, but a futuristic Frankenstein scientist known as Charon broke into the morgue to steal the personality and memories of Turner. Grafting IEs onto already formed and naturally stabilized personalities is a quantum shortcut in computer science. Turner's new body is both organic and synthetic. Is he property or an individual with inalienable rights? To Charon Turner is his property and must be returned to his lab. Turner and Sam go underground to evade Charon. Persistent rumors tell of a sanctuary for AIs and IEs that have escaped captivity. Sam and Turner seek asylum in this mythical place known as Sunrise Alley.

Sunrise Alley returns to the universe Asaro created in The Veiled Web and The Phoenix Code. The scope is much closer to home than the Skolian Empire books she is more famous for or the new Aronsdale kingdom she has created for the Luna book line. For readers contemplating reading "something" by Asaro, this is a fine place to start. It is also a good book for those who like techno thrillers or computer related stories. It's a fast moving, intelligent book with lots of twists and turns. Sam is a strong central character and Turner is unusual. Asaro's Skolian fans will recognize the exploration of the blurring lines between man and machine that have usually been a secondary element in the Skolian books. Sam and Turner become romantically involved, but it is not the focus of the book. Sunrise Alley is interesting for its exploration of what sort of ethical dilemmas success in developing AIs could create. This is not a new theme, but Asaro has something to add to that conversation.
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