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posted: 5/16/2014 5:45 AM

'Kraken Project' is compelling thriller

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  • Douglas Preston goes solo for his science thriller "The Kraken Project."

    Douglas Preston goes solo for his science thriller "The Kraken Project."

By Jeff Ayers, Associated Press

Douglas Preston, who co-writes the Pendergast novels with Lincoln Child, goes solo with his cutting-edge science thriller "The Kraken Project."

Kraken Mare is the name of a large sea discovered on Saturn's moon, Titan, and Preston uses a potential NASA mission to investigate it as the launching point for his compelling thriller.

NASA scientist Melissa Shepherd is the engineer responsible for creating artificial intelligence software that will run the probe while on the surface of Titan. The communication lag time between the probe and Earth is significant, and the probe must be able to quickly adapt in a potentially hostile environment. Melissa hopes that Dorothy, her artificial intelligence creation, will be able to do the job.

When the time comes to test the probe and run it through a simulation similar to the environment waiting on the alien world, Dorothy panics. Several scientists are killed, and Dorothy flees into the world of the Internet. What Dorothy finds terrifies her ever-increasing mind, and she determines that humans are horrible creatures and must be extinguished.

Melissa teams up with CIA operative Wyman Ford to rescue Dorothy, but there are people who want to capture her for their own purposes.

Preston has written his best solo novel to date, and readers will be discussing the ramifications of artificial intelligence and its potential impact.

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