A sort of goofy, sort of charming, completely obvious techno-thriller about an artificially intelligent robot sent to Nicaragua, who decides his mission against the Sandinistas is wrong and sides with a village full of colorful campesinos. A secret government military project, Solo, was designed as the perfect weapon. Modeled on a human to allow use of existing equipment, outfitted with massive strength, A.I., and programed with libraries of military information and strategy, Solo is the prototype for the ultimate American soldier. Against the advice of his developer and programer, however, the Army prematurely sends Solo into the field to be tested against a human target. The result: thinking for himself, and weighing the value of human life, Solo refuses to fight but deserts instead. Encountering the village of Las Cruzas, he befriends the peasants and helps them when they're attacked by contras. After the C.I.A. tracks Solo to Las Cruzas, they hold his friends hostage, but Solo outwits the Americans, saves the village, and escapes into the wilds of Nicaragua to study insects and commune with nature. With the exception of Solo himself, the characters here are from central casting--oafish general, arrogant C.I.A., brutish contras, noble peasants, etc. Solo's appealing, though. Mason (the nonfiction Chickenhawk, 1983) aimed for Frankenstein, glanced off Pinocchio, and hit Robocop. Meanwhile, the science is superficial and full of holes, sure to disappoint sf readers familiar with the robot subgenre (though Mason offers a compensatory afterword on A.I.), and the clichÇd plot has few surprises. Still, overall, this is pleasant enough entertainment--fluid and fast-moving with some good details.