Audiobook Review: ‘The Singularity Trap’, by Dennis E. Taylor

The number one best-selling author of the Bobiverse trilogy returns with a space thriller that poses a provocative question: Does our true destiny lie in ourselves – or in the stars?

If it were up to one man and one man alone to protect the entire human race – would you want it to be a down-on-his luck asteroid miner? 

When Ivan Pritchard signs on as a newbie aboard the Mad Astra, it’s his final, desperate stab at giving his wife and children the life they deserve. He can survive the hazing of his crewmates, and how many times, really, can near-zero g make you vomit? But there’s another challenge looming out there, in the farthest reaches of human exploration, that will test every man, woman and AI on the ship – and will force Ivan to confront the very essence of what makes him human.

My Review

Had I heard/read The Singularity Trap before any of Taylor’s other books I would definitely have sought out his other works, because the writing is still good and characters interesting. The thriller element comes out well, and the central plot of Ivan becoming a metal man and the risk of annihilation by either A.I. or the Computer and its Masters, is gripping. I was really rooting for Ivan and the crew of the Mad Astra. The Naval command drove me up the wall, being pompous hawks. I liked the solution to the problem of what to do about the threat from the Computer and its development as an individual sharing a body with Ivan.

But…

This is my least favourite Dennis E. Taylor novel. I’ve only got it on audio book and I’m not particularly bothered about ordering the paperback, even though it would go nicely beside my Bobiverse books, along with Outland when it’s published in a couple of months. I don’t know if it’s because Ray Porter narrates them all so they feel like alternative universes. A lot of the characters have similar names. The main characters are all engineers/computer scientists and feel like the same character re-imagined in different circumstances. The Bobiverse books and Outland are sufficiently different that you can’t get them confused – apart from the coffee obsession. The Singularity Trap and the Bobiverse are quite similar, they could be alternative futures had the events described in We Are Legion (We Are Bob) as happening after Bob dies and before he is uploaded, been slightly different. Unfortunately these similarities kept distracting me from the qualities of the book itself.

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