I love this author and have read almost all of his fiction. But this is not Preston's best work. The storyline itself is intriguing, as is the science involved, but his villains are the basest sort of caricatures, as are the bureaucrats. Preston's story comes across heavy-handed in its disdain of religion, which I imagine is off-putting to all but the most fanatical anti-religion adherents. It's almost as if the author--through the story as a whole--engages in the same sort of mindless judging and finger-pointing about religion and faith that he accuses the Christian right of doing to those who aren't believers. Beyond that, the ending was quite a disappointment. If you've never read Preston, don't start with this one.
Isabella is the most powerful machine ever built. She's so powerful , that when turned on the lights in Las Vegas sligthly dim, she's a secon-generation superconducting supercollider particle accelerator. She's the one to prove the Big Bang
and it's energy levels, she's there to explore exotic ideas for generating power.
When Isabella has her first test-run on 100% of power scientists are puzzled about a greeting-message. Someone must have broken into the system and hid a malware program in to 40 billion project. But who and why ?
The scientists become more quizzed when Isabella answers with intelligence. When she responses to dorect questions with an direct, specific answer. Who are they talking to ? And is it possible that Isabella is who he claims to be ? Namely being God.
Things soon get out of control when Russ Eddy eavesdrop a talk between two of the non scientist members of the small Isabella team. Pastor Eddy fears Isabella is the beginning to the Armageddon and the leading scientist Gregory North Hazelius is the Antichrist. He sends out 2000 emails to 2000 Christians and releases a chain reaction of unexpected extent. The Christians arrive at the underground "hive" to ambush the project and the scientists. Lead by a maniac and heavy armed they don't stop for a single soul. Who doesnt belong to them simply dies.
I am not too impressed by the book. Mainly there is no main character. Or there is one but a very one-dimensional one. The idea of a machine talking as a higher intelligence isn't exactly new so I always thought I knew what is going to happen and wasn't a bit surprised when exactly happened what happened. It cleary lacks of consistence and is poor in execution.
This one's going to be quick. Lots of plot elements and characters, but some very nice intersections of some very different concepts a super-collider, Christian fundamentalism, national politics, Indian affairs the fact that I figured out WHO was responsible didn't lessen my enjoyement (even though I didn't figure out WHY).
Rating: 4 stars it felt a little stretched out; with a little extra editing, I would have rated it higher.