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Sliver Screen by Justina Robson - a review

Anjuli O'Connell has a perfect memory, which lands her in a school for the gifted. At school she is shy and awkward, but befriends two odd and brilliant siblings, Roy and Jane Croft. After graduation, Anjuli works alongside Roy at OptiNet, a company that has created an Artificial Intelligence. Through her work as an AI Psychologist, she begins to suspect that the AI is sentient. Roy unexpectedly kills himself, leaving Anjuli clues to the nature of this sentience, the 'source', his plans for a machine revolution seemingly near. Meanwhile, Anjuli is called to be an expert witness at trial Roy initiated just before his death. He petitioned OptiNet to acknowledge AI sentience and grant them rights. She is caught between what OptiNet wants her to say and what the machine rights radicals threaten if she does.

Silver Screen had potential to be a much better story than it was. Justina Robson's writing style has an easiness to it that is engaging, and yet it wasn't enough to keep the story flowing. As it was, the storyline often felt slapped together and was sometimes difficult to follow. Towards the end, a religious cult led by Roy and Jane's father becomes important and yet I never really understood what its purpose was, beyond that of a plot device. The characterization was at times inconsistent and Anjuli never read real to me.

My Recommendation
Silver Screen by Justina Robson is a mediocre read. With its disjointed plot and spotty characterization I was disappointed. I did, however, like her style of writing and would be interested in reading other novels from this author. Overall, I'd suggest you pass on this one. If you're interested in a novel about AIs, take a look at Hammerjack by Marc D Giller and Spin State by Chris Moriarity.

Silver Screen by Justina Robson
Published by Pyr
383 pages

Silver Screen is available at Amazon.com

Pyr Publishing provided me with a free review copy of Silver Screen

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