Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Mind Pool

At a time when humans have expanded among the stars and encountered alien races and space travel is instantaneous due to a human invention, that very human inventiveness has placed everyone, human and nonhuman, at risk. A biological machine, developed by human scientists, has unexpectedly run amok, turning against its own creators. In the battle that ensued, most of the constructs were destroyed, except for one that escaped. But the only experts on the constructs were killed in the battle.
The one that got away has been located hiding on a jungle planet. A conference of aliens and humans has decided that teams composed of one member of the four different types of intelligences will be assembled and trained and sent in, one at a time, in an attempt to subdue and neutralize the rogue construct. But the conference has decreed that the human component of the team has to meet certain very limited conditions, which means that only a very few humans will qualify to become team members. Which is how two street kids end up being key components of a race to protect intelligent life from a machine that seems determined to destroy it. Together with their alien comrades, these kids will set off into the jungle to come face to face with the smartest, most dangerous being ever encountered. And before it is all over, what they learn will change everything.

I liked this book. The future human society is weird and different, yet still familiar. The aliens are weird, but not in a bad or threatening way. The interactions between the aliens and humans were entertaining and comforting, not monstrous or implacable, as aliens are often portrayed. I liked the aliens, I liked the puzzle of the rogue construct and I really liked how the teams came together to solve the puzzle. I found this to be an enjoyable and enthralling read.

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