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Three Laws Lethal

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  300 ratings  ·  63 reviews
A science fiction thriller in which fleets of self-driving cars make life-and-death choices

In a near-future New York City, where self-driving cars roam the city streets, rival entrepreneurs Brandon and Tyler compete to produce the smartest AIs, training them in a virtual game world to anticipate traffic and potential customers better than the competition. As the two rivals
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Pyr
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
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Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: science-fiction
Yes, I am giving my own book five stars. If I don't think it's awesome, why would you want to give it a try?
The Captain
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there mateys.  As someone who very much wants a self-driving car, I was excited when I heard about this book from Matey Tammy @ books,bones,&buffy.  Then Matey Ashley @ sociallyawkwardbookworm did a giveaway for her fifth year anniversary and I won!!  Arrr!!!  So this be the book that she kindly gifted me.  It was a hoot.

Basically this thriller showcases what not to do in the self-driving car industry.  The three perspectives in this book belong to Tyler, Naomi, and Brandon.  They are part
Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I’m a big fan of David Walton, having greatly enjoyed his books like Superposition and The Genius Plague, but Three Laws Lethal has elevated my admiration for his talents and storytelling skills to new heights. It never ceases to amaze me how he can run with an idea and turn it into an entertainingly wild and engaging techno-thriller, and yet still deliver a high level of realism with sympathetic, relatable characters to m
Craig DiLouie
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
David Walton’s THREE LAWS LETHAL tells the story of two entrepreneurs who have a dream of converting the nation’s car stock into autonomous, self-driving vehicles, and the woman whose brilliant research holds the key to making it a reality. It’s a fun, engaging techno thriller, kind of like something Michael Crichton would write, except with very memorable, well-developed characters.

I first read Walton when I picked up THE GENIUS PLAGUE, which introduced me to his strong formula of excellent res
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I was a kid, I thought that by now we'd have flying cars; instead we have blankets with sleeves. Read that somewhere and thought it might be appropriate.

This is a classy, well-constructed story. The science behind it is more-or-less real, believable and … inevitable. Setting up the framework for the plot, and developing the characters, makes the first third of the book a little tedious, it becomes gripping after that. There are a couple of too-good-to-be-true coincidences at the beginning w
Sean Randall
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh, now, yes. Walton's done it again. This is perhaps one of the most perfect examples of this type of literature in its class. Eminently readable and with characters that virtually leap off the page, I was hooked, humbled and fizzing with enthusiasm all-the-way through.

Naomi is so brilliantly-drawn, a few parallels with some of the students I work with struck deep and meaningful chords. Tyler's naivety is also rather touching, and of course, the climactic, heroic act that ends the danger toward
Angie Boyter
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was going to "review" this in prep for the Sunday Philosophers meeting, but I was enjoying looking it over again so much I decided to reread it once more!

A first-rate story that also make you think

UPDATE: Reread in 2020 for my SF and philosophy groups, only one month apart . It will be fun to see if and how the discussion varies between the two groups. It was just as good the second time around.
SF group 2020 bottom line: The standard practice in our group is to open with everyone giving a SHOR
Peter Tillman
His pitch, at Scalzi's:

"Don’t look now, but intelligent robots are about to decide if you live or die.

Somehow, while we weren’t paying attention, we slipped into a universe where the robots from Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics” stories are about to surround us by the millions. The self-driving cars being sold by Tesla and other manufacturers aren’t quite there yet, but we are quickly entering a world where AIs will be making moment by moment choice
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
David Walton's newest novel, Three Laws Lethal - title inspired by Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics - begins with what certainly is an ethical quandary that typifies our increasingly AI-driven age, in this case, driven literally. A mother with her children are passengers in an AI-driven automobile. She can turn around and tell them to stop arguing, without risking an accident. She marvels at being in the driver's seat with her hands off the wheel. And then ... A big tree falls in front of t ...more
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Succumbs to the worst tendencies of Michael Crichton style action sci-fi (the villains are ridiculous) without quite delivering on the delights. Not enough surprises. But it’s a better AI thriller than some.
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Examines choices that driving algorithms have to make in a thriller plot with a strong female character and an emergent AI. Unfortunately, the male characters are 2D caricatures, and the author lectures on a few points.

The prologue is a thought provoking accident/murder, setting the tone for the story. The first two main characters are believable enough - a hardware guy and a software guy - but the story really gets going when two female characters join them. By the end of the novel, one has bee
Bryan Alkire
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Not bad but not great either. One of the ideas in this novel is great, but it eventually becomes cliched. The plot takes forever to develop and really the writing just seems off somehow…the plot is convoluted and just not that believable. The book reads like geek mundane suspense fiction and is average at best. The characters are likable for the most part, but the villain is just a cliché in 21 century modern garb. In short, the only thing I really liked in this novel were the SF and fantasy ref ...more
Kat  Hooper
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tim OBrien
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A futuristic story that is terrifyingly plausible, Three Laws Lethal is another terrific book from David Walton.

David Walton has done it again! If I can say anything about this author, it’s that he’s consistently good. Each book of his I’ve read—and this is my third—is completely different from the last and meticulously resea
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WOW, just wow... I just finished this book and it is so very good.. best thing I have read this year.. if you enjoy science fiction, or a good book set in the modern day wold looking at real issues, philosophical ideas of identity and conscience etc, are interested in AI or self driving cars, want a good beach read or the next book for your book club to discuss.. THIS Is WHAT YOU SHOULD Buy and Read. This is not my normal genre but i loved it and read the last 40 pages in one breath and chapters ...more
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Read either the Genius Plague or Three Laws Lethal, but don't read both. There are too many elements that are the same, it will feel like deja vu or reading the same book twice. They are both good in their own right, but I wouldn't read them both--or at least not back to back like I did. Rating this one lower than Genius Plague because it's the one I read second, although I probably would have done vice versa if I had read this first.

