Reviews of Recursion (2004)
Review by ensngre (2006-02-15)
The book start with introducing Herb, one of the three lead characters in Recursion, sitting in his warp-drive ship outside the planet he once seeded with a Von Neumann Machine. Seeing the planet having been turned into a swarming nightmare, he believes himself to be able to get away with it, when an eccentric intruder literally steps into his ship and present him an ultimatum: unhumane hard labour in the Oort cloud or to help the Enviromental Agency in a fight against a gathering of VNMs going rogue and converting planets in the galaxy, all being controlled by one omnipotent AI... Then the book hop unto the other two lead characters in two different time-eras, and the book begins.
The concept of self-replicating, planet-eating machines is supposed to frighten, but frankly, it's doesn't succeed very well. Whereas the character, in this case Herb, is paralyzed by the fear of the universe dimnishing because of VNMs, the reader can only wonder. The idea IS terrifying, but the author doesn't quite instill the fear in the reader. The book loses alot there.
This is Tony's first book as a writer, and it's exceedingly good, despite the obvious flaws of getting the reader involved. He has got some interesting ideas of what can be done about alternate personalities and the people called "Ghosts", and I actually found myself reading the book not because of the story but rather the DID/MPD look-alike concepts. In the end, it's a worthy book reading - but definitely not something you sit up late at night because you can't tear yourself from it.