MetaSentient: Escape to Mars by author Michael S Clarke
Thank you to author Michael S Clarke for providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for this honest review.
Somehow, I have fallen deep into the genre of sentient AI science fiction. Over the last couple of years I have read what feels like a ton of these books. I enjoy the genre because I truly believe it is our future. In one capacity or another, we will see artificial intelligence gain some form of sentience or emotion.
MetaSentient: Escape to Mars goes with the direction of fully autonomous AIs turning against humanity. This is the catalyst for the remaining humans to want to flee Earth and take refuge on Mars. However, many of these remaining humans are degrees of cyborg or AI themselves.
Many humans have had their consciousnesses uploaded into robot bodies that resemble their original form. Or they are uploaded to a type of consciousness cloud where they can live forever as their mind or soul or whatever you’d like to call it. This begs the question, at what point is a human no longer a human? And what does it matter where a consciousness actually formed?
Based on the sides in MetaSentient I think we are supposed to favor the “humans” over the pure AIs. But at this point, the only difference between them is that humans were born in flesh and AIs were not. They are both sentient and conscious and have the power of thought, why should I differentiate between them?
Unfortunately, MetaSentient never really addresses this question. It relies on the pure AIs spouting “kill all humans” rhetoric to nudge the story along its predetermined moral path.
The pure AIs have no personality besides hostile takeover but the “humans” also don’t have much going for them except for escape. We never learn enough about the characters to become invested in their plight. I think the author expects us to side with humanity for humanity’s sake. He vasty underestimates my willingness to discard the human race.
If humanity gets to a point where it is essentially identical to AI why do we need to maintain physical human flesh bodies? They’re obsolete and sentimentality isn’t a good enough reason. The AIs have surpassed us evolutionarily and can either work with us or eliminate us. I for one, welcome our robot overlords and have no intention on reclaiming my position at the top of the food chain.
To make matters more complicated, human characters in MetaSentient are all at various levels uploading. These processes also sometimes make copies of the consciousnesses which results in several characters occupying multiple forms each. This gets confusing.
We have multiple characters with the same name but they’re treated as separate entities. It becomes very difficult to keep track of.
Additionally, acronyms are used without definitions and characters are thrown in without introduction, subsequently never to be seen again. At one point a character is introduced, she murders someone, and then is just never mentioned again. This murder seemed like a big plot point but it just ends there.
The second half of the book also contains about 60 pages worth of optional chapters. Based on the prologue these pages explain a parallel plot happening simultaneously to the main plot but by the time I got there I was way too bored to care.
So I will say, there is a chunk in the middle of this book that I took the option not to read. But I doubt it would have changed my thoughts on it one way or another.
I can’t say I recommend MetaSentient. It could have and should have been a much deeper exploration into what it means to be a real human or an artificial lifeform, it fell short.
2/5 robots 🤖🤖
For a different approach to space and AI check out Off World Hotel & Resort
in order to keep me up to my ears in books consider using the following amazon affiliate link to purchase this product. it’s at no extra cost to you and would really help me out, thank you and happy reading!