Book Review :
By E. M. Foner
Mark Ai goes to work every day as a PC repairman, but fixing computers is just a cover job. Along with his mission managing the observation team, he’s attempting to fill in as a parent for a teenage neighbor, provide a good home for a dog, and pick up a little money on the side. It’s a juggling act that understandably leads to breaking a few rules, but things really start spinning out of control when competing aliens arrive. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
E.M. Foner is the author of the Date Night On Union Station series. He has a unique way of writing science fiction, making me laugh every time. Humor must be one of the hardest things to write. I think the next hardest would be a mystery.
In Turing Test, Mark and his team are a zany bunch with the additions of Spot, the dog, eBeth and her online boyfriend.
I don’t have a lot of experience with dogs, but I must say I was suspicious of this canine from the beginning. Who goes by Spot, the proverbial Smith or Jones in the dog world? Was he a master-mind orchestrating a take-over of earth? Did he have an agenda to build his own empire? Or perhaps, he was just a dog, a very smart dog. You’ll have to discover the answer to these questions yourself.
Mark, and his relationship with eBeth, is hilarious. He lectures eBeth about her driving. She’s awful, and you’d hope to never meet her on the street.
“You don’t have a license, you don’t even have a learner’s permit, and you’re not old enough to be behind the wheel at night.” I always felt that it was important to remind her of the rules before I handed over the keys. (Loc. 237)
“… there’s just something about being in a car with a teenage driver that triggers a primal fight-or-flight response, even in AI.” (Loc. 247)
We all agree that raising teens can be a challenge, but Mark has it harder than most. She’s not even his child.
“I was about to tell her she wouldn’t be coming, but then I realized that bringing eBeth along on a Federal crime was likely the only way to keep her from Helen’s party, so I chose the lesser of two evils.” (Loc. 991)
The premise of Turing Point is that the AI’s are observing humans, determining if we’re ready to join a federation of aliens. Frequently, us mere humans seem underwhelmingly average and probably shouldn’t be included in such a superior collection of beings.
“We’re less concerned with evaluating your intelligence than your manners,” I admitted. “Nobody likes a rude alien.” (Loc. 2179)
But the human’s might have a few surprises for the aliens since with the help of Mark several have already relocated to “Australia”. A big problem the AI’s face is going “native”, or in other words, reacting more like humans than an artificial intelligence.
“That’s because humans are functionally illiterate,” Paul grunted without looking up. “Let’s play cards.”
“We play games at team meetings?” Helen asked.
“Poker,” Justin told her. “It’s our canary in the coal mine.”
… I told Helen, “We’ll know there’s something wrong if any of us start displaying human behavior in our betting patterns.” (Loc 187)
“Maybe there was something to be said for slowing things down to the point that I could really consider what I was saying.” (Loc. 3348)
I don’t know how Foner comes up with these things, except that he must be a genius. Here’s another one of my favorite quotes:
“Sometimes I call the IRS with a question just to see how many automated phone queues they’ll pass me through before disconnecting my call. I once made it to seven hours on hold without ever talking to a human.” (Loc. 1203)
If you don’t find any of these quotes funny, or at least mildly amusing, I might determine you’re an AI. Even reading them again to write this review had me smirking.
I highly recommend this series as well as
4 out of 5 stars
If you enjoyed this book try The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger, Larklight by Phillip Reeve, Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.