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The Kraken Project

(Wyman Ford #4)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  4,906 ratings  ·  656 reviews
NASA is building a probe to be splashed down in the Kraken Mare, the largest sea on Saturn’s great moon, Titan. It is one of the most promising habitats for extraterrestrial life in the solar system, but the surface is unpredictable and dangerous, requiring the probe to contain artificial intelligence software. To this end, Melissa Shepherd, a brilliant programmer, has dev ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Forge Books
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was ok

In this 4th book in the 'Wyman Ford' series, the CIA agent is recruited to help chase down an escaped artificial intelligence program. The book can be read as a standalone.


As the book opens NASA is planning an unmanned trip to Saturn's moon Titan, to study the liquid Kraken Mare. Programmer Melissa Shepherd has created an artificial intelligence (AI) program called Dorothy to control a research raft that will enter Titan's sea. When a test run in the NASA lab goes badly and is aborted Dorot
Jul 29, 2015 rated it liked it
This novel is a bit of a hot mess. I really like Preston and Childs Pendergast series and some of their solo efforts.
This title however was like a novel with too many ideas thrown around to see what will stick. Had its entertaining moments and even some touching and exciting ones, but overall a hot mess.
David Monroe
May 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, lemmed
Life is too short for ridiculous books; two stars.

Edit: Okay, I thought more about this book, how much it disappointed me, and how out of touch it is. I thought maybe I just gave it up too soon, so I listened (audiobook ver) to a little more. OMG. WTAF? A teenage AI is gang raped by other -- what -- NPCs? Did she wander into Vice City? I don't know. No one knows. This whole thing is ridiculous. That's not how this works that's not how any of this works. Rape as motivation? She (the AI) seemed p
May 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
I abandoned this book.

Oh my god. I’m on p. 45 of this thing, and it’s about a computer program that escaped to the Internet. Chew on that concept for a while! I don’t think I can continue and I am very disappointed in my first Douglas Preston book. Good grief, how could he come up with such a ridiculous premise? I’ll be surprised if I don’t abandon this book. We’ll see.

I can’t read this book. Got to p. 56 and it’s obvious the whole book is about “Dorothy”, the insane escaped (to the Internet, no
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A classic Preston SciFi Mystery book. This runs the gamut of our emotions while at the same time educating us on science, bots, murder, and a software program that has taken on a human emotion life all its' own. The book starts with NASA preparing a scientific probe to be sent to the seas of Titan called the Kraken Mare, a methane sea on the distant moon of Saturn. The book gives a marvelous description of the conditions that will be endured and its' actual and true conditions that exist on Tita ...more
Sherry Fundin
“I am.”

Imagine an Artificial Intelligence hell bent on wreaking revenge on its creator. Like a child, hurt, lost, feeling abandoned and betrayed, struggling to survive…

This mix of science fiction and reality made me wonder where one began and the other ended.

The characters, good and bad, will stick with me as I contemplate what our real future holds.

Frightening, questioning, hopeful, eye opening and thought provoking.

To see more visit fundinmental
Feb 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M.D. Meyer
May 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
I have a bias as Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are two of my favorite authors. So I asked for and received this as a birthday gift on the first day it was released. I read it over two days. Parts of it I liked, like the beginning with the plot setup. The overall concept was very good (what happens when an autonomous AI program escapes control of its programmers) but the details were at times hard to believe, such as the AI's character transformation and the source of that change. Adding to t ...more
Toby Tate
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
THE KRAKEN PROJECT by Douglas Preston is the most amazing book I've read in a while. I was captivated not only by an incredibly realistic and terrifying plot line, but also by the gut-wrenching emotions of the main characters and the break-neck pace of the story. Think artificial intelligence can't become self-aware? Think again.

It's obvious Mr. Preston cares enough about his subject matter to do extensive research, and it works out well for this story. But he also doesn't neglect making his ch
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-publisher
This book will grab you, and hold you hostage until the last page. You will finish it much faster than you thought you would, because you won't want to put it down. If you start it tonight, better make sure that you don't have to go to work tomorrow, because you may be up all night.

