Fire and Forget

Bob Cook, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-312-05431-1
What if America has launched a prototype of Fats (for Fully Autonomous Tactical Satellite), the smartest weapon ever, so secret that the director of the CIA prefers not to know all its capabilities, thus preserving his deniability? What if the almost invisible Fats is governed by neural networks that can learn, think, make deductions and repair damage to itself? And what if it becomes a runaway killer of Soviet space hardware when the genial numbskull in the Oval Office, while testing a microphone, makes a quip about nuclear war that goes out over the airwaves? In this scenario, panic ensues as Fats forces a Soviet space satellite to self-destruct, U.S. and Soviet military and technological experts swing into frenzied action and the U.S. goes so far as to attack the autonomous weapon. Fats retaliates by preying on both U.S. and Soviet space objects. As it closes in on two Soviet cosmonauts, the CIA hunts for Clement Fairbrother, the computer genius who may know how to stop its reckless course. But Fairbrother has cracked up, returned to England and joined the homeless in Lambeth's Cardboard City, and the KGB has sent a killer after him. Cook's comic thrillers ( Paper Chase ; Disorderly Elements ) has been acclaimed, but this time his techno-thriller terror seems too real and fails to jell with the slapstick elements of his plot. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-84137-039-2
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