Limit of Vision

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❰BOOKS❯ ✫ Limit of Vision Author Linda Nagata –
  • Paperback
  • 347 pages
  • Limit of Vision
  • Linda Nagata
  • English
  • 02 October 2019
  • 9780765342119

10 thoughts on “Limit of Vision

  1. says:

    This is the sort of book where it was enjoyable as I was reading it, but I have a feeling that 6 months from now I ll have very few specific memories of it it was a pretty straightforward thriller didn t really leave any deep and indelible marks on my consciousness.A team of scientists is illegally working on a banned project artifically engineered, diatom like lifeforms that form colonies, seem to exhibit intelligence, and can be used as a symbiotic neural implant When one of the scientists drops dead, an investigation reveals the illegal activity.The scientists, who have infected themselves with these LOVs, seem to be unnaturally attached to them but is the appeal the enhanced abilities that the LOVs give them, or is an alien intelligence affecting their minds, seeking to protect itself Only one of the scientists, Virgil, escapes the biological ethics committee, and escapes to a Vietnamese jungle, where he meets up with a down on her luck journalist who gets involved, along with a rich businessman and his collection of street kids, who, with the help of a computer AI, he can form into a tribe cult, as a sociological experiment.Together, this assortment of people withstand an embargo from the outside world, who regard the LOVs as a biohazard Are they Or are they the future of humanity The result is a sort of cross between cyberpunk and alien invasion tale.Unfortunately, the book doesn t resolve a lot of the issues it brings up.Nagata seems to want to compare the bio enhancements of the LOVs with the technological farsights sorta like a PDA, in sunglasses, with an AI assistant on the desktop but there s no real discussion of it, except to show that computer AI s can get out of hand too.The question of whether the LOVs actually make their human symbionts smarter is never answered The infected characters certainly don t act particularly intelligent.Are the LOVs self aware Do they have an agenda What was businessman Nguyen s motive in giving the street kids farsights and hooking them into a network What did happen to the sick kids with LOVs who were airlifted out of the jungle What is the agenda of the AI known as Mother Tiger What will happen next It s all a big and rather unsatisfying setup for a sequel which, as of yet, doesn t seem to exist.

  2. says:

    Limit of Vision imagines a game changing invention of artificial life forms, called LOVs because they re small enough that they exist at the Limit of Vision, tiny sparks of light that organize into neural networks, and where it s possible to implant them in a human to enhance their intelligence and allow them collaborate and share emotions even easily than ideas They re studied only under the strictest conditions to avoid their spread, but part of the research involves forcing an evolutionary process on the LOVs to make them effective but evolution, even forced evolution, doesn t always follow predictable paths Even dangerous, a few people involved in the project have already decided to implant LOVs in themselves When they re discovered, it begins a series of events that lead to the LOVs escaping containment and crashing in an area of Vietnam where those who want to protect them as intelligent, although different, life forms and those who want to destroy them reach an uneasy standoff all while the LOVs continue to evolve.I ve been getting particularly into Nagata s work lately, and although I m not sure this is the best one that I ve read, it is quite possibly the most accessible for newer readers of SF It s a lot simpler than The Bohr Maker or Deception Well, at least, but that doesn t mean it s simplistic It explores question of the rights of intelligence and of humans to determine their own destiny, of the tendency of people to exploit, the role of emotions in intelligence, and of course, plenty of wonder inducing concepts of AI and nanotechnology that seem very plausible One of the most interesting things about the book is that the LOVs aren t the only potentially sentient AI species in play just like in the real world, we often converge towards big developments ideas from multiple directions at once In fact, the interaction between these two elements lead to some of the most compelling bits of the story.In a lot of ways, this book reminds me of Nexus, which was written than a decade later both deal with intelligence enhancing technologies that some people don t want to spread because of the potential chaos, and explore the questions of whether suppressing it does damage than it s worth Both even take place in similar parts of the world Nexus takes place largely in Thailand, and LoV, although one of the character starts there, it largely takes place in nearby Vietnam.As far as flaws I do feel some of the characters weren t quite as fleshed out as I d like they re not exactly two dimensional, but it felt like there was a little something lacking, like they needed a little grounding before we saw how the LOVs were affecting them It wasn t bad enough that it seriously hampered my enjoyment of the book, but it might be what separated a good book from a great book.I was thinking I was going to give this three stars. but it really kicked into high gear with the ending, which leads me to my second problem this is a book that ends just when it starts getting its coolest I wanted Which is possibly the best flaw you could ask for in a book It s not even a cliffhanger ending it could be read as a satisfying, although somewhat open ending conclusion that implies the unresolved issues will work themselves out with a little effort, but there s absolutely room to tell those stories.I think the book, unfortunately, flew under the radar when it released, so maybe a sequel was planned and sales didn t justify it But in the Internet Age, an unjustly overlooked book can always get new attention and hopefully this review will be some small contribution towards that and Nagata herself was recently nominated for a Nebula for her novel The Red First Light, so maybe that ll shine a spotlight on her earlier work The good news is that even in the than a decade since the book s release, nothing about it feels particularly dated It still could exist comfortably in our near future, and I suspect it still could for several years to come So a theoretical sequel therefore wouldn t be stuck in that weird limbo where you re torn between updating the world and keeping true to the original I ll keep my fingers crossed the world decides to give the book another look and Nagata decides she might want to return.

