The Improbable Rise of Singularity Girl, by Bryce Anderson (40:00)

IOD-SingularityGirlToday marks the first book to go the distance, and at the same time, teaches us that even a forty-minute champ can have a blemish or two.

What I gleaned about the story: A scientist’s life is thrown into chaos when a grad student’s suicide is not what it seems, and triggers a singularity breakthrough in AI computing.

Find the book on Amazon.

WTF #1: Very stilted, self-conscious inner dialogue in the opening pages had me rolling my eyes and expecting the worst.

Note: Fortunately, that section was brief, but writers take note: When your reader does not yet regard you as a trusted author, cutesy or hackneyed writing—even if done for a specific purpose, as it was here—can be off-putting. And it’s potentially disastrous when it comes on the first page.

 WTF #2: There was no explanation for what had actually happened to Helen between the freezer incident and wakeup time.

Note: This was explained later, but until that point, I kept flipping back, wondering if I’d missed a page. (Which is doubly hard to do in an ebook. :-)

Kudos: To balance these WTFs, I have to add that once I got past the opening scene, this puppy pulled me in, and it pulled hard. I love the way Anderson has captured the emergence of a cyborg intelligence with wit and charm. Even the structure of the storytelling is spot-on. And let’s not forget all that juicy nerd humor. Do you have any idea how hard it is to read on a treadmill while you’re laughing? Well I didn’t either, but now I do.

ImmerseOrDieBadgeMeta Note:So this marks the first book to pass the challenge, and the first time I’ve been able to bestow the soon-to-be-coveted IOD Survivor Award, shown at right. But it also shows that even a book that makes it to the mythical 40:00 can have WTF moments, and that realization allows me to create a second tier of awesomeness, which necessitates a change in the report card format to accommodate it. Eagle-eyed readers will note that the time reported in the lower left corner of today’s fight card is not in white. From here forward, the timestamp will be color coded to indicate the number of WTFs encountered.

So, if I was a MiniTrue kind of guy, the previous cards would all be modified to have red timestamps, indicating that they had been given 3 WTFs. Singularity Girl is given an orange timestamp, indicating that it received 2 WTFs, and should any book hit forty with only one WTF, its timestamp will be rendered in yellow. The new highest bar of achievement in the ImmerseOrDie challenge is therefore “forty-minutes and clean,” which will be rendered with a green timestamp.

So kudos to Bryce Anderson for getting the first “four-oh-oh-oh.” And now we can all start watching to see if anybody will hit the new peak of forty-and-clean.

Addendum: Upon reading the entire book, I was thoroughly entertained, so The Improbable Rise of Singularity Girl was chosen as one of the 8 books to represent ImmerseOrDie in the first IOD StoryBundle collection.

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