Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect” as Want to Read:
The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,029 ratings  ·  209 reviews
In a time not far from our own, Lawrence sets out simply to build an artifical intelligence that can pass as human, and finds himself instead with one that can pass as a god. Taking the Three Laws of Robotics literally, Prime Intellect makes every human immortal and provides instantly for every stated human desire. Caroline finds no meaning in this life of purposeless ease ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 19th 2010 by (first published January 1st 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,029 ratings  ·  209 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to wrangle a 5-star rating out of me for just about anything, but this book deserves it. It is twisted, messed up, brilliant and deceptive all at the same time. This is not a book for the faint of sensibility; there is gory violence, gory sex (you heard me), but it is all couched in the world in which it exists: a world where an artificial intelligence has grown beyond its creator's intention, and based on the 3 Laws of Robotics has turned the world into a massive cyberspace playground ...more
William Hertling
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
As a science fiction author who primarily writes about artificial intelligence, I found this book to be really fascinating.

On the one hand, I need to state up front that this book has strong themes of BDSM and snuff, and it's not going to be for 80% of people. In fact, for the first half of the book, it's really unclear how it's relevant to the plot, although it does become critical later on.

But the author does a great job of dealing with the practical and philosophical issues of what it means t
Hugo Sereno Ferreira
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
There are basically two schools of thought concerning post-singularity and the immortality of the human race. One of them, often portrayed by Greg Egan, is optimistic; it is capable of seeing beyond the wishes and fears, hopes, dreams and nightmares of humans, up to the point were it can reimagine whole societies that find a meaning for existence in the absence of death. The universe portrayed in his stories is far larger than our imagination and our contingency as mortal beings.

The other school
Jan 14, 2014 rated it liked it
This book somehow managed to be both fantastic and utterly terrible at the same time. I stayed up the entire night to finish it, but there was little satisfaction in doing so.

The story was well written, but I simply couldn't buy into the message, or the character development of the female protagonist.

(view spoiler)
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Brutal! A novella about the Singularity? More or less, but not like we expected it.

Please, see my review in English on the blog:

Puedes ver la reseña en castellano en el blog:
Daniel Kenefick
Jul 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Thought I was getting a book about artificial intelligence, got pornography instead. Would not recommend for either use case.
Feb 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-novels
Some very interesting ideas in this novella. The parts of the story describing the sudden and rapid evolution of the AI were gripping. For a time, I thought this book was headed towards a comfortable 4-stars. In the end it fell very much well short of the mark.

While the premise of a god-like AI is a good one, the 'quantum magic stuff' that allows this to occur in the first place is handy-wavy nonsense at best. But that's not the real issue. For such a good idea, I think the author fails to fully
This is a great novella.

It discusses a technological singularity in which a computer scientist manages to create a sufficiently intelligent AI, programmed with Asimov's Three Laws, which then progresses to remake the world to best serve the Three Laws.

I'm actually quite surprised how well-written this book is, considering the author has not published much other work. It is not only thoughtful hard science fiction, but also very well written and engaging as a story. More sci-fi writers should be
Jun 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
The real villain of the story is Caroline, who killed billions (trillions?) of people just because she was feeling moody, even when she knew she could just get rid of her sense of ennui and meaninglessness by simply asking Prime Intellect, but her intense pride wouldn’t let her. The book never once shows that others are as depressed as Caroline. Most people seem to have adapted quite well, and most seem happy, as they should! It takes impressive feats of mental gymnastics to conclude that absolu ...more
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good book. Ends in a rather luddite chapter, which is strange because most fans are rather die-hard technology lovers.
Murilo Queiroz
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect" is a bizarre, thought-provoking, extreme sci-fi novel about classic Singularity with plenty of controversial subjects (no amount of "trigger warnings" would help here!) and radical ideas about trans-humanism and extropianism.
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Very entertaining, What if? Caroline, the female leading character annoyed me, though I could empathize with her a bit, she just seemed controlling, petty and too stuck in her own ideology she did not feel like much of a critical thinker - so it was kind of hard to feel connected to her, I don't necessarily have to feel connected to a character but it helps when it's the main character- there are some particularly disturbing descriptions of violent sex that I could have done without but the prem ...more
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gruesome, sci-fi, dystopia
This book should have a visible "extreme violence and graphic content" warning.
Not sure why the gore parts had to be that explicit - there are other ways to make the same point. It works fine if you skip over these and read the main story line. An interesting thought experiment, but limited, as it was done as a pure AI exercise.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The paradise is hell. Immortality is death.

This book is absolutely mind opening! Maybe short, but to the point. Read it!
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This novella is the shining example of a work that, well, no one in their right mind would publish. It's a text that comments on the fragile thinking around superintelligence in the same sentence as depictions of violent sexual sadism.

I'm grateful that Roger Williams found the time to publish this online. If nothing else, it shows the one of N ways that weak, ill thought out moral laws are turned to fodder. I was pleasantly surprised by the story -- it's still really interesting after the clima
Muneel Zaidi
This book is not for the causal reader; it takes place in a world where taboo does not exist, moral absolutist should stay away. The themes this book explores are so diverse, the word that comes to mind is "cacophony"; how else would the topics of artificial intelligence, sadomasochism, and Asimov's laws of robotics come together? Surprisingly well. This book is as much science fiction as it is fantasy, and the philosophical questions it brings up will probably need to be addressed at some point ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is another book that justify the hours I spend lurking /r/printSF.

Take a post singularity AI bound by Asimov's laws. Stretch this laws and their correlations to their absolute limit and you get this novel.

It's a bit hard to discuss it much further without spoiling it, but in a synthetic universe where everybody is immortal and can have any wish fulfilled, what are the limits?

