Review of First of Their Kind

First of Their Kind (Chronicles of Theren book 1) by C. D. Tavenor


Summary:

What would you do as the first synthetic intelligence?


Thought impossible, but Dr. Wallace Theren has pushed the boundaries of computational science, creating an artificial mind capable of conscious thought. Naturally, his creation faces a harsh world bent on using it, exploiting it, or destroying it. If the first synthetic intelligence is to survive its early years, it'll need friends, but more importantly, it'll need a family.  And together, they'll need to show their enemies they're worth saving... or fearing.   Synthetic intelligence. The story is through their eyes.


Do you enjoy SciFi with robots, androids, virtual worlds, and corporate conspiracies?


First of Their Kind is the first book of the Chronicles of Theren, a centuries-spanning science fiction series that will force readers to question what it truly means to be a person.  It will remind you of the rich, complex, robotic characters of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick, but through a narrative slowly unfolding on a scale closer to that of Dune or The Expanse. But at the heart of First of Their Kind, you will experience the hopes and dreams of the first synthetic intelligences; the first SI. Experience their tale now. Dive into the Chronicles of Theren.

It’s no secret that we develop technology at a rapid pace. From the first cars, to rockets and spaceships, to voice-activated home assistants, humanity moves in leaps and bounds with its technological advancements. But what happens when something is created that very few are prepared for?


First of their Kind takes a deep dive into what humanity and having a soul, or even just a stream of consciousness, means. Do we truly follow the “I think, therefore I am” principle? Or are there limitations to which that statement applies? Do you need to be made of flesh and blood to have a soul? Or does that not matter?


When Test Forty-Three, the first synthetic intelligence, gains consciousness in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Wallace Theren and his team of scientists realize that they must face those questions faster than they imagined. As they confront bias and philosophical questions within their group, mounting pressure and animosity from the rest of the world becomes increasingly targeted at Test Forty-Three, or Theren, as they eventually names themselves.


What follows is an incredible debate about science, philosophy, and spiritualism with Theren and Jill, the second SI created at the Institute, as the focus. I found myself alternating between feeling sympathetic and supportive for the SIs to fearful and shocked at the way they rapidly grasped the world and humanity’s predictable actions to the steps they took in crafting a human-SI future. The best (worst?) part is that Tavenor writes this story in the not-so-distant future with enough facts and believable tidbits that any reader could see the actions in this book happening in the years to come.


C. D. Tavenor demonstrates the depths of his knowledge with each intellectual exchange, scientific advancement, and complex thought about the future. I was thoroughly impressed with the technical information he presented about Theren’s creation and upkeep as well as other sci-fi elements like Virtual and AR conferencing. Tavenor also presents many philosophical debates that scholars have used for years, explaining and expanding upon them in ways to fit the world of First of Their Kind and his narrative. It was educational, thought-provoking, and exciting once the action ramped up.


First of their Kind is a beautiful blend of philosophy and sci-fi with a compelling dangerous element. Is humanity right to reject synthetic intelligence and the dangers it poses to society, or are there ways in which we can enhance all aspects of humanity with synthetically intelligent beings? I’ll certainly be thinking about this book for many years to come!


Learn more about C.D. Tavenor and his other works here: https://www.twodoctorsmedia.com/for-readers/our-books.

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