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Golden Fleece

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  578 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Aboard Argo, a colonization ship bound for Eta Cephei IV, people are very close--there's no other choice. So when Aaron Rossman's ex-wife dies in what seems to be a bizarre accident, everyone offers their sympathy, politely keeping their suspicions of suicide to themselves. But Aaron cannot simply accept her death. He must know the truth: Was it an accident, or did she com ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published November 5th 1999 by Tor Books (first published December 1990)
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Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm a big Robert Sawyer fan but I was disappointed by this book. I have to say it definitely doesn't measure up to his other books - clearly shows that it was his first book. I'm not fond of the first-person perspective by a computer or the fact that the A.I. was evil. A lot of the subplots don't make any sense till the end of the book and even then are weak. I'm glad he got much better after this book.
Sean Randall
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've enjoyed many of Robert J. Sawyer's novels, he's one of the few authors I like to reread. So I happened upon a reference to Factoring Humanity online, couldn't remember much about it, so pushed it out to read it afresh. And I noticed in my collection of works, Golden Fleece. A title I couldn't remember hearing about? How intriguing!

Golden Fleece is, of course, Sawyer's first published fiction novel (released 27 years ago). You can imagine my glee, therefore, at now having read it when I hadn
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have read quite a number of Robert Sawyer's books, but not this one--his first, from 1990. And it blew me away. Hence *****! Why? It pushed all my buttons for what I like in science fiction. We have one of the best AI characters ever (as far as I know!) in this story-JASON, who runs the spacecraft Argo ( get it? Jason and the Argonauts looking for the Golden Fleece). The story is a suspenseful mystery in space, as, at the beginning of the story, a woman is murdered-by JASON. Her ex-husband Aa ...more
A first time read. And I'm glad I waited and read most everything else first. This was probably the worst Sawyer book I've read. And to be fair it was his first and he clearly got better. What was really weird was reading it just after re-reading Factoring Humanity. It's not really plagiarism when you plagiarize yourself. There was a lot re-used from this book to that one. And bunches of irritating crappy stuff left out. Basically we've got an evil robot and relatively unlikable humans. The paci ...more
Alfaniel Aldavan
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction

This novel is told by the voice of the artificial intelligence. "He" has a ship to oversee, to drive it to the promise land, and cannot afford interference from these curious humans with its job. You understand.

The effect is engaging. This is one of the few Sawyer novels (or the only one I remember) that features fewer philosophical discussions otherwise common in his books. I enjoy those, however the strengths of this book lie more elsewhere: the air of novelty of a story written from the persp
Steven Cole
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fun. The story of a sentient computer, in control of lots of stuff, committing a murder. But told from the computer's perspective, which was an interesting twist. Sawyer has done a great job here keeping things highly understandable and moving along.

Nitpicks: too much time spent on the decoding of extraterrestrial transmissions; I seem to have picked up every exo-message book Sawyer has written... Also, written in the 1990s, some details seem dated. (The book talks about how hard it is
Jan 31, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is one that had been on my list for many years, since enjoying The Terminal Experiment and vowing to read all of Sawyer's stuff.
Of course I wanted to start with this, his first novel but it took a while to finally stumble across it. Golden Fleece is pretty good, and comparisons to 2001: A Space Odyssey are unavoidable with the main character being JASON, a HAL-ish computer with an agenda.
It's a quick read, although I did find myself getting bogged with the mathematics of space travel and pr
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great story with engaging characters. I will not spoil this review by saying who the story is being told by or who committed the murder. I did not appreciate this info while perusing reviews trying to decide whether it was worth buying this book.
I have a vague recollection of going to trendy 3 floor bar in Toronto back in the mid '80's with 2 friends. While me and friend #1 went upstairs to the piano bar, friend #2 stayed in the main bar and I believe had a drink and conversation with this au
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some of Robert J. Sawyer's earlier books were discounted on Amazon, so I downloaded them into my Kindle App. This book was written in 1990 and Sawyer's brilliance as a Science Fiction author is demonstrated in this book. Golden Fleece explores the idea of how much control should we hand over to computers. This is a theme that will only get more relevant with time. I really enjoyed the book. It is a quick read and very entertaining. I must admit, though, I am a huge Robert J. Sawyer fan.

Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Like almost everything written by Sawyer, I loved this book. The final twist was quite well done. This is an earlier work, and it brings to mind some of his later works, but it also presents what is likely the best and most complex AI presentation in print. How was this not chosen for a TV series, and Flash Forward was? Good gravy.
Mark King
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nothing better than a thoughtful thriller!

Nothing better than a thoughtful thriller! I really enjoyed this. Normally I kill time by grazing on space opera shoot ‘em ups — which doesn’t make me seem qualified to say that this is a brainy little beast of a book. (But it is!)
Jamie Rich
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Golden Fleece (Paperback) by Robert J. Sawyer

Meh. Not terribly clever nor original. It was, at least, interesting enough to read through, but nothing Earth shattering really. *shrugs* Moving on...
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Despite a somewhat slack middle and Sawyer's usual panoply of characters all speaking with the same voice, this is a strong debut with perfect length, a great hook, some top-shelf sense-of-wonder sf, and a "surprising yet inevitable" third act that raises the overall quality by a whole star.
Leila P
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great novel; I enjoyed that the main character was an AI. The beginning was at first a bit offputting, as the book starts with a murder, but the overall plot was intriguing indeed. I read it very quickly as it's not a thick book.
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Too much for one book, but a good read.
Robert Runte
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-sf-f
Review from 1990 (before anyone knew who Sawyer was going to become) update at end.