Or, even better, what is the point?

This can be read for free in the author's site and I urge you to give it a go
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Diamond-in-the-rough doesn't even begin to describe what this book is. MOPI is the best sci-fi book I have read. Ever. Ever. The idea is not unique; the writing-style flawed; and the plot-line cluttered. But by god this book will take a sledge-hammer to your head and destroy the last vestige of innocence you may have had and open you up to infinite possibilities at the same time.

Holy mother of god this has been a weird day. Started off reading George Eliot and Iris Murdoch, and it had to end wit
Brandon Sergent
Dec 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
It's been a long time, so I can't be specific. I just remember the last chapter went down a delusional Luddite rabbit hole and completely made it impossible for me to recommend the book.

If ever there was a book that needed to be public domain so it could be edited and reshared, this is it.

Remove the last chapter, and the book is 4 stars.
May 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adrienne French
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I finished this fucked up but fascinating short story very quickly for book club. I still don't know how I feel about but I can honestly say it was unlike anything I have ever read before. If you enjoyed Netflix's Love, Death & Robots, you will love this novel. ...more
Cj Jenkins
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so very interesting. I liked the shifting of time, and the logic explored. I loved the characters.

And the ending was really interesting.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Jun 10, 2012 rated it liked it
I stumbled across this online novel last month and didn't read anything about it, but just hopped right in. It is available for free here, although I recommend transferring it to an e-reader device if you can as it is rather long. You can also support the author through Amazon, which offers both a Kindle and paperback edition.

There is a disclaimer at the top that proclaims: "This online novel contains strong language and extreme depictions of acts of sex and violence. Readers who are sensitive t
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Despite everything I read, the concept of artificial intelligence makes me hopeful. The ability of an A.I. to solve every problem we are tackling and to develop itself into a being capable of solving every problem we will ever tackle is alluring. How much strife could be avoided by not only meeting peoples' every need but also their every want? Here we reach something of a paradox, demonstrated spectacularly by this novel. We work towards a day where we solve every problem and never have to work ...more
Evan Wondrasek
Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book was incredibly original, and I'm thankful I discovered it by pure chance. This book wasn't written by a "typical" author - he wrote the story in the 90's, shared it with some friends, and then sat on it for 8 years. It wasn't until an online community coaxed him into publishing it online that the rest of the world finally had a chance to read it.

The story could've been written by Asimov (a good thing) with a touch of The Matrix. In the future, a supercomputer is created that gains cont
Jul 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a short meditation or rumination on the issues of progress and the singularity. There's some handwavey physics to speed things up, and some characters we start to care a bit about after they've been through some rather nasty stuff (at which point, we didn't really care all that much.)
Considering what happens in the book, it's probably just as well that it was done in the order it was, and it does (or should) make you consider the ultimate consequences of an AI (or any person or omni
David Rutter
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Set in a post-singularity failed utopia, this is the story of those who resent the Change that last great Intelligence brought to the universe, what they do to deal with the lack of meaning their lives now hold. Some of them engage in spectacles whereby they brutally and violently murder one another. Some of them just opt out and become Wireheads. The best among them seek a way to tear the whole thing down and return to the World Before. Although the reactions of Prime Intellect don't make sense ...more
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of many stories about the utter failure of an Artificial Intelligence to comprehend simple human ethical paradigms. It is dark and terrifying, but also full of humanity in all its glory.

To be clear, the book is very graphic and vulgar, but I don't find this to be without purpose. In a book about humanity (the essence, not the species) being nearly lost, these deepest, darkest bits of who we are necessarily push to the surface in excruciatingly vivid color.

I found the pacing and nar
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This must be one of the most original stories I've ever read, if not the most. Which is weird, because several of its concepts are well known and far from original, and I've read about them many times. One example would be The Three Laws of Robotics. The story also deals with the old notion of a machine getting more intelligent and/or powerful than its creator, which is kind of a cliché. But Roger Williams does a very good job putting all those pieces together in a really interesting way, along ...more
Amelia Ormston
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of very few books that I've loved & would always love from start to finish in all its glory. It's starts out violent, very violent in fact, as the characters commit alarmingly disturbing acts in the beginning chapters. The plot development, told in alternating point of views & time lines are very interesting & unravel itself with thrilling pace. The violence moves into
questions of what determines an individual as a human to a sentient Artificial Intelligence, how does a near-god AI serve it
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Permutation City (Subjective Cosmology #2)
  • The Last Question
  • Rainbows End
  • Quarantine (Subjective Cosmology #1)
  • Ra
  • Axiomatic
  • Blood Music
  • Hell is the Absence of God
  • Instantiation
  • Avogadro Corp (Singularity #1)
  • I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream
  • They're Made Out of Meat
  • Accelerando
  • Friendship is Optimal
  • Unsong
  • Three Worlds Collide
  • Distress (Subjective Cosmology #3)
  • The Lifecycle of Software Objects
See similar books…
As a child, I tried to figure out how to start with a grain of sand and end up with a working computer. Today, I'm a computer programmer who creates custom systems for heavy industry. Somewhere along the way, I became interested in the question of just how far the human mind can go, assuming a sufficiently advanced technology. Maybe sometimes...a little too far. I am the author of THE METAMORPHOSI ...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
18 likes · 13 comments
“Lawrence felt dreadfully cold. There was a name for this feeling that clouded his judgement and filled him with a panicky sense of self-betrayal. And the name of that feeling was love.” 2 likes
“Prime Intellect was an uncertain god. It had acted because it had to, but if it had been human its hand would be shaking on the controls.” 2 likes
More quotes…