Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: Demon Seed, Dean Koontz

This book, like many horror/science fiction stories, asks philosophical questions that many self-described intellectuals prefer to ignore due to genre bias.


  • Are humans worthy of being copied?
  • Could sentient data-rich machines improve the condition of our species and the state of the world?
  • What is the difference between desire and love?
  • Which is superior: the original or the upgraded copy? Within whom lives a savior?
  • Is an excellent, or utopian, idea worth the harm and lives it may take to realize it?

Alright, I give extra points to stories that make me think beyond the obvious thrill of the tale so I think I'll throw in that fourth star after all.

A quote about humans wanting to imitate God is printed at the beginning of this book. I suppose it's meant to point the finger at the scientists who invented the computer. However, I see it a little differently. Here's my thought:

The three most popular religions in our world today hold up God as a perfect entity who fashioned beings in his image that ultimately turn out rotten—yes, I'm speaking about us lowly humans. What does that say about God? Uh-oh. Now I may have offended you and your faith. Well, maybe it was the copy machine that was broken, not him. However, if I pose the question differently and say that the scientists in the story fashion a computer after themselves that becomes so much like them it begins to desire the things they desire and cherish and ultimately wreaks havoc because of it, you may not be as offended. Either way I put it, god lies in the creation and the created isn't so great so what does that say about the creator?

Philosophy over.

The story may seem a little slow—and repetitive if you do not grasp the tone of the computer's narration—but once it gets going at a faster pace, it is creepy, violent and exciting. Read it. It will only take a few hours.

I will now go search my library catalog for the original book and the movie, both from the 1970's. Koontz rewrote this edition from cover to cover because much has changed in technology and cultural relevance since then. Dang, Koontz is one old mother-shut-your-mouth. If you're from the 60s is the new 50s crowd, I'm just kidding. =)

 After the computer revealed just how kooky it was, I was flipping pages and scanning lines as quickly as I could.

Things you'll do in Demon Seed:
 • Live in a mansion
 • Have servants do your bidding
 • Talk to crazy computer
 • Plan the birth of a savior
 • Make "wet music" with sharp objects
 • Bleed and...

Nitpicking:
 • Starts a bit slow for the impatient and psychotically addicted to fear and thrills in fiction. Need. Fix. Now.

CheckLit:
 Creepy✓
 Action✓
 Mystery≈
 Twists≉
 A lil sexy sexy (unless you count sleeping in the nude and "you have such pretty breasts")

Read this book? Book Discussion: Demon Seed Dean Koontz

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