cover image The Kraken Project

The Kraken Project

Douglas Preston. Forge, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1769-8

This flawed thriller with a science fiction twist from bestseller Preston (Impact) features Melissa Shepherd, an erratic genius programmer, who creates an artificial intelligence program called Dorothy Gale, after the heroine of the Oz books, for the Kraken Project, a remote probe to Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. When, in a simulated test on Earth, Dorothy discovers the reality of the outside world, she goes into panic mode. Melissa can’t turn Dorothy off or prevent her from escaping into the Internet, where she threatens to find and kill Melissa. Readers with even a cursory interest in artificial intelligence development will find the characterization of Dorothy preposterous and unscientific. Dorothy is unwilling to make copies of herself for a reason not stated, for example. Worse, Dorothy’s apparent turn away from malevolence occurs offstage and is, in a literal sense, a deus ex machina moment that makes hash of an already weak story. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (May)