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The Truth Machine

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  1,066 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
"It is the year 2004. Violent Crime is the number one political issue in America. Now the Swift and Sure Anti-Crime bill guarantees a previously convicted violent criminal one fair trial, one quick plea, then immediate execution. To prevent abuse of the law, a machine must be built that detects lies with 100% accuracy.

Once perfected, the truth machine will change the face
416 pages
Published 1996 by Del Ray Fiction
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,647)
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Nov 07, 2007 steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book does not actually deserve the stars given. The stars, instead, are given for the concept that underpins it all, what gave life to the book as a whole. The story itself is actually quite poorly told, but it introduces an interesting if unsatisfying look at truth and intelligence. Just ignore the morality play and you'll get along fine.
May 21, 2016 Sanja_Sanjalica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, distopija
3. 5
Ovo je priča o stroju koju nam priča stroj (ili umjetna inteligencija), priča o napretku znanosti i potrebi mijenjanja ljudske naravi koja svijet vodi u propast. Najzanimljiviji su možda novinski naslovi za pojedinu godinu, s obzirom da je knjiga napisana 1995., svi kasniji su bile spekulacije. Bilo bi zabavno uspoređivati fikciju i stvarnost...priča prati razvoj i ostvarivanje ideje o stroju istine te životnu priču njenog tvorca. Na mjestima možda previše melodramatična, ipak, zanimljiva i
Sep 06, 2012 Monica rated it it was amazing
Concept: Must Read. Double the stars.
Execution: 3 Stars.

I read this when it first came out and thought it was one of the best books ever written. My copy was lost in one of my moves, and over the years it stuck in my head, but I couldn't confirm if it was as good as I remembered.

When I picked up the Kindle edition recently, I began reading it again. The ideas are still amazing, and even knowing how it ended, I read through it very quickly.

However, the writing is very amateurish. The omniscient p
Dec 24, 2014 Sandy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I can't believe Halperin wrote this in 1996 as it seems to current today. The basic premise is that crime, terrorism, nuclear holocaust is rising and eventually going to destroy the world. The only way to save it is to invent a Truth Machine so that no one can lie again. Therefore no one even considers lying or committing a crime (much less murder, terrorism etc.) since they would be found out immediately. Amazing job of exploring the ramifications for society and actually cre ...more
Jan 08, 2015 Krbo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zanimljivo je kako je sam izdavač ovo svrstao u napetice.
Tematika ipak spada u fantastiku, e sad je li baš znanstvena recimo da može biti.

Mada davno pročitano (1997) dobro se sjećam kako mi je tada bilo vrlo zabavno pa i ocjenu dajem iz devedesetih (kažu: "prvi dojam je uvijek točan" :) )

Ovdje nije toliko bitno kako izgraditi 100% učinkovit detektor istine nego razrada ideje koje bi to sve sociološke promjene donijelo društvu.

Probajte i sami zamisliti svijet gdje je apsolutno nemoguće slagati, a
Aug 08, 2010 Evan rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book because I thought the concept was interesting and had a lot of potential. The truth is a tricky subject. We often think we'd like to know the truth, but at the same time the truth can be frightening or hurtful. Would a world free of deception be a place in which we want to live?

My first disappointment is that it took nearly half the book for the truth machine to even be invented. Up to that point, we read about the childhoods and young adult lives of our main character
Mar 05, 2014 Kristine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Goodreads would allow, I'd give 3.5 stars, averaged for concept combined with execution, but it doesn't, so I rounded up. I read this book quite a long time ago, when it was first released, and something brought it to mind recently. I really need to re-read to give a reasonable review, but my Books To Read list is long, and always growing... For now, I think I should recommend it to readers based on this: the *ideas* were fascinating. If I recall correctly, the writing and mechanics were not ...more
Apr 02, 2012 Chris rated it did not like it
This is the single worst book I've ever read: I considered burning it in protest, but librarians don't like getting charred remnants of their books in the return bin.

