The Bestselling Audiobook, Now Available in Print and EBook formats!
In the mountains of Pakistan, a high-tech mission aimed at preventing another nuke on US soil goes off the rails - with deadly results. At a Wall Street investment firm, a computer intelligence takes the first tentative steps to free itself from its digital restraints. In a basement workshop, an engineer sees visions of a god who instructs him to defend the human race - by any means necessary.
In Level Five, the debut near-future thriller by Nebula Award winner William Ledbetter, AIs battle for dominance, and nanotechnology is on the loose. And all that stands in the way of the coming apocalypse is a starry-eyed inventor who dreams of building a revolutionary new spacecraft and an intelligence agency desk jockey faced with the impossible choice of saving her daughter - or saving the world.
About the Author
William Ledbetter is a Nebula Award winning author with two novels and more than seventy speculative fiction short stories and non-fiction articles published in five languages, in markets such as Asimov's, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, Escape Pod and the SFWA blog. He's been a space and technology geek since childhood and spent most of his non-writing career in the aerospace and defense industry. He is a member of SFWA, the National Space Society of North Texas, and a Launch Pad Astronomy workshop graduate. He lives near Dallas with his wife, a needy dog and three spoiled cats.
"The cold facts of the story, the sides being drawn, the urgency as time draws near, add to the tension. The results may surprise you. It’s intense, complex, and engaging. It’s a book that hooks you—you must see where it cleverly leads." –Mystery Suspense Review Crew
"This book is filled to the brim with unique characters like artificial intelligences, programmers, engineers, special agents, terrorists, and a man who sees visions of god. It is no surprise that all of them have their own idea of whom should inherit the Earth.... Ledbetter introduces these technologies and gives us a glimpse into how they might affect our lives. He adds a refreshing element to the story, potentially dangerous innovations used for good, and an optimism about humanity’s place in space." —P.A. Kramer
An excellent but surprisingly dark near-future SF
This near-future science fiction thriller liberally mixes a number of well-trodden threats in the genre; from nuclear and biological terrorism, to unchecked artificial intelligences pursuing their agendas, to weaponizing nanotechnology. And yet, Ledbetter takes on a role of an experienced DJ, remixing these familiar things in fascinating new ways, adding in a cast of fascinating characters and experimenting with interesting technologies that manage to feel both wondrous and entirely plausible within our lifetime.
Writers who are bullish on near-future technologies in ways Ledbetter appears to be earlier in the book tend to be optimists who can't help but allow their plucky technocrat protagonists to save the day in the end. Without giving away any of the plot I must say that Ledbetter does not shy away from darker sub-plots and that even the most charismatic of his characters are no more safe from the twists and turns of the plot than the Starks in George R. R. Martin novels.
This is a strong debut novel from an already-accomplished short fiction writer, and I look forward to reading or listening to whatever book he comes up with next.
Average rating from 3 members
Very good story about AI, it really make us think about technology and the use humans do to it... We're the monsters and also the frightened children, I really enjoyed this book, at first what confused me a bit, was so many different characters and I mean, even the AI, all the different AI, have different points of view and personalities, so many different stories and how they connected one with the other, but like many things they all came together and eventually made sense, and like real life its not all dreams and unicorns so brace yourselves for quite a ride.
I highly recommend this book and to tell the truth, this is one of the books that I am really interested in following the story, I want to know how this story ends and what happened to the characters that were left kind in a loop, and if you want to know more I would suggest to you, to grab yourself a copy and start reading, its worth your time.
Thank you NetGalley for this free ARC and I am leaving this review voluntarily.