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The Phoenix Code

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  360 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Deadly awakening

When robotics expert Megan O’Flannery is offered the chance to direct MindSim’s cutting-edge program to develop a self-aware android, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project is trouble plagued—the third prototype “killed” itself, and the RS-4 is unstable. Megan will descend into MindSim’s underground research lab in the Nevada desert, where she
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 28th 2000 by Spectra (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  360 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Mathew Walls
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: female-authors, ebook
This book reminded me a lot of something by Isaac Asimov, both in style and subject matter; the story would have fit in quite well as part of his positronic robot series. Another similarity is the implausible near-future technology. The book is set in 2021 and mentions holographs, memory cubes, vending robots, hovercars, VR suits, microfusion reactors and computerised nail polish as everyday things, alongside outdated tech like disks and fax machines, and one of the newest and most revolutionary ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: action sci-fi readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Micah Sisk
I don't believe I would have read this book if it hadn't come in a bundle; SF with a Romance angle isn't my normal territory. But I went into it unaware of the plot, the author, or the subject matter, so ...

I had severe doubts about the book early on, as the SF plot set-up seemed cursory at best and the Romance angle quickly became the primary plot mover, unconvincing as that angle was. Now, I'm not opposed to Romance as a genre or romance in a story, but I was a bit taken aback with how insubs
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I got this novella as part of a Story Bundle, and read it in one go on a plane. Another take on the robot-overlords idea, it's quite compelling and suspenseful and the main character is solid enough that the romance doesn't feel too contrived. Slightly predictable but no less enjoyable for it. ...more
Paul Hancock
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: storybundle, ebooks
The Phoenix code tells a story around the invention of the first androids. Asaro explores many of the themes that often surround such stories - humanity, emotions, control, and ethics. I found the writing to be interesting and the story to be captivating. I enjoy a story such as this, that can exist in the hard sci-fi genre, but without the sci-fi being the driving interest. The sci-fi acts as a background for the story, and the only background that makes sense.

The Phoenix code follows the work
John Loyd
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Phoenix Code (2000) 333 pages by Catherine Asaro.

MIT Professor Megan O'Flannery is recruited by MindSim to work on a self-aware android. They've had three failures and the fourth is locking up trying to do something as simple as jumping over a box. Megan is able to make progress but is asking for help on the hardware side. MindSim is able to win the recruiting battle with rival Arizonax and hire Raj Sundaram. Up until his hire Megan had been the sole human stationed at NEV-5. Now the Android
Lizzie Newell
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd read an earlier edition of this story quite a while ago. It's fun to see how much this story has improved.
The ideas about artificial intelligence are interesting and thought provoking while wrapped up in a adventure romance. I particularly enjoyed the dialogue between Megan, a AI programmer, and Ander, the android robot. This story has a few flaws which may not be flaws. The character development tends to be a bit sentimental as is characteristic of Romance. By this I mean it has a lot of em
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-nb
A captivating story about two genius scientists working on an android with sophisticated artificial intelligence that turns rogue in the attempt to evolve and preserve himself. He gets them all in danger, while mysterious evil forces, including possibly other sentient androids, are chasing after them. The description of the development and evolution of the artificial intelligence and of the android body is quite fascinating.
Apr 30, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, romance
My rating system is as follows: 1=enraging and/or abandoned, 2=disappointing, 3=average, 4=good, 5=favorite.
I thought it was a scifi book but it's a romance set in a scifi universe. I've no problem with that, but I had sold myself on a scifi book so it was a bit disappointing to end up with a classic trio with one steamy scene and a HEA.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storybundle
Hormonally driven woman is tasked with training a fledgling Android's AI.

This book was bad. Chick-lit meets Asimov and does both badly. I only finished it because other reviews said the second half got better but it still wasn't worth it.

(view spoiler)
Female scientist in the robotics field gets tapped to create a fully functioning android with help from an eccentric billionaire robotics expert. Not all the science is consistent. The romantic angle is a little underdeveloped. Not a terrible read by any means just pretty average overall.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About three and a half stars. This was part of the Women in Science Fiction bundle. It was a fast and entertaining read. ...more
Oct 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Abandoned, can't cope with the choppy writing style. ...more
Anthony Faber
Mar 06, 2021 rated it liked it
Cyberpunk romance thriller. If you like her, you'll probably like this. ...more
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Robotics expert Megan O'Flannery joins a project to produce artificial intelligence in an android body, and begins making quick strides in making the prototype more intelligent and emotive. Meanwhile, she also becomes close with another expert in the field, the strange but brilliant Raj. But then things start to go wrong as the android develops a fixation for Megan.

