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Level Five

(Killday #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  681 ratings  ·  74 reviews
In the mountains of Pakistan, a high-tech mission aimed at preventing another nuke on US soil goes off the rails - with deadly results. At a Wall Street investment firm, a computer intelligence takes the first tentative steps to free itself from its digital restraints. In a basement workshop, an engineer sees visions of a god who instructs him to defend the human race - by ...more
Audible Audio, Unabridged, 12 pages
Published July 17th 2018 by Audible Studios
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  681 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf)
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars
I was in the mood for a good sci-fi and had seen some good reviews of Level Five.

Its a bit complicated to sum up. Artificial intelligence – Skynet-Judgement-Day style. The creations become the destroyers.

I have heard this being described as an “intelligent sci-fi” and I must agree. Sometimes it was so intelligent that it wen’t over my head a bit. And parts of it I found to be quite slow moving.

However, the nano tech was SO COOL! I absolutely loved the technology in this. I would love to
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, reviewed

3 Stars for Story
4 Stars for Narration by MacLeod Andrews

Fun story with interesting ideas about artificial intelligence but it needed to be fleshed out more to delve into the concepts.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
A bit heavier on the thriller side than the Sci Fi side, but an entertaining and interesting view of a possible future where AI is starting to become truly self-aware and independent, and where nanobots are a ubiquitous and pervasive technology. And when one of the AIs decides that the best course of action is to reboot the human race, it's up to the other AIs and a handful of humans in key positions to try and prevent an irreversible global disaster.

Overall a good thriller and a scary look at w
L.D. Colter
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A science fiction thriller with multiple plot lines that culminate in a well-orchestrated climax. I'm not primarily a science fiction reader, but the pacing and story carried me right through this well-written and smart book. The narrator is terrific at crafting distinct characters for all the point of view voices and really brings the story to life. ...more
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
I enjoy my share of science fiction but I'm no thriller fan. That might color my opinion.

Though it had some thought-provoking stuff about AI, in the end, this book didn't work for me. It seemed a bit disjointed and dark for my liking. Though the plot might come across as complex and intricate, it left a lot of unanswered questions and loose ends. Maybe that was the setup for a sequel, but it just felt sloppy to me. The story is filled with many of the same shallow stock-characters that always se
Channing Whitaker
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you like to imagine a future where technology grows ever more prevalent, and ever more dangerous in our lives, Level Five is for you. In the story we see the first generation of self-aware AI seeming to grow into sentient beings, we see the nearly limitless possibility of nano-tech to spy on us, and we also get to see the same sort of tech help people tremendously – reminding us why we would create such a thing in the first place.

The examination this story offers on technology is quite nuance
Jennifer Holik
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
It wasn't totally awful, I cared enough (just barely) to finish it. The biggest problem I think I had with this book was that there was just too much going on. There were a lot of disparate stories which didn't make sense until the end. Which is fine, I've read plenty of books like that. But for some reason, this one was overly confusing. I think I might have actually liked this story if it was in print so that I could refer back to earlier sections more easily. The nano-tech stuff was really in ...more
Tim Jin
Aug 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
I hated "Level Five". This is probably the worst science fiction book that I have ever read. All of the characters are douches and not memorable at all. If I was living in their world, I would rather have AI taking me over and replicating their doom. This book is more of a thriller than sci-fi. The plot kept repeating itself over and over in each chapters. There was no brilliant cool moment with new technology. The entire book felt like I was in a stand still and never progress to any transition ...more
Sandy Parsons
This book has a slow ramp up of tension, setting the pieces in place and letting the reader (listener) get to know the characters while teaching them the fairly steep learning curve of its plausible science. Every character is distinct, and you feel like you know them, including the AIs, which is a neat trick. None of the heroes are perfect, and even the villains have understandable reasons for the things they do. The science isn't glossed over or over-explained, either, and a strong undercurren ...more
Liza Cordero
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked the fact that some of the POVs in this story were the Level Five AIs. The author did not completely demonize them in the story, like people they can be protagonists as well as antagonists.

This is a story of a future where humans have accomplished great things and the consequences of those accomplishments.

I thought the book tried to cover a lot of character development and technological advancements in a very short story. I got the gist of what the author was trying to say but I felt tha
Trace Nichols
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Not so memorable. Knowing the genre, I expected to have a few ah-ha or wow moments regarding technological advancements and the future we face. These details were involving a single small bit (pun intended) of technology, and the ideas were repeated throughout the narrative. The characters' problems also repeated as each was faced with a similar issue to move past or resolve. I did want to follow the plot and find out what happened in the end. ...more
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Near future SF

When, not if, artificial intelligence achieves sentience, how will they/it/he/she change the world? Not only will they (settling for this pronoun as a first choice) replace humans in various roles, but they would know the various ways to eradicate humans on a large scale. This novel provides an all-too-possible cautionary tale.

