The Arks of Andromeda (The Imperium Chronicles Book 1)

The Arks of Andromeda is an interesting view on the cultural interface between humanoid, AI, and religion.

As pirates make increasingly bold forays into civilised space, the aristocracy becomes increasingly concerned with the perception of weakness that those forays build of them. The Emperor, already distracted with his fractious offspring, is trying to discreetly manage a series of public relations disasters caused by his youngest son. However, while the press captures unfortunate cameos of high-placed misbehaviour, AI, ubiquitous in society, is making its own plans – plans that may make the most totalitarian regime look laid-back.

W. H. Mitchell’s science-fiction adventure is an intricate web of politics, alien artifacts, and a post-Earth interstellar civilisation. In places, I found that the sheer number of points of view from which the story was told made my relationship with the characters less engaging than it might otherwise have been, but overall, the story was an interesting read. I enjoyed the thought behind the world-building, the consistency and detail of which supported the storyline and helped to bring continuity to the main plot. I did find that the concept of introducing religion to AI, which are primarily logic-based systems, to be an interesting solution; one I would expect to trigger a wave of absolutist jihad, as doctrine is over-analysed in a search of internal logic. I will be interested to see the development of the author’s theory in future books.

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