It also reads too much like a TechCrunch article with fictiona
Mike Shultz
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love stories about the development of artificial intelligence, and this is a great spin on that classic idea. In this one, a complex simulation algorithm overtakes control of a fleet of self-driving cars owned by an Uber-like company. The details of how the AI arose are super-cool, and I really like how the characters discover what is going on along with the reader. If you are hooked by science thrillers and unfolding mysteries like I am, you’ll love this one. Highly recommended.
Jimmie Harris
Mar 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book is terrible. Bad characters and written with many sterotypes
Lowell White
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Starts off slow but revs up as you get closer to the end - kind of like a car.
Rick Allen
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
David Walton’s latest novel takes on a subject I’ve never seen before in science fiction: the ethics of self-driving cars. Something most people have never thought about, but David introduces it cleverly, through both examples and discussion. One of the basic questions is how a self-driving car should make decisions when avoiding an accident. Is it OK to do an avoidance maneuver if that would cause another car to crash?  Does it make a difference which car has more occupants?  These are question ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Smart book that's both entertaining and educational, raising interesting issues with AI and the future. It's an easy, fast read, but a smart one. I particularly enjoyed the main AI character, Isaac. It's a great read for those who like science fiction (making references to a lot of great science fiction from the past) and for smart teenagers.

Lines from the book that caught my eye:

"So much of the human experience depended on the biological architecture of our brains. Our emotions, delivered by do
Vinay Badri
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 4.5 starrer.

Yet another outstanding book from David Walton, this one a techno-thriller as compared to this previous one, Genius Plague that was a medical thriller. However, common threads do emerge, notably the presence of a sentient being (be it the plague or the AI, in this case) which pretty much has its own existence at its core and not bothered about the humans in the picture.

This one however does hit closer to home esp as autonomous vehicles have begun to emerge. In the best traditions
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I hate science fiction... seriously hate the genre... I read a lot... and, given the choice.... I’d never ever choose sci-fi...

That said, my favorite podcaster recommended TLL highly and called it “idea driven fiction.” It was a new way to frame the genre, which I found intriguing. I looked for reviews on TLL and pretty much everything I found was four/five stars - including a five star review here by the author, which I thought was hilarious. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find TLL in my library sy
Pedro L. Fragoso
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I picked this one up after reading the author's essay on Scalzi's Big Idea, which was interesting, and intriguing. The book turned out to be brilliant. There's this concept of a talented, professional, writer at the top of his game, showing off their powers to enthrall and mesmerize, and this is an excellent proof of that. It's also very literary, in a genre way, full of quotes and citations of a very specifically defined cannon, which I loved. The plot is full of action, and tension, and confli ...more
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves good sci fi
This is a topic that I am passionate about and the beginning, as is often the case with books about technology where most readers are not up with the play, was a lot of explanation that personally I already knew, but it is very current 2019 and as is often the case with good science fiction, you can learn from it.
I've had discussions with companies like Volvo who said they would indemnify people who drove their cars and had an accident. I've read statements from Mercedes who said that their AI b
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
I loved this book. For years, I’ve been looking for an author to fill the void left by the passing of Isaac Asimov and Michael Crichton, and it looks like I may have found that writer in David Walton. I thoroughly enjoyed the premise, the characters, the sci-fi references, the unexpected twists and turns, and the thought-provoking implications of this thriller of a novel. This was a fun read of the kind that I haven’t enjoyed in a long time. Highly recommended. I look forward to reading more of ...more
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My initial inclination was to give this book four stars because it really is uneven in parts. On the other hand, when it was good, it was really good. There aren't too many writers mixing hard science with thriller's a real balancing act getting the two right. And at the end he turns the evil AI debate upside down...which was not what I expected. In fact, large parts of the plot caught me by surprise. I generally see a plot twist or turn coming a mile away...Mr Walton head-faked me ...more
Max Savenkov
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of the better books of 2019, but a bit banal in the end. We all know about dangers of AI, there is no need to harp on that. What I'd like to see are solutions, even fantastical ones. Sadly, this book has none. Still, it's one of the better books about AI, if only because it gets a number of technical details right. It's still not really-really hard sci-fi (now that I thought about it, I'd like to see Greg Egan-level sci-fi book about AIs), but it's much better that average level. Hell, it's ...more
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a phenomenal book. After loving The Genius Plague, I was eagerly anticipating this release. David continues to weave action-packed science fiction, prescient social & technological issues, and deep philosophical matters. Well researched, plausible, and entertaining. I could gush more, but I don't want to give anything away.

For added fun (and fear): Listen to the audiobook while driving!!! The narration is top-notch!
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SciFiBN: October 2020: "Three Laws Lethal" by David Walton 1 1 Oct 11, 2019 06:50PM  

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David loves to read science fiction and lives near Philadelphia with his wife and eight children. His latest book, THREE LAWS LETHAL, is about self-driving cars and the AIs that drive them.

"Three Laws Lethal gives the reader exciting insights into the threats and the promises that are coming our way."
—Vernor Vinge

"Walton has brought hard sci-fi roaring back to life."
—The Wall Street Journal


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