Books by James P. Hogan

Released: May 1, 2005

"For die-hard fans only."
Latest in the Giants' Star series. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"Pleasant but featherweight, and a pretty thin stretch even at this modest length."
In the tradition of Leslie Charteris's Saint and Jack Vance's Magnus Ridolph, etc., two long interconnected stories featuring Kieran "Knight" Thane, a medium-future knight errant who rights wrongs, cons the conmen and swindles the swindlers while bolstering his personal retirement fund: from the author of The Legend That Was Earth (2000), etc. In the first adventure, Kieran arrives on Mars after wandering the solar system and meets up with his longtime friend June Holland. Together they investigate the plight of scientist Leo Sarda; having invented a matter transmitter, Leo successfully transmitted himself, but then somehow was robbed of the five million credits he'd been paid. Leo himself, it emerges, is the only person who could have stolen the money; moreover, he proves to have lost certain recent memories after emerging from the receiving apparatus. The matter transmitter, it seems, actually creates a duplicate of the original; before Leo tested his invention, the original plotted with rival businessmen to cheat the duplicate and his sponsors, and make billions from the deal. Poor Leo's been swindled by himself. In the second adventure, archeologists exploring the Martian desert discover ancient ruins that might prove the existence of a recent civilization on Mars—and confirm a contemporary pre-Egyptian civilization on Earth. Some predatory bigwigs, however, want to develop the site. Just as Knight prepares to grapple with them, the bad guys from the previous escapade show up. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"Intriguing and thoughtful, with an agreeably ironic edge."
Alien-visitation yarn from the author of Cradle of Saturn (1999), etc. When the staid, regimented humanoid Hyadeans arrive on Earth with their advanced science—based on dull practicality, not theory—many Western governments and their rich, powerful backers jump to form alliances with them. Others, particularly in the East, aren't so thrilled, seeing the inevitable economic dislocations and hardships as not worth the exchange. Still, the US signs up, and fixer/arrangers like Roland Cade grow wealthy supplying the notably inartistic and unimaginative aliens with artworks, creative computer programming, and the like. But, meantime, Western society grows ever more Hyadean-like and regimented, with increasing surveillance, intrusions, and prohibitions. A resistance movement, Sovereignty, forms a terrorist wing that sabotages the ever-increasing numbers of Hyadean troops. Eventually even Cade, tricked into contacting his ex-wife, resistance member Marie, realizes what's going on, as does his Hyadean associate Vrel. The Hyadean bigwigs, in need of new, attractive real estate, have made a deal to carve up Earth into huge estates—and they're exterminating the current inhabitants after denouncing them as terrorists. But the Hyadeans, it seems, are also disunited: they have their own separatists, the Querl. Meanwhile, many Hyadeans on Earth are growing aware of the true situation—usually they accept whatever they're told—and the truth disturbs them. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1998

A survey of the current state of computer intelligence research, from a science-fiction writer (The Immortality Option, 1995, etc.) whose novels have often dealt with the subject. Hogan illustrates the possible future of artificial intelligence by sketching several blue-sky scenarios, ranging from a ``smart'' auto that can find its destination without human guidance to self-replicating robots that incorporate design improvements in newer models and thus display a sort of ``evolution.'' He then turns to history to show the foundations of the concept, from mechanistic Aristotelian logic to the Turing Test. But, of course, the major advancements have taken place over the last three decades, with the development of increasingly subtle and versatile programming languages and machines capable of high-speed performance. A benchmark event in this story, at least to the general public, was the defeat of world chess champion Gary Kasparov by Deep Blue, an IBM computer optimized for chess-playing. Hogan examines in some detail the history of chess programs, with sample games from several systems pitted against human masters. Other chapters examine three-dimensional model-building, attempts to understand natural languages, and similar advanced applications of AI research. Hogan takes time to consider the criticisms of such skeptics as Roger Penrose, then calls on his science-fictional predictive credentials to take a look into the possible future of the discipline. There are already plenty of areas where a decent home computer can outperform human experts in a given field, as in number-crunching or database management. Other areas will most likely remain human preserves for many decades to come, although even the most optimistic researchers are cautious about predicting that robots will ever replace the human brain as the primary vehicles for understanding and interpreting the universe. Plentiful diagrams and practical examples give the nontechnical reader an insight into Hogan's often complex arguments, but the computer-literate are the most natural audience for this challenging exploration. Read full book review >
BUG PARK by James P. Hogan
Released: April 1, 1997

