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August 31, 2020

Unfettered Journey by Gary F. Bengier ~ a Review

by MK French

An AI developer seeks to create an artificial consciousness and travels to a small college to do so. While there, he finds love and a secret plot, as well as the answers to the fundamental questions regarding the nature of the conscious mind and free will.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Unfettered Journey
September 2020; Chiliagon Press
ebook (516 pages); science fiction  
Joe's journey begins when he decides to delete his digital assistant, who has become something like a virtual girlfriend for him. By becoming a visiting professor at a small college, he gets a chance to speak with all sorts of teachers in the math and sciences and explore the history of AI and the development of the technology they take for granted. It's also the entry for the reader to learn about the differences in the culture of this world. Much of the beginning is Joe discussing philosophy and the nature of wisdom as well. Even his interactions with Evie take on the nature of philosophy, economics and whether classifying the populace by Levels is ethical or not.

Unfettered Journey takes place in the future, so there's a glossary to define slang terms and situations outlined in the book. The hardcover version will have an appendix of the philosophical concerns as well. While there is reasonable assumption for a lot of digital and robotics advancement over the next hundred years, it's a little out there for me to consider hormone and gene therapies individually microdosed for individuals via subcutaneous units successfully being used on an everyday basis by then. We're far behind the tech curve to get that done, as well as having a heads up display directly on the cornea. I was amused to think of colleges of the future still being a hotbed of protests, but less so for two-hundred-year-old events being considered "ancient history" by the text.

Stylistically, having Joe's thoughts embedded as blockquote paragraphs offset from the rest of the type in my ebook was annoying. In spite of that, I did enjoy getting to know Joe and Evie and their struggles to achieve equality between levels and resources, as well as to survive when the powerful see them as a danger to maintaining their control. I found the second half of the book far more engaging than the first, though the philosophical discussions and the slow beginning and networking was important to lay the foundations. People will always be people, no matter what technology is available, but even a rigid future still contains hope and the potential for change.

Buy Unfettered Journey at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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  1. Sounds interesting, though not my usual kind of read. I like the cover--simple, but eye-catching. Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog today.

  2. Sounds like something my hubby would enjoy as he is the sci-fi guy.

  3. This sounds fascinating. I can see trying this one for sure- gonna add it to my list!