Published by Dragon Tree Books on September 14th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction
Source: Net Galley
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Synopsis of The Gapcai Effect:
In The Gapcai Effect, Space scientist Toba Antanari, of the interstellar civilization GAPCAI, has always had an obsession with reaching another star that supports humanoid life. After discovering the planet Earth when streaming data begins to return from probes that tracked the life of every human since the year 1637, he eventually learns how to traverse the vast expanse of space.
After evaluating 250 years of historical data on his 800-day journey to the new world, he knows he possesses the means to bring order to a promising but increasingly chaotic civilization with the assistance of his GAPCAI technology. But alas, the implementation of his plans sets off a chain of events he never could have imagined…
“For nearly one thousand years, Toba Antanari pursued the seemingly unattainable goal of eclipsing the speed of light. Though many on his world, GAPCAI, considered him the preeminent scientist of any generation, for the last 300 years of his life he felt like a failure.”
My Opinion of The Gapcai Effect:
I really loved the premise of this book!
What if there is another humanoid race in a distant galaxy that has solved all our problems with A.I. and technology? That is the question that The Gapcai Effect poses for us.
It was a fantastic read because this is something happening now in our own world. A.I. and machine learning is ramping up with AlphaGo beating Lee Sedol in the five match Go match in 2016. AlphaGo was a computer program developed by DeepMind Technologies, now the leading A.I. technology firm that was acquired by Google in 2014. We still have lots to do in the fields of A.I. and machine learning, but the start has already begun in our current time.
“It’s also immediately clear that they possess Artificial Intelligence that is heavily integrated into existence… It’s like an extension of themselves.” – The GAPCAI EFFECT
But imagine if we fast forward another 1000 years in the future on our own planet Earth with A.I. helping to create a utopian world. Then imagine if we were to meet another humanoid species millions of light years away and help them to rid themselves of humankind’s greatest ailments using our more advanced technology and A.I. This is the central premise of this novel and is incredibly exciting to look at what the results of that would be.
I was waiting for something go wrong and boy did things go wrong. Not only on the planet Earth but also on Toba’s own home world.
I loved how at the root of the central conflict was not on the technology side of things, but on something so human-like as jealously over a girl/boy. Despite the curbing of human actions at an external level, bubbling underneath the surface are all the emotional forces of anger, jealously, fear and hatred. The novel spells out that we cannot ever run away from what makes us human. We can only control externally what the possible results might be from that internal emotional roller coaster.
“Even though they’d been distant since his change, he knew she would hear about it, especially about the kiss. He felt guilt coming on, but he rationalized that he hadn’t done anything wrong.” – The GAPCAI EFFECT
I also loved how beneath the perfect uptopian society there was secrets and subtle challenges to the things as they were. Despite the façade of an utopia, humans will always find ways around the so-called rules designed by A.I. and technology to meet their own desires.
The characters are also fascinating, in particular Aulaura, the distinguished reporter who is able to meet the humanoid alien Toba in person and perform the interview of the millennium.
The later stages of the novel supercharge and explores the unexpected consequences of Toba’s experiment on Earth through the characters of Kurt and Sarah Jo. Imagine if the tables are turned upside down, with those people limited in power are given superhuman intelligence and strength? It reminded me of the X-men saga, with mutants coming up against the rest of humanity. But The Gapcai Effect plays that narrative down another path with an interesting ending in stall for you.
The Gapcai Effect manages to play all these narratives together nicely with many characters and side plots merging together to an ultimate showdown in the ending. It was a really great read!
Although this book might be a bit slow at the start, you really need to give a go and read it to the end! The premise plays out in such a great way and keeps the novel grounded in the emotional stories of the main characters.
If you love science fiction or even love reading about great characters, you should give The Gapcai Effect a chance and get it today!
My Rating: 4/5★