Reviews of Cheap Complex Devices


Here are excerpts from a few reviews. You can find more reviews on the web (try searching “Sundman Cheap Complex Devices” or looking on the Amazon page).

Neil Walsh of the speculative fiction review SFSite said,

This fascinating little book is a fiction in 3 parts: the first two, the “Forward” by Sundman and “Notes on the Source Code” by the Hofstader Competition Committee, set the stage for what follows, by establishing the fiction of the competition for machine-generated prose fiction. “Bees, or the Floating Point Error” is alleged to be the only surviving entry, as explained in the previous sections. The whole work hangs together surprisingly well, and “Bees” is actually an exceedingly clever story, written by a colony of bees that sometimes believes itself to be a human being. Or maybe it was written by a computer. Or a man. All the same thing, really.

A second SFsite review (by Rob Kane) is here.

“Hemos” (also known as Jeff Bates), co-founder of ur-geek siteSlashdot said

Cheap Complex Devices’s backdrop is that of being (supposedly) machine-written. (The foreword and descriptors of the book itself are greatly entertaining. It’s that kind of writing that flows over into Acts.) While the scene may (or may not) have not even the slightest passing resemblance to reality, it’s still something that grips your mind. You believe that the “Hofstader Prize for Machine Written Narrative” could exist. . .

Rusty Foster, founder of the once and future Kuro5hin said

John Sundman’s long-awaited second novel, Cheap Complex Devices is finally finished. It is astonishing, on just about every level a book can be astonishing.. . .
Rather than tell you the story of technology run amok, as Acts of the Apostles does, Cheap Complex Devices runs amok itself, and takes you along for the ride. It is, taken altogether, a piece of writing that in lesser hands would almost certainly have crashed and burned in the most abject depths of pointless self-indulgence. But Sundman somehow walks the razor’s edge perfectly and pulls it off. By the end, I wanted to clap at the sheer breathtaking feat of narrative I had just experienced. . .
Or, to put it another way, if you read one book in the waning days of biological humanity’s monopoly on Earthbound intelligence, better make it this one.

Go read Foster’s entire review. It’s well written, insightful, and it will give you a good idea of whether or not Cheap Complex Devices is likely to be the kind of book you would like.

 Posted by at 7:09 pm