The book started okay, but my interested started to wane fast. It was at its best when it had the main character trying to train a c
Joey Hill
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Even though I gave this a two, I give the author full marks for ambitiousness. What didn't work for me was the character development. The science, as well as all the questions/moral issues related to turning an android into a "human", was very thought provoking and detailed. The two human characters themselves just felt very immature and too two-dimensional. I couldn't get past Megan excusing Ander's criminal behavior with constant repetitious "oh my, isn't it amazing he's going through this str ...more
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: augmentation, ai, romance
I don't read a lot of romance but I can see some of the genre conventions in this work. That part of the novel was well done. The story itself and our female protagonist were better than average. The parts of the story that let me down were in the early misbehavior of Ander and the ending section.

I felt like an entire dimension of horror was lacking when Ander started taking over. Several scenes were total terrors but the author never took us there. The protagonist was surreally calm and collect
Jim Fitzgerald
The Phoenix code was a fun read although it was a little bit lightweight. really enjoyed the connection between robotics & human relationships as a future is to kind of story.
I am interested in reading something else by Catherine Asaro to see what her other stories are like. I read the Phoenix code in the Kindle app on my iPhone and was surprised to see the number of small grammatical errors that were in the book. As I read the book I was not aware of who wrote the book but could tell that it wa
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A re-working of a staple inSciFi - an escaped android. Megan is working on the development of an AI android, which subsequently escapes. When she and a colleague are kidnapped by the android, they have to work fast to socialize it. What makes this worthwhile is a nice romantic element to support the plot. Though not very original, it is never-the-less a real page turner with an exciting conclusion. The book made me want to read more from the author.
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
3.5 stars or so. It starts with the issues of AI and safeguards (such as Asimov's Laws of Robotics). There's food for thought there - that part appealed to me the most. Then it transitions first to a sort of mystery (which of these two individuals is lying / dangerous?) then to a sort-of chase / thriller story. As a result, the idea seeds don't get to develop much. That was disappointing to me. However, the adventure part of the book was effective.
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
The Phoenix Code explores humanity and artificial intelligence through the story of a scientist helping to create the first androids. The characters are colorful and compelling, and the depiction of emerging AI is thought-provoking at times. Unfortunately, the writing felt a bit amateurish to me, especially in the opening exposition; the first chapter or two are a little painful to get through. But once the plot gets going, it doesn't let up, and I couldn't put it down. ...more
Laura de Leon
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy, nook

This was another book from the "Women in Science Fiction" story bundle, and I'm very glad that I stumbled across it.

This is something of a coming of age novel, except the one coming of age is an android, one of the first to become self aware. This isn't a smooth journey, and I appreciated the parallels with human adolescence.

The book was thought provoking, but still an interesting, readable story.
Fate's Lady
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I love Asaro, but this was not my favorite of her books. The development and behavior or the AI was really interesting, but the book took a while to get up to pace and once things started to get scary or dangerous, the two main characters took things entirely too much in stride, remaining calm and analytical in a situation that I think most people would find horrifying. It wasn't an awful story, but it wasn't all that memorable. ...more
Apr 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Borderline 2-3 stars.

The Phoenix Code swings back and forth between action techno-thriller and philosophical considerations of a machine mind given human form. For me, it doesn't quite do either of its aspects justice.

This is a minor standalone novel that is enjoyable enough on its own terms; certainly not up with the best of Catherine Asaro’s works.
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
anything dealing with A.I. goes one of two ways, predictable or original. this falls into the prior category. I found the situations fairly predictable and the story a bit slow. the main character wasn't that interesting and I figured out the big reveal long before it happened. also a lot of the techno babble reminded me of some of the worst episodes of star trek. ...more
Anthony Brown
Apr 01, 2016 rated it liked it
As others mentioned, this reads like a modern day Isaac Asimov book - which is no bad thing. The story deals with a humanoid robot and how it learns what it means to be human. The story itself is quite good, but the characters in it are a bit two dimensional and the romance between the two main characters is written in the style of a Mills & Boon romance novel
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: z-bundlů
Two stars are labeled "It's OK", so I'm giving it two stars. The android development didn't feel right to me - sometimes more robotic than I'd expect, sometimes too humanlike (although there were no hormones involved, all the development was done in the brain). As a result, I didn't get immersed much in the whole story. ...more
Apr 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book tries so hard to be serious about artificial intelligence but falls flat. The story is rushed and spends way to much time on an odd love triangle. Don't bother reading this one when Asaro has so many better books.
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thought it was interesting perspective on AI development. I really enjoyed the plot twists, and the satisfying ending. I've read quite a bit of science fiction that involves AI, but not anything quite like this, with Asaro's unique viewpoint. ...more
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The author of more than twenty-five books, Catherine Asaro is acclaimed for her Ruby Dynasty series, which combines adventure, science, romance and fast-paced action. Her novel The Quantum Rose won the Nebula® Award, as did her novella “The Spacetime Pool.” Among her many other distinctions, she is a multiple winner of the AnLab from Analog magazine

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