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Computerworld by A.E. van Vogt
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's review
Nov 23, 14

really liked it
bookshelves: softcover

This is A.E. van Vogt at the end of his oeuvre. It is not in tune with the current state of the world or that of the sci-fi genre. But it is genuine van Vogt just the same. It's a story set in the future when a central computer, essentially, governs American society.

This story-type is not entirely original by 1983; especially during the eve of the already emerging cyberpunk sub-genre and Van Vogt seems not to know, or care, where computer technology is heading. There is no suggestions of PC's here, though by 1983, van Vogt could very well have written the novel on such a gadget such as the Commodore 64, Apple II or a Radio Shack TR8-80. Yet this novel could have been published in 1963 rather than 83. It is as if he knew there was some 'buzz-talk' of computers, so why not write a story about a computer-run world, regardless what this 'buzz-talk' is actually about.

Naturally, what this central computer needs in order to govern society is many 'eyes' and 'ears' set up all over in order to 'see' what everyone is up to. It can also perceive the aura of each individual. A group of mystical hippies oppose this omnipresent computer entity.

What is interesting is that the narrative is told by this rather mild mannered and almost childlike central computer.

As weird as ever, I thoroughly enjoyed this somewhat clunky novel. Absolutely typical of later A.E. van Vogt.
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