I have read most of the Pendergast series written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, but I don't think that I have read any solo works by either of them. This felt like it could have been a standalone book, not par
Chris Bauer
May 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
I've been a long-time reader of Douglas Preston as a solo author as well as his collaboration with Lincoln Childs. In general his solo works are not quite as good as the collaborations, but I hate to say it; "The Kraken Project" hit a new low for me. : (

In "The Kraken Project" Wyman Ford returns to help track down a rogue AI which has escaped from NASA and is on the run. Assisted by the AI's creator, a beautiful and eccentric programmer, the two chase down the errant codebase. Further complicati
Bob Patterson
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Breaks new ground in computer science. A good read for you if you like fiction on the verge of reality. Too bad some readers didn't understand the concepts and gave the book poopy ratings.
Ankit Singh
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In The Kraken Project, Douglas Preston tells a story of Melissa Shepherd who is a computer programmer working for NASA to build an AI (Artificial Intelligence) software. The AI, also known as Dorothy, will be installed in a drone that is going to explore the harsh environment of Jupiter’s moon, Titan. But the AI that she builds is self-aware and acts like a human being and Dorothy the AI realizes that she is going to go to a harsh world millions of miles away from Earth and is frightened! So in ...more
Jolinda Van
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
An AI software program named "Dorothy" developed for the purpose of exploration on Kraken, the largest sea on Saturn's moon, Titan, causes an explosion during it's testing phase and escapes into the internet. It's NASA programmer, Melissa Shepard, is blamed for the catastrophe and flees after the disaster only to be hunted by the FBI, CIA and Dorothy. A wall street day trader is also looking for Dorothy with ideas of his own for AI in the world of finance. Dorothy is pursued through the internet ...more
Leigh Terry
Mar 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bailed
I bailed on this book on page 15 after reading the following two paragraphs:

". . . She wasn't the normal kind of smart. It was a hard-to-control, neurotic, hypersensitive, manic, and obsessive form of intelligence. She was never happier than when she was in a dim, windowless room, all by herself, coding like mad, far away from the messy, unpredictable human beings. Despite all that, in college she'd managed to get her neurotic behavior under control and buckle down. Her odd genius was finally re
Andy Coleman
Jul 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
First, I love a lot of Douglas Preston's work, including previous Wyman Ford adventures). But...

This book is awful. At one point, I had to check the copyright date because the use of technology felt as dated as the movie, The Net . Artificial Intelligence is a fascinating field but, the author only included rudimentary terminology but no real understanding or exploration of the actual technology.

The storyline started strong, with an interesting setup, but quickly fell into absurd actions by the
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
You might mock the premise of this book, but I'm telling you, it asks important questions, in seemingly unrelated areas. Questions like "what happens when AI is no longer controllable?" "are emotions and feelings simply code?" "could humans ever create something that is self-aware?" And even "why is the person of Jesus so compelling that even a string of 0s and 1s notices him?"

Plus, the book is fun. You should read it.
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: electronic
it read like a reverse man-vs-machine cliche it was wonderful;
dorothy deserves a sequel, i should say

p238: pamela folded up and laid down her paper and picked up her recently arrived book club thriller, a novel called the third gate.
what blatant plugging!

p264: a skinny, long-haired individual, he was pacing back and forth, holding a .45 with his finger on the trigger in a way that indicated to ford that he had little experience with firearms.
a geek like eric moro should know better;
maybe h
May 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014-books
I've typically enjoyed the Wyman Ford series, but The Kraken Project was dull. None of the characters were particularly likable including Wyman Ford who felt like he was just along for the ride.

Melissa Shepherd the female lead was just annoying and really unlikable. She tried to hard to be tough, but when it came to the AI program she was overly protective and does not make a good female lead to Wyman Ford.

The AI Dorothy was insufferable. She starts off freaking out and threatening to destroy
Stewart Tame
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
An AI designed for exploring Titan breaks lose during testing and takes refuge on the internet. Wyman Ford is called in to help track it down, but some nefarious characters are also interested ... This is an excellent thriller, with all the twists and turns we've come to know and love from Douglas Preston novels. If I have any issue with this book it's with Dorothy, the AI. I recognize that her existence is essential to the plot, but she seems more a product of magic than science. In a tradition ...more
Jun 06, 2014 rated it liked it
2.5 stars, rounded up.

