cover image TRANSCENSION


Damien Broderick, Author . Tor $25.95 (348p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0

Anyone who can't imagine grinning at the end of life as we know it should skip this book, but it'll be fun for people self-confident enough to imagine a lighthearted fusion of Clarke's Childhood's End and the movie Clueless. When Amanda, an adventurous adolescent girl, wanders into the life and mind of Mathewmark, a young man living in the Valley of the God of One's Choice, a low-tech, religious enclave, the two are soon on the bumpy road to romance. Meanwhile, the resurrected version of a scientist who'd been attempting to create artificial intelligence observes and attempts to judge what he sees in this fractured future. He's aware that an AI controls the world and may even have created the sensations that convince him there is a world out there. So should he be afraid? Angry? How should he feel when the AI begins to evolve into something else, changing the nature of humanity, too? As for Mathewmark and Amanda, they misunderstand each other, make fools of themselves and feel real pain, but also discover that change is more exciting than frightening. Australian author Broderick (The Dreaming Dragons) sees how silly individual humans can be, especially when they choose to stay isolated. However, he also believes that technology gives us fresh possibilities for unity and growth. By the end, the young people's gusto is contagious, and readers can feel confident that we'll all be able to cope with new challenges. (Feb. 14)