  3. says:

    _Limit of Vision_ by Linda Nagata is an interesting relatively near future science fiction thriller, one that was a little slow going and perhaps even choppy at first, with disparate storylines and at least at first with characters fairly light on detail, but about a quarter of the way into the book became a riveting narrative with a brisk pace, great tension, and a wonderful sense of escalation Though at least one of the main characters remained to me at least not as well formed as I would have liked and I thought the opening was a bit too open ended, revolving some but not all or even most of the story s problems, it was all in all an enjoyable book.What is it about I will try to avoid spoilers, but here goes At first, we have two entirely unconnected storylines The first plotline introduces the reader to two daring young researchers so daring in fact that they are conducting experiments in violation of international law These two men, Randall Panwar and Virgil Copeland, employees of a company called EquaSys based in Honolulu, are illegally experimenting with something called an LOV acronym for limit of vision , a tiny symbiotic synthetic species that is basically comprised of an artificially created neuron called an asterid housed in a transparent silicate shell the shell not only protecting the asterid but also permitting optical communication, as the colonial asterids communicate with pulses of visible light Originally developed to be transplanted onto humans where they would be visible on the host s head generally the forehead as glowing gemlike structures, easily concealed in a person s hair who suffered from unbalanced brain chemistries, the LOVs would help stabilize the neurochemistry and emotions of those that possess them It was found however that the semi sentient LOVs could mutate and produce unwanted results, including deadly ones After a mysterious event which we never learn anything about referred to as the Van Nuys Incident , the LOVs were confined to a low earth orbit research facility called the _Hammer_ so that they could not escape into the environment and possibly pose a threat to people or animals.Unfortunately, Panwar, Virgil, and their friend Gabrielle Villanti illegally removed some LOVs and transplanted them on to their persons Conducting experiments in secret, they are discovered when Gabrielle dies this happens during the first few pages of the book so I am not giving away any big secret here Though I thought it quite remarkable that their bosses did not recognize the LOVs that they implanted on themselves later this is explained away by the fact that Panwar, Virgil, and Gabrielle worked in a very loose administrative environment with fairly minimal supervision , the reader is not given much time to ponder this as their actions set into event a chain of events that includes the public discovery of LOVs on Earth, knowledge of a mutation of an LOV colony on the station to something approaching real sentience, and its escape from the station to avoid destruction.The second plot thread at first seemed to have nothing to do with the one involving the LOVs, Virgil, Panwar, etc The reader meets Elsa Suvanatat, a roving freelance Thai reporter, connected to a distant agent online Else, like nearly everyone else in the setting, uses a sunglasses shaped and sized item of headgear called a farsight, a device that allows one to be online all the time, pull up large amounts of information, make use of a personalized nearly sentient and individually customized computer program called a ROving Silicon Agent or ROSA, and even see in the dark Virtually broke, she comes across a strange story covering a cult like, locally feared group of kids in Vietnam called the Roi Nuoc a Vietnamese name that means Water Puppets The Roi Nuoc are a group of orphans and street kids who are fiercely independent, leery of authority, nonviolent but not exactly working within the law, united by a ROSA that is both motherly and aggressive by the name of Mother Tiger Elsa also meets an another important individual in the book, a Vietnamese man by the name of Ky Xuan Nguyen, a locally influential businessmen who she thinks is either the head of or a head of the Roi Nuoc or possibly one of their members grown into adulthood as apparently all Roi Nuoc members are kids and teens.I don t think I am giving away too much when I say that the escaping LOV colony ends up in Vietnam and the events surrounding it entangle the Roi Nuoc, Elsa, and Ky At this point in the book the separate plot threads unite and the story becomes fast and very interesting.All in all a pretty good book As I mentioned, I don t think all of the story elements were resolved and while it doesn t necessarily beg for a sequel, it did have an unfinished feel to it at the end The LOVs themselves are very interesting and it was fun to read about their evolution I also liked the fact that the book was set in Vietnam, not exactly a common locale for science fiction stories I also like the title, which on one level simply mentioned the subject of the book, the artificial lifeforms, but at another level addressed the main problem of the authorities and the powers that be of the book s setting their limited vision of the potential uses and benefits of the LOVs as well asan appreciation for the LOVs for their own sake.