Hogan's latest near-future speculation (Realtime Interrupt, 1995, etc.) involves insect-sized miniature machines: Originally developed to assemble true nanomachines, these prove to have other more startling applications. Thanks to its revolutionary interface, Eric Heber's Neurodyne is the industry leader in building tiny machines that can be operated, you-are-there fashion, by linked humans who thus obtain amazing new perspectives: Filing cabinets loom like skyscrapers, and insects—terrifying monsters on this scale—can be observed, hunted, or battled. So 15-year-old Kevin Heber and his buddy, Taki Ohira, have created Bug Park, where they can explore and interact with this peculiar and fascinating world. But then Kevin accidentally learns that his stepmother, the beautiful, ice-cold Vanessa, is planning to sabotage Neurodyne and sell out to rival Microbotics, owned by her secret lover, Martin Payne. With the help of lawyer Michelle Lang and chief engineer Doug Corfe, Kevin directs his machines to invade Payne's lawyer's office in search of evidence to convince the oblivious Eric. But everything goes wrong, Payne and his cohorts are alerted to the threat, and Vanessa as an insect-sized assassin creeps forth to eliminate the unsuspecting Eric. So, with Michelle a captive, and Doug unable to convince the police, can Kevin and Taki's tiny army save the day? Charming and remarkable microengineering and astounding microperspectives, coupled with an old-hat evil-stepmother plot and its predictable complications: Root for the little guys, tolerate the remainder. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 15, 1995

A tepid thriller by Hogan (The Proteus Operation, 1985) that asks, is it live or virtual reality? At the turn of the 21st century, Joe Corrigan, proud Irishman and computer expert extraordinaire, awakes in a hospital with no memory of how he got there. Corrigan had been the head of the Oz Project, a virtual reality program so sophisticated it was nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. But when he asks what happened, the nurses only stare back blankly and answer that he suffered a complete breakdown following the project's collapse. Corrigan accepts this- -and the fact that he can no longer smell anything, and the equally disturbing realization that no one laughs anymore—without question. Nearly 12 years and 100 pages go by, with Corrigan refining his research, before he accidentally punches out a wall in his apartment and watches dumbfounded as it repairs itself, like a video game. Before he can take action, he awakens again to discover that the 12 years he just experienced haven't happened; has reality reset itself? Once Corrigan realizes it's time to wake up, he turns the tables, virtually, on his captors. Predictable, prolonged, and lacking punch, the only emeralds offered in this Oz are the gratuitous Irish jokes Hogan seems to cherish. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1995

The belated sequel to Code of the Lifemaker (1983), Hogan's mildly satirical tale featuring an ecology composed entirely of machines derived from an alien factory that went haywire on Saturn's frigid, smoggy moon, Titan, a million years ago. The advanced, andromorph robot Taloids have constructed a medieval city-state culture. Leading the Earth contact team are talented illusionist Karl Zambendorf and chief scientist Werner Weinerbaum. The latter soon learns how to activate some huge, mysterious, apparently nonfunctional blocks of computer code (the machines' equivalent of DNA), and these prove to be the stored personalities of alien Borijans, who escaped their doomed planet but, because their ship was damaged on the journey, were never reconstituted. Once awake, however, Sarvik, his intelligent computer, GENIUS, and other Borijans prove to be wily, devious, and competitive. They easily persuade the gullible Weinerbaum to grant them access to the Earth uplink. Suddenly, Zambendorf—previously having frustrated an attempt by Earth industrialists to take over Titan's chaotic, evolving factories—and his Taloid allies find themselves in a struggle not only for Titan, but for the Earth itself. A beguiling and diverting yarn—once again, its benignly satirical elements help—that totters towards success despite a plot that grows increasingly more absurd. Read full book review >