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Publisher's Summary

In the near future, a signal is detected coming from the Alpha Centauri system. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for ten years. Heather Davis, a professor in the University of Toronto psychology department, has devoted her career to deciphering the message. Her estranged husband, Kyle, is working on the development of artificial intelligence systems and new computer technology utilizing quantum effects to produce a near-infinite number of calculations simultaneously.
When Heather achieves a breakthrough, the message reveals a startling new technology that rips the barriers of space and time, holding the promise of a new stage of human evolution. In concert with Kyle's discoveries of the nature of consciousness, the key to limitless exploration - or the end of the human race - appears close at hand.Sawyer has created a gripping thriller, a pulse-pounding tour of the farthest reaches of technology. Factoring Humanity is a 1999 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel.
©2003 Robert J. Sawyer (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"[T]his is exciting, readable science fiction that will take you where no one has gone before - and you'll never forget the ending." ( review)
"An intelligent and absorbing double-stranded narrative." ( Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 07-08-13

Being Self-aware and being Selfish go Hand in Hand

Sawyer has the third eye when it comes to science fiction, controversial subjects, aliens or first encounters. He has several books out on first encounters and they are all different and good. He also likes to step out and discuss controversial matters. Many Sci-Fi authors stay with the norm by putting down God and those who believe, jumping on the Global Warming band wagon or just whatever is the latest end of the world, man hating theme. In this book he does the politically incorrect thing and shows the side of the falsely accused man and how that will ruin his life, even if proven innocent.

I knew exactly what RS was talking about when it comes to the third eye, in some things I have it and some I don't and wish I did. I liked the Over Mind and the way he described it. Mostly, I liked the controversial subject matter (Sexual Molestation, having false memories and planting false memories and the harm done by counselors).

I don't know much about counselors, therapists or psychiatrists, but I have family members who have been to counselors. It seems that counselors are the cheapest and less trained of the group. Most people who need this type of help are not well off financially, so end up going to counselors. They seem to know just enough to be dangerous and actually make matters worse. I honestly think there should be a law against them and people should be made aware of the damage they can cause. It is also weird that most of the people I know who want to go in this line of work are the people who are the most screwed up themselves.

This was one of my least favorites by Sawyer, but I am comparing Sawyer to Sawyer. Some of the science was a little over my head (not a hard thing to accomplish) and I have a hard time picturing spatial, extra dimension type stuff and there was a lot more of that in the book then I cared for. He also attempted to be a John Scalzi and crack some jokes, but only Leonard, Wolowitz and Sheldon would have laughed at them, I think. This was not bad, Sawyer has never written a bad book, but Illegal Alien, Calculating God and Flash Forward are better.

The narrator did a professional job.

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13 of 14 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Michael G Kurilla on 05-28-12

Novel alien first contact

Sawyer has crafted a novel twist on a first contact theme. This near future tale has earth receiving for the past 10 years, alien messages (one every 30 hours). Beyond the initial set that contained formulas for chemicals, the remainder have been inscrutable.Our main characters are estranged husband and wife professors focused on quantum computing and psychology, respectively. The wife has been engaged with a world wide effort to decipher the messages and makes the seminal breakthrough after the messages mysteriously stop. While all of this is occurring, the couple is also dealing with accusations of sexual molestation by their only living daughter. What follows as a result of her "cracking" the alien messages would delight Freud and Jung, but at the same time will render her profession obsolete.

Conceptually, this work is ambitious and quite engrossing. Sawyer has identified a novel mechanism for an alien encounter that does not involve either warlike aggression on the part of the aliens, nor engender an equally militaristic defensive posture on the part of earth. Some of the actions of characters are downright petty when the full power of the alien message/gift is made clear, but then Sawyer keeps the focus on the individual. At the same time, Sawyer also glosses over the ramifications of alterations in societal organization as a result as well.

The narration is solid and inviting with a more than adequate range to handle the diversity of characters. Overall, this is well suited for a beach listen or transcontinental flight.

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14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Donna on 10-06-12

The Most Thought Provoking Book I've Read in Ages

Wow, what a truly brilliant read. This book really had me thinking, what with quantum mechanics, parallel universes, mind reading, artificial intelligence and first contact with aliens it covered so much and was a total page turner. Robert J Sawyer is a truly fantastic writer, but in this book he really is outstanding. Probably ranks as one of my favourite reads of all times.

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