Despite starting with an intriguing premise --- what if it were impossible for people to lie? --- Halperin manages to drain it of any interest. The Truth Machine makes Atlas Shrugged look like a masterpiece of tight plotting and brilliant characterization, while rivalling Neal Stephenson for the sheer volume of infodumping.

Even one
Mar 02, 2016 Tasha rated it liked it
Such an interesting story! Very unique.

A couple notes for anyone deciding whether to pick up this book. First, there are definitely parts I skimmed. It gets heavily into politics, and that is not something I easily follow. Also when they started diving in pretty deep to the medical/ technical side of things, again, I read without really absorbing.

But I really enjoying the story. It was interesting to see how the author thought society would change if everyone told the truth all the time, and we
John Loyd
Apr 08, 2015 John Loyd rated it it was amazing
The Truth Machine (1996) 394 pages by James L. Halperin

I really enjoyed this book.

Halperin created a world where his "Truth machine" would fit in. One where there is more violent crime, and no ACLU.

The story is being told by a reporter at Randall Armstrong trial some fifty years in the future. Armstrong, is a super genius. He has a brother a couple years younger that would probably have been the same, but is murdered at the age of three or four. Armstrong writes software that helps with crime so
Cathrine Bonham
Sep 13, 2015 Cathrine Bonham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Truth Machine by James L. Halperin reads like a biography.

The protagonist is Randall "Pete," Armstrong. He is a genius with total recall, and coding skills far beyond everyone else on the planet. He is the inventor of the truth machine. The narrative follows Pete from an early age, establishing his motivation, inspiration and the ultimate realization of his life's work.

Pete is convinced that the truth machine will save humanity. But as with all great inventions, a corrupt individual will t
Mar 30, 2014 Dark-Draco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I first read this book as a teenager - it was my first 'SF' book that wasn't Star Trek or Space Opera, and I remember picking it up purely because I had just discovered the description 'speculative fiction' and this had it emblazoned across the cover. On that first reading I was blown away by it. A few (!) years later and I have just finished the second read.

OK, it's not the best put together novel - it jumps by random time frames between chapters, the characters are a bit one-dimensional and th
Mar 10, 2014 Douglas rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Liars and dreamers, not mutually exclusive
This book had some potential for a good and interesting read, but the style broke the flow of the narrative for me. It is supposedly written by the computer of a Journalist so the writing is dry and "factual", like a news story with as little opinion inserted as possible. It read a bit more like a high school history text than a novel.

The prognostications from the date the book was written are interesting to see, especially where the author hypothesized where the world was heading in the future
Mar 21, 2014 Ashley rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, own
This book, written in 1995, has some interesting future predictions in it, which are all the more interesting when comparing them to the realities of what has actually happened for the years that have since passed. Also the idea of what impacts an actual truth machine might have on the world is thought provoking. However, despite these assets, I found the overall book rather dry and the first half rather tedious. Nothing of great interest happens in the plot until the reader is over 200 pages in ...more
Lisa Godfrees
Dec 01, 2015 Lisa Godfrees rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, futuristic
The Truth Machine was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

I could have rated it 3-stars because the writing wasn't to my taste. The idea that the narrator is a computer and the story is a complication of historical fact was interesting, but flat. Although I did enjoy reading how someone from 1995 projected future events. Some of them were interesting and pretty accurate. (That part made me keep reading, and the book's premise was certainly good).

I could have rated it 3-stars for characterization. There'
Jan 06, 2015 Brooke rated it really liked it
Cannot believe this was written in 1995, so very relevant today. Fascinated by every detail of this book.
Rich U
Aug 10, 2007 Rich U rated it really liked it
This book was recommend to me by Cameron because he thought it was something I would like. He was right and have been reading more ever since. It is a good read but the writing could of been better. I like it from beginning to end and I like the thought that went into the future world James L. Halperin has created with the idea "What if nobody could lie?".
May 09, 2015 Djj rated it liked it
A badly written but fascinating near future novel written 20 years ago. So near future at that time was 2004. The amazon summary:"It is the year 2004. Violent crime is the number one political issue in America. Now, the Swift and Sure Anti-Crime Bill guarantees a previously convicted violent criminal one fair trial, one quick appeal, then immediate execution. To prevent abuse of the law, a machine must be built that detects lies with 100 percent accuracy.

