The Downloaded

{4.5/5} “The harsh reality of any advanced civilization is this: privacy can’t be tolerated, lest, in some dark recess, a malcontent plots to unleash atomic or biological weapons, computer viruses, antimatter, or any other technology that poses an existential threat.”

The Downloaded by Robert J. Sawyer, published in 2023

Roscoe killed a guy who’d bullied him as a child and an adult — when the state asks if he wants to serve his time in virtual reality, he says yes.

Letitia is in charge of the mission to Proxima Centauri. She wakes up to discover that they haven’t gone anywhere — the ship is still in orbit around Earth. She checks the hibernation bay and finds that there are no bodies.

This short novel is structured as a series of interviews.

It’s about people who live their lives in different ways, from Old Order Mennonites to people who have genetically engineered themselves to live on Mars. It’s about ethical questions involving concepts like violence and privacy.

There are some delightful references, such as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.

I’ve read all 27 of Sawyer’s books. I previously reviewed Starplex.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 15th, 2024 at 8:17 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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