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SIMPOC: The Thinking Computer by Ray Jay Perreault

SIMPOC: The Thinking Computer - Ray Jay Perreault

SIMPOC is a new AI and his programmer is just starting to introduce it to the wide world. However, a new deadly virus breaks out and spreads like wildfire. Pretty soon, SIMPOC is having to think and act on it’s own, and SIMPOC chooses to protect the few humans it can find – in space.

This was a fascinating story of AI and world calamity. Yep, lots of meat to this little story. First, I enjoyed how the AI came about, being programmed and brought into consciousness on purpose. Then there’s the careful, graded introduction of SIMPOC to the world. As SIMPOC explores newsfeeds from around the world, it comes across the Havarti virus. It is asked by the programmer to monitor it.

The Havarti virus is named after a cheese for a reason folks. Yep. I will let you contemplate the disgusting aspects of that. Pretty soon, SIMPOC is on it’s own. And this is where the second interesting part of the story steps in – all the humans in space.

There’s astronauts in orbit on the space station Oasis, some on a Moon colony, others on a Mars colony. They each have their own challenges. The action really picks up as SIMPOC tries to keep these humans alive. But there are forces working against SIMPOC, so this new AI must be clever and quick and sneaky.

I had a lot of fun listening to this story. My one criticism is that there is only one female character, Joan, who is the commander of the space station, and she doesn’t show up until perhaps half way into the story. Obviously, I would like to see a better gender balance, especially since this is a world calamity and science fiction where women get to do more than tend house and have babies. Joan is written well and is integral to the story so I hope the author continues to write female characters into the story line as the series goes forward.

The tale wraps up the arc for this part of the story but leaves open the bigger picture for a second book (yay!). In fact, the audiobook has a preview of Book 2 at the end. It will be interesting to see what SIMPOC does next and how the remaining humans react to it in the long term.

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author (via the GoodReads Audiobooks group) at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

Narration:  Zachary Johnson did a very nice job with this book. He had distinct voices for all the characters and the one female character had a believable feminine voice. I liked his slightly clipped, very practical, calm voice for SIMPOC.