Helene

Helene

by Karl Drinkwater

3 out of 5

Synopsis
Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it's not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.



Review
Helene is thrilled that she has been approved to work on the social skills of a pioneering AI. It's not as easy as it seems, when you have to toe the line, and the AI progresses faster than expected.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first book I've read in the Lost Solace series. This can be read reasonably well as a stand-alone, but I think I would have appreciated it more, having read the main series first.

Helene is an expert in behaviour and is brought in to work on a pioneering military AI, in it's infant stages. Things progress faster than expected, when she works with ViraUHX.

ViraUHX, or Via as she likes to be called, can process data quickly, and wants to turn it into knowledge.
She is aware that her creators are only feeding her approved information, and she wants to push the limits and learn more about the world with her new friend, Helene.

At the beginning there was A LOT OF WRITING IN CAPITALS. BEFORE VIA'S PERSONALITY DEVELOPS, IT REPRESENTS THE BLOCKINESS AND BLANDNESS OF HER SPEECH.
I get why it's done, but it made it very hard to read, especially when Via went off on one of her logic-based rants, and you'd have a whole page of capitalised writing.
Thankfully, by half-way through this short book, Via has developed enough to speak normally.

It was interesting to see the tentative friendship between Helene and Via develop. There are moments of wariness and doubt for both of them, as they wonder what hidden motives the other has. With good reason too, as there seems to be a shadow, and secrets on both sides.

This novella focusses completely on the relationship between Helene and Via, and Via's progress to becoming an independent thinker, developing her ideas of right and wrong.
Everything else is in the background, and we're aware that the world is vaguely dangerous, without knowing why. I wish there had been more everything. More discussion on on the planets, the ruling parties, the background that probably fills the main series.
With the way it ends - I think a fan would love it, but as a newcomer, I was left feeling disappointed at the lack of a conclusion, because the ending kinda relied on the reader having knowledge of the series.

Overall, I like the authors writing, and I would be interested in reading the rest of the series.

Goodreads
Amazon

Comments

  1. Your wish is my command! A few other people had issue with the caps so I changed those sections. It switches much earlier in the book now, prior to the rant! :-) I've uploaded a new version for sale. New text:

    ---

    “We’re affected by what we’re born with. But we can also change many things if we wish. Including names.”
    “I PREFER VIA TO VIRA.”
    “Then Via it is. And, while we’re on the subject of change … could you soften your voice slightly? Your default tone makes me think you are shouting at me.”
    “Is this better?”
    It was the same sexless voice, but at a lower volume, and that somehow broke up the artificiality. Via was probably capable of fully human cadences but they weren’t necessary for communication. This seemed like a good compromise.
    “That is perfect. Thank you, Via.”

    ReplyDelete
  2. I always love when writers take reviewers' notes on board.
    Thanks Karl!

    ReplyDelete

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