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Me, I like mystery novels. Science fiction, too, usually. Combine them and it's like a Reese's peanut butter cup. Except good.

Castro's Emissaries From the Dead is an sf/mystery set in an artificial environment run by nearly omnipotent AIs. The protagonist has been sent to the station to solve a murder, and for diplomatic reasons she's been directly ordered to find the AI not-guilty, even though it's the only likely suspect.

The central mystery is solid, if a bit simplified. The book is full of puzzles, but most of them deal with the nature of the AI-designed sentients and with other crimes unrelated to the killings. The mystery around the killing itself is pretty straight-forward.

While I'm not as well-read within the genre as some, it seemed to me that the setting was original and well-designed. Still, it had an unfortunate amount of dismal stirred into the mix. The economy and cultures of the future were full of suck, and the protagonist is as much fun as finding a snake in your sleeping bag. And in a weird dramatic choice... (Spoilers!) the emotional growth she undergoes over the course of the story is imposed on her from outside. The character was ripe for change, but rather than changing herself, those AI tweaked her brain chemistry for her. As I said, a weird choice that doesn't really work, even if it fits with the storyline.

Anyway, it's a solid cross-genre story. If you like that sort of thing, you might like this.


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May 2020


  • 14 Jan 2019, 21:47
    Oh, yeah, excellent point.
  • 14 Jan 2019, 21:46
    Oh yeah. Like the lawyers who get obvious really venal criminals off because it makes their success rate look good. But those are not the ones I am referring to in meaning well. These guys are mixed…
  • 14 Jan 2019, 20:37
    This reminds me of the time my wife was injured and the insurance guy handling her case did everything possible to deny and stall the payment. We had to put her surgery on a credit card because this…
  • 14 Jan 2019, 19:24
    The creepiest part is that some of them are actually well meaning.
  • 14 Jan 2019, 19:08
    Yeah. It's godawful what people will do when they have authority and no fear about using it.
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