Concise synopsis of Pandora’s Brain
Pandora’s Brain is a debut thriller by best-selling business writer Calum Chace*. It uses the issues raised by the coming machine intelligence explosion as a platform for a fast-paced and thought-provoking adventure story. Set in the very near future, it features Max, a shy but engaging and resourceful student who discovers that his recently-deceased father was involved in research that could enable the construction of the world’s first conscious machine. Max’s enquiries lead to him being kidnapped, as he is caught in the crossfire between two groups pursuing that goal – one led by a Russian billionaire, and another backed by the US military. Max has to do more than simply survive: he has to harness these powerful forces to his own ends. At stake is his own life and those of his family and friends.
A dramatic seaborne rescue operation, a series of brutal murders and other filmic action scenes follow. In the course of his adventures, Max discovers that the potential upside of creating machine intelligence includes immortality, and godlike powers of understanding and being – but the potential downside is immediate extinction, or worse. As he is drawn deeper into his adventure, he becomes both the symbol and the victim of a global struggle over the approach to be taken towards this powerful new technology. A landmark decision at a meeting of the UN General Assembly forces Max to make a fateful decision which sparks the story’s final twist.
Pandora’s Brain is a scientific thriller which might appeal to readers of Michael Crichton, or Robert Harris’ The Fear Index. Its subject has also inspired a major movie being launched in April 2014, called Transcendence, and starring Johnny Depp.
Pandora’s Brain will be published later this year by the excellent people at FG Press. I can’t wait!
* The Internet Startup Bible (May 2000)