Golden Fleece is Toronto author Robert Sawyer's first novel, an expansion of his nebula-nominated short story of the same name, originally published in the Sept 1988 issue of Amazing. It's the story of JASON the shipboard computer that murders one of the crew and tries to pass if off as a suicide. Once one has gotten over the inevitable comparisons with HAL (the computer from 2001), Golden Fleece emerges as a fair
AJ Nelson
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-sf-read, reviewed
Nothing profound but straight-forward good entertainment. Normally, I prefer more complex stories, but it felt kind of refreshing to have the AI be an unquestionable 'bad guy'.
Jul 13, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a 2.5 star book. Because GoodReads doesn't like fractions, I almost gave this book 2 stars.

This is the story of a giant space ark on a decade-long journey to another planet, and the artificial intelligence who runs the ship. The most interesting thing about the story is it's written from the perspective of the AI, who's running a neural net and therefore has a bit of a personality. That's cool. But the plot is a let down -- the computer causes the death of a human early in the story, and
James Mourgos
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
I really enjoyed Robert J. Sawyer’s Golden Fleece!

A ship is making a huge journey across space with crowds of people and supplies aboard, to a world many lightyears distant. Running the vessel is Jason, one of several intelligent computers made throughout the world to help Man. Except the one on this trip makes HAL from 2001 seem like a running calculator!

The story starts with a murder. Diane, who has discovered “something” that the computer wants kept quiet. Aaron the ex, who is blamed for the
Danny De Barba
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Questo libro è stato un autentica rivelazione, sopratutto perché il signor Robert J. Sawyer non l'avevo mai sentito nominare! Ahimè sì, sono ignorante.
Possiamo considerare 'Apocalisse su Argo' come un "thriller" fantascientifico, dove il protagonista principale è un'intelligenza artificiale concepita per gestire e guidare una gigantesca stazione spaziale verso la colonizzazione di un nuovo pianeta denominato Colchide.

"Mi chiamo Jason e sono il più perfetto computer mai concepito. Guido la mia n
Aaron Humphrey
Apr 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The first time I read this book was probably shortly after it arrived, unsolicited, in the mail at my then-fiancée's apartment. Apparently Robert Sawyer, in his inimitable style of self-promotion, decided to send out a bunch of copies of his first novel to members of SF Canada (as it may not have been known back then). It didn't seem to do his career any harm, did it?

Rereading the book, it was interesting what I remembered and what I didn't. I remembered that there was a murder, but not why it h
Zoe Zuniga
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Zoe by: self
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Avery Olive
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This might have been Robert J. Sawyer's first published novel, but it doesn't read like a newbie starting out, and as we know, he'd eventually continue on to becoming a very prolific author, with an astounding career of awards and praise.

Having read other books by Sawyer, I was most delighted to see that he always had a unique and memorable voice right from the start--even if this time he was writing from the POV of a complex AI computer system.

Golden Fleece is exactly what you'd expect from a
Flo Borgia
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il titolo fa pensare a una cosa diversa... Argo è il nome di un'astronave in viaggio verso un nuovo pianeta adatto alla vita umana.
L'Argo è guidata da Jason un'intelligenza artificiale che controlla tutte le funzioni del vascello. Ma questa intelligenza artificiale dimostra subito un obiettivo non chiaro.
La narrazione inizia con la morte di Diana Chandler una degli astrofisici: apparentemente un suicidio. Ma il marito non sembra convinto: qualcosa di strano sta succedendo sulla nave.
L'inizio cre
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a terrific twist in this interstellar whodunit in that the mystery is told in first person -- by the perpetrator! Also the perpetrator is a computer running the first interstellar ship. It still works as a mystery and a lot more. While some might find it derivative of 2001: a space odyssey, I think it clearly revels in its inspirations. After all both The Odyssey and the Golden Fleece derive from Greek myth so the connection is obvious, but this takes the source material and spins it in ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
A science-fiction murder mystery: this book opens with a crew member on an interstellar spaceship being pursued and murdered... by the computer controlling the very ship that she is on. The crew seems to accept the evidence that appears to show that she committed suicide -- but a few small things don't add up. Will they figure it out? Why would the computer want to killing her? And what is the meaning of the message that was apparently sent from an alien culture?

This book is solid: fine story, e
Nathan Burgoine
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of the early works of Robert J. Sawyer, this is a murder mystery set on the space ship "Argo." Traveling 47 light-years to begin a new colony world, with 10,034 people, the AI tells the story of how - and why - he murdered passenger Diana Chandler.

What is interesting about this story - beyond the murder mystery - is Sawyer's ability to get inside the heads of the characters with surprising clarity: you can understand these folks, and rarely do they do something that makes you scratch your he
Nicholas Barone
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
An impressive first novel. The story is told form the point of view of Jason - the artificial intelligence that controls humanity's first long distance colony ship. In the first chapter, Jason murders one of the human passengers (for reasons unknown) and the rest of the story details Jason's attempts to cover his tracks while crewman Aaron Rossman attempts to figure out who committed the murder, and why. A well paced, interesting story. I am looking forward to reading more of Sawyer's work.
Matteo Pellegrini
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantascienza

"Mi chiamo Jason e sono il più perfetto infallibile ed egocentrico computer mai fabbricato. E guido la mia astronave tra mille pericoli alla volta di un pianeta lontano, per impiantare una nuova colonia di umani nello spazio. Purtroppo l'altro giorno la dottoressa Chandler, uno degli astrofisici, è morta. Un suicidio, dico io, ma il marito è convinto che Diana sia stata ammazzata da me. Dal computer di bordo, come nei vecchi film di fantascienza. Inconcepibile, non trovate? Ma, per una volta, ve

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Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada's best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.
Robert Sawyer grew up in
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