“Silicon World: Man vs. Machine” (The 3 Book Bundle) will satisfy any science-fiction aficionados desires. Its three stories blend aspects from Blade Runner, AI (the movie), The Matrix, Terminator, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you enjoyed any of those movies, I would highly recommend you pick up any edition of this set and start reading right away. You will not be disappointed. I did not know what to expect going in, and I must say that the author took me on a journey I did not anticipate making the story fresh and new. It sets itself apart from the many other published science fiction stories that regurgitate the same tale.
William Massa masterfully creates three very deep, rich, and believable, action packed science fiction stories in this one bundled pack. Joe Hempel needs to also be called out for his exceptional job of bringing the books to life in audiobook format through his professional narration; more about him later in this review.
All three books take upwards of ~405 pages for the Kindle edition and just shy of twelve hours for the audiobook narration. The three stories did not seem too short nor were they drawn out just to add extra pages. Each of the three books can be read as standalone stories; however, the first two book (Silicon Man and Silicon Dawn) have similar overlapping themes. The third book (Crossing the Darkness) takes place in space aboard a mining vessel; I believe it was my favorite of the three stories.
The author includes a decent amount of action along with solid character and world development. Each scene is described in enough detail that one gets a good picture of what is going on, but not so much that it takes away from the reader’s own imagination. The author throws in enough plot twists and turns that you are left trusting no one and often unsure of where the story will go next.
On a personal note, I enjoyed the author’s inclusion of aspects around Akido in the first book as my family and I practiced this martial art for many years. It is more a defensive art leveraging an opponent’s momentum and strength against themselves during a fight. It helped to make the book more personal for me.
I would caution younger readers from these books as each contains vulgar language, light sexual subject matter, some alcohol usage, and quite graphic scenes containing violence. The author does not focus on these aspects, but in my opinion they were mostly unnecessary to the overall story or plot (apart from the violence showing the nature of the AI system).
I have listened to other books narrated by Joe Hempel about Artificial Intelligence, however this is the first I have listened to that was a piece of fiction. His other books produced around the singularity were non-fiction materials by Calum Chase; whom I highly recommend if you are interested in the subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Joe has a deep and rich voice that enhanced the story by giving it is more gritty feeling. The third book falls more into the horror genre, and his voice was a nice fit. The narration of all three books was consistent regarding volume levels and the books lacked any noticeable audio artifacts (swallows, page turns, etc.), and this shows the effort taken to produce a professional grade audiobook.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.