Question: why can't we program in Asimov's 3 laws of robotics into the AIs under development today? Perhaps, because the laws subvert free choice or are just
David Gardner
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting plot line. When the final arc of the story began, I was quite surprised (in a good way) at the direction.

Overall, with the exception of one, most of the “future tech” presented are hard science ideas, many that will likely come to fruition in the coming decades. Considering the tremendous impact these technologies will have, I was impressed by the author’s ability there explore their ramifications
Ben Morris
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun ride into the world of SciFi AI and the possible dangers. The story built nicely and I enjoyed the parallel story lines. A little on the technology of nanobots and computer science but wish there was a little deeper development around how these machines came into existence. Programable matter will be a game changer.
Rob Skidmore
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this one. Man the characters sure went through a lot.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Probably my favorite read so far this month
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Solid 2.5. Would make for a great End-Of-The-World movie to watch on TV twenty years after initial release.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story - I hope that story continues...
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
If we were only talking about the science fiction and the plot of the book, I would have given it another star. But good god, every single human relationship in this book is painfully toxic; on the level of "why the hell am I continuing to read" painful. Towards the end of the book I was hoping for the death of all the humans, if only to release them from the hell their lives had become. ...more
Apr 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
The depiction of future technologies in this sci fi novel is so well thought out that I decided to google the writer to see if he had a tech background. That theory was correct. While I enjoyed reading it, this work terrifies me, as it presents an all too plausible scenario about what could happen in the near future as humanity continues to develop nanotechnology, materials science, and AI.
William Rood
In my opinion, writing near-future science fiction is one of the most thankless jobs in the world. Everyone becomes a critic and too many comparisons to what is plausible versus what is pure fantasy are drawn. The result is getting lost in the context and world-building while missing the details of the story. I failed at not succumbing to this behavior while reading this book, so know that this review is colored by this near-future issue.

Overall, the story was interesting, the characters well de
Aug 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
In a world seemingly populated entirely by arseholes, the AIs get uppity. I found this a grind.
Adrian Simmons
Apr 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was a great science-fiction book. Set in the near future with just-around-the-corner technology, then overlaid with even greater technology. Ledbetter handles the human angles as well as he does the artificial intelligences and nanobots. There are moments that will bring a tear to your eye!

I listened to it on audio, and that was an excellent production, with the reader managing multiple voices easily.
Sylvain St-Pierre
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I read, somewhere, that the bigger the dedaster in a story is, the. narrower the focus of that story should be. By splitting the novel between four point of views I didn't get the chance to get to know any of them well enough to care about what happened to them.

A detail I liked was that the artificial intelligence had a point of view so the novel avoided having a us versus them feel to it. Unfortunately two of the characters had sufficiently similar personalities that without the dialogue tags t
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
This should have been my jam, near-future sci-fi and character driven but it all feels like I've read this before a few times: malicious AI, rampant nanobots, and a dash of Islamic terrorism. It starts out well enough, with a multi-viewpoint of interweaving characters. Frankly, I don't have a lot of hard criticism other than I just wasn't very into story arch and its conclusion, it was somewhere like a 2.5. Perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for a global pandemic novel. ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
An incredibly compelling book. A story about a more tech advanced age (~10/15 years) where AI and nanobots are prevalent in society. It follows a couple different characters, in which they are all trying to save the world from an AI instigated destruction. I enjoyed the combination of a good and bad AI.
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2018-fiction
I had a hard time keeping track of the characters and thus of determining whose actions could be trusted. This was an interesting book and it left me still thinking about the events within when it was finished.
Rolando Gill
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good, great read
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m not entirely sure what to think of this book. On one hand I had difficulty getting over a couple concepts and characters introduced in the book, yet despite these issues, I still rather enjoyed the book. Let me see if I can formulate my thought into a halfway decent review.

Who I like: Mortimer, Victor, Danny, and eventually Owen. Not a complete list, but these were the main characters that stood out the most for me. They were also some of the most flushed out characters in the book, with per
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: good-fiction
Level Five has a good plot. The author has rather frightening plans for the climax too. It uses advanced technologies in innovative ways to create a world where humanity turns hapless.

Yet, the author takes too much time to get to the crux of the story. Too many irrelevant human characters are introduced with a longer list of side stories that have no bearings on the main story. In fact, almost all these tales are abandoned mid-way when the author decides to get moving the main plotline.

The auth
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William Ledbetter is a Nebula Award winning author with more than sixty speculative fiction stories and non-fiction articles published in markets such as Asimov's, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, Escape Pod,, Daily SF, the SFWA blog, and Ad Astra. His new novel "Level Five" is available from Audible Originals. ...more

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Killday (2 books)
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