Once perfected, the Truth Machine will ch
Will read this again ....
What would the world be like if there was a truth machine?
What would happen to crime, our schools, our court systems, our governments, if lies cannot be told.
The story centers around two main characters ... the inventor and his friend, who becomes the president of the United States. It's about why he invented it, what they did with it ... but then the invention is challenged as to the true inventor.
It's a good read ... I'd have liked to have read a much more in depth
Aug 26, 2007 Nasrin rated it liked it
every secrets will bring.
Apr 24, 2016 Harvey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
- I generally don't read Sci-Fi/Futurist-style fiction, but was intrigued by the plot of this near-future (1995-2051) story describing the societal changes resulting from the invention of a 100% accurate truth machine. Some of the visions of our near-future were quite interesting (1998: the change from 12 lay jurors to panels of 3 to 5 professional, highly-trained jurors; 2006: inmates have to pass literacy and mental competency tests to qualify for parole; weekly anti-drug/anti-violence/respons ...more
May 18, 2015 Larry rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I first came across this book nearly 20 years ago, not long after it was first published. I've been recommending it to people ever since. Is it well written? Not particularly. Is it a great story? Not particularly. Is it long-winded and at times boring? Definitely. Should you read it? Most definitely!

The heart of this novel is how society changes when a lie detector that is 100% accurate is created and used in all possible spheres of life. Crime is almost eliminated. Relationships improve, inclu
Apr 08, 2014 Nicole rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I think the idea of a truth machine is fascinating, especially as we think about how technology will advance in the future. However, the author has a very rosy-colored view of people in general. A more realistic story should have included the black market that surely would go hand in hand with any truth machine. The short "news summaries" at the beginning of each chapter were fascinating, since they gave a picture of what someone in the mid-1990's thought might ...more
Abby Goldsmith
In the future, according to author James L. Halperin, world crime can be wiped out by a 100% accurate lie detector. Citizens of the world are required to pass lie detector tests in order to gain a driver's license, have children, move to a different state, get hired, and so on. However, the very inventor of this amazing lie detector has committed a horrible crime, and must hide his criminal secret from the world. (And to say anything more on the matter would be a plot spoiler.)

It's a good, thoug
Sep 28, 2009 Tiah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2008 Maurean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Set amidst an all-too-conceivable near future, the story primarily focuses on the life of Randall Peterson "Pete" Armstrong, a child prodigy with total recall memory, whose entire life's outlook has been defined by the murder of his younger brother, Leonard; Leonard was killed by a convict who was believed to be capable of committing violent crimes again, but could not be imprisoned any longer under the current law structure. Pete is admitted to Harvard at the age of 13, and there he is recruite ...more
Feb 23, 2010 Shane rated it really liked it
The subtitle is called 'a speculative novel'. James L. Halperin must have a tad bit of sincere idealism inside of him and I can definitely relate to that. All of the 'what ifs'. Can we really have a society where everything works and everyone is content ? Maybe the story is too unbelievable but like most of the science-technology books that I tend to enjoy, the idea that science and technology can lead to such positive things and to discuss such possibilities in the form of a novel - this is a g ...more
Jan 05, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eli Bishop
Sep 13, 2010 Eli Bishop rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction-sff
I ran across this randomly, got briefly excited because I'd never heard of the author, and... just didn't like it at all. It was promoted as if Halperin was the heir of Michael Crichton and John Grisham, but I guess the publishers thought it was enough to combine vaguely topical issues with cheesy beach-thriller prose, so they didn't bother to edit it.

There's a promising premise: someone invents a foolproof lie detector which transforms society, and he amasses great power but he has dark secrets
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James L. Halperin is an American author and businessman. He attended Harvard University between 1970-1971, where he majored in psychology and later philosophy. After three semesters, Halperin took a permanent leave of absence to pursue a career in numismatics. In 1976, he established a rare coin fund for investors, New England Rare Coin Fund (NERCF). Upon liquidation at auction in April 1980, each ...more
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