The idea behind this book was good, a rogue computer program on the loose--complete with the usual divergent paths of involved parties. However, there were several points where I seriously doubted that I'd be finishing it. Luckily, in my opinion, it picked up quite a bit in the last 1/2, and the ending was redeeming, if somewhat predictable.

I think that the biggest problem I had with this book was the enormous amount of "technical computer talk" involved. For someone unfami
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another walk-the-dog audiobook. This was a fun and interesting story. Although it was highly predictable- I knew how the plot would unfold before it did. The characters are real but in many ways cookie cutter. Melissa the programmer, The President, the kid Jacob, Jacob's parents, Wall Street Lansing, Morrow, the cop in Arizona. They were all stereotypical of their occupations (almost cartoonish) and I knew how they would react and what they would do before they would do it in nearly every situat ...more
May 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriller, 2015
Meh. After this one, I think I'm done with Preston's solo novels. They've been uneven but this one was just straight up terrible. Awful, awful dialogue (when you've been writing for as long as Preston has, "You bastard, you brutal bastard, you're going to pay for this" is simply not excusable). A handful of smarmy villains who are over-the-top ridiculous (bonus points for showing one of them is a bigot through a quick throw-away sentence). The AI software "character" goes from "I'm going to kill ...more
Edgarr Alien Pooh
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
"I guess this book wasn't really what I expected. The Kraken Project is about an unmanned mission to the Kraken Mare, the largest sea on Titan, Saturn's great moon. Of course, this moon is toxic and cannot support human life and I thought the premise of the book would be how they managed their way around the issue.

Alas, the Kraken Project is about the super AI programme built to be launched in a spacecraft to land on Titan. At testing stage, things go horribly wrong and the AI programme, known a
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: preston-child
This was a very uneven book for me. More time was spent with the "bad guys" than I could tolerate. Eventually I began just skimming their parts. Tremendous premise and although I found Dorothy very irritating at first, I came to like her more and more. Melissa is a good character as is young Jacob and I would consider it a treat to encounter them again in a future book.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
This story would have been better with less whining and without the extended acts of violence. 5 of 10 stars
Marty Fried
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was, to me, a big departure from the other Wyman Ford books I've read, in that he didn't seem to be a major character in this one. I suppose the major character here was the AI that was developed for a NASA mission that went horribly wrong during a test, in which the AI panicked.

Since I worked with computers beginning in the 1980s, when I first built my own from surplus parts and reject bare circuit boards, I'm probably a harsher critic for a book such as this because I know how things
A 4+ star concept that I was really looking forward to:   a "strong" A.I. program designed to explore a moon of Jupiter... until things go wrong, of course. Alas, it went from superb to ridiculous very quickly, and never fully recovered.

VERDICT: 2.33 stars. (4 star beginning, 1.5 star middle, 1.5 star ending).

And it started out so well! *sigh* As many other reviewers have said, perhaps Preston should have actually taken his AI probe to the methane seas of Titan, instead of a ridiculous version
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
While this was no Pendergast tale (Wyman Ford's just not up to it), this was an interesting story about a possible future of artificial intelligence within the easily corruptible world of mankind. The main character is actually Dorothy, the disembodied...for the most part...AI, 'invented' by a brilliant, but unconventional misfit programmer (is there ever any other kind), Melissa, whose experiment goes awry, then people are killed, Wall Street baddies catch wind of Dorothy's brilliant capabiliti ...more
David Wingert
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The Kraken Project” by Douglas Preston is a fun quick read. Preston explores what could happen if a strong AI, created to pilot a probe in the methane oceans of Saturn’s moon Titan, escaped into the internet. To the AI, Dorothy, the internet is real life and very dangerous. She registers data strings audibly and visually and she is freaking out. She is on the run from the Military, FBI and a pair of evil Wall Street Traders who all want to change her code and turn her into a slave for their own ...more
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consider Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child books 1 27 May 12, 2014 07:01PM  

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Douglas Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1956, and grew up in the deadly boring suburb of Wellesley. Following a distinguished career at a private nursery school--he was almost immediately expelled--he attended public schools and the Cambridge School of Weston. Notable events in his early life included the loss of a fingertip at the age of three to a bicycle; the loss of his two fr ...more

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