  4. says:

    I really liked the obvious influence that the author s biology background had on the book and it was engaging from a page turning action point of view What kept it from being a favorite for me was that the LOV stuff was so handwavy in a very magic way, and that the characters never felt very real to me.

  5. says:

    Intense speculative nanohumanism.

  6. says:

    Fascinating vision of a possible future

  7. says:

    When I read it in 2001, I thought it her best yet.

  8. says:

    In the not too near future, nanotechnologist Virgil Copeland and his team are on the frontier of AI development They ve created a near microscopic new species called LOVs, because they exist at the limit of human vision LOVs form a symbiotic link with their human host s brain Because of this link and the potential power LOVs have over their hosts, they have been deemed unsafe and banished to a ship orbiting earth But Virgil s team have rescued some LOVs from their exile, and using themselves as hosts, study the effects The book opens as Virgil s team s misconduct is detected after a team member dies inexplicably Her connection to the LOVs is blamed, and Virgil ends up on the run Meanwhile, the LOVs in orbit, fearing for their survival, separate themselves from the rest of the ship and fall to earth, landing off the Vietnamese coast Ela Suvanatat, a freelance journalist, dives to investigate the crash site, not knowing the political and martial whirlwind her actions will unleash Limit of Vision characterizes the speculative nature of science fiction it not only shows readers an interesting new world, but it asks what if In this case, the question is what if artificial intelligence ceases to be artificial Virgil, Ela, and a cult of Vietnamese youngsters called Roi Nuoc all ask this question, and the answer they come up with is at odds with the rest of the scientific community and the powers that be Stimulating developments ensue.While I can t say I liked this book as much as Memory, I found it just as easy to read and finish It wasn t always riveting, especially in the second half, but the characters and the plight of the LOVs kept me at it until I closed the book with satisfaction I m going to contine reading Linda Nagata.To read of my reviews, visit my blog, StarLit.

  9. says:

    Right off the bat, I m going to complain about the cover art chosen for this book Ridiculous First, it s a spoiler Second, they don t get that big Third, at first glance, it looks like the man poling the boat is fighting off the thing, which it apposite to the story so is misleading.There was a lot to like about this book but also some frustrating aspects It felt like it should have been a much larger book Due to absolutely minimum world building , it was hard to glean the context in which the political and scientific arenas made their decisions There seemed to be a lot of misplaced vehemence among the antagonists One particular aspect which interested me greatly was, I felt, under described And considering how intrinsic it was to the story, this is a shame What exactly did these LOVS do for their hosts It was repeatedly emphasized how much the people liked having them but aside from some rather flat examples, I never got a very good sense of what, exactly, they did for people Even later in the book when interaction with the LOVS was intensified, very few attempts at descriptions were made It s funny although I enjoyed it while I was reading it, I m getting aggravated with the book while trying to review it Nonetheless, this writer has some really good ideas and I will continue to read of her work

  10. says:

    I ve been sitting on this review for a while Not sure what to say about this book The characters are a little murky, their motivations counter productive at best, and the entire thing seems to set up for a sequel that clearly never came But they are sympathetic, and striking, and unique, and even though politically morally i found myself rooting against them, I liked them enough as people to continue to support them.The book is about nanomachines, and trans humanism, and embracing the future where technology and humanity are one Personally I find that future abjectly terrifying, but Nagata manages to present it in a warm way Towards the end, it gets a little plotty it showed us what could be a transformative, striking, unique world and of course it all boils down to some medical executive trying to get rich.But where it stumbles, it shines in pure ambition The future hasn t been treated with this much deft and grace since Clarke s heyday This is where science fiction needs to go to keep up with the future.

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