Hard Wired
Hard Wired
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Annotation: After fifteen-year-old Quinn learns that he is the first fully-aware artificial intelligence, that his entire life is a lie, he feels entirely alone until he bonds with Shea, the real girl behind his virtual crush.
Catalog Number: #211938
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 314 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-681-19037-0
ISBN 13: 978-1-681-19037-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019046007
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Quinn is not the normal 15-year-old he thinks he is. When the research team that created him pulls him out of the virtual construct he thought was the real world vealing that his so-called friends were in fact avatars for grad students, and that his dead father is a very much living scientist inn learns he is in fact the world's first fully self-aware artificial intelligence. Only Shea, the real-world girl behind his virtual crush, seems to recognize the cruelty of the experimentation and scrutiny Quinn is subjected to. With the help of Shea and the semi-sentient, Jeopardy!-winning IBM supercomputer named Watson, Quinn struggles to find his place in a world both fascinated and terrified by him. Morris Award-finalist Vlahos (The Scar Boys, 2014) hits the perfect balance with Quinn, who comes across as simultaneously fully computer rfing the internet in nanoseconds, unable to function in temperatures above freezing d fully human. Hand this one to readers of Jay Kristoff and fans (or soon-to-be fans) of Black Mirror.
Horn Book
Quinn's ordinary life is upended when his father, believed dead, reappears to deliver some unsettling news: Quinn isn't a fifteen-year-old boy at all, but a quantum intelligence living in a computer simulation until the moment he could become self-aware. This is a lot to take in, but given access to the internet, Quinn learns to enjoy flexing his awesome computing power. His creators continue his evolution by placing him in a seven-foot-tall robot body, but Quinn's frustration grows as his requests for greater freedom are met with delays, to the point where he sees no alternative but to sue for his independence. But will the courts agree that Quinn is a person? Vlahos (Morris finalist for The Scar Boys) crafts a sci-fi narrative reminiscent of Peter Dickinson's Eva (rev. 7/89) in the way it questions what it means to be an individual and self-aware. The contradictions of Quinn's existence -- mighty intellect that can be "rebooted" at another's whim; synthesized neural transmitters sending data up the hierarchy of consciousness that nonetheless feel sadness and love -- are housed in an unassuming, very-fifteen-year-old-boy personality that will win readers' empathy. As the plot uses natural developments and misunderstandings to bring out the humanity and pathos of Quinn's predicament, tension swells to an Asimovian finale that earns its catharsis of pity and terror. Anita L. Burkam
Kirkus Reviews
A staggering revelation tumbles a brainy 15-year-old down a digital rabbit hole.Early in this first-person narrative, Quinn cracks the code left behind by his deceased father and discovers he's actually a fully conscious Quantum Intelligence created by an interdisciplinary research team. The past 10 years actually unfolded in 45 minutes. His friends, family, and debilitating medical condition were nothing but invented backstory. Everything he knows is a lie. Once he accesses the internet and begins consuming humanity's collective knowledge, Quinn flips the script: He now knows everything, and all bets are off. Though the prospect of a quantum superintelligence gallivanting across the web before taking the form of a killer metal robot sounds suspect, Vlahos hard-wires his novel to an intimately human core. In these pages, perennial bildungsroman concerns—privacy, love and friendship, freedom, and identity—meld with a blend of romance, thriller, and SF tropes. Alongside a Salinger-esque criticism of the human world's myopic cruelty, one finds probing discussions about the nature of consciousness, the spectacle of American media (astute readers will note a snarky reference to Vlahos' 2017 title, Life in a Fishbowl), and the very construct of human rights. Though characters hail from varied backgrounds, readers must decide whether they find Quinn's repeated comparisons of himself to other oppressed groups provocative or tenuous.Instantly memorable, compulsively readable. (Speculative fiction. 13-18)
Publishers Weekly
Vlahos (Life in a Fishbowl) examines the philosophical implications of creating the first sentient AI, Quinn, programmed as a 15-year-old boy. One morning, geeky high schooler Quinn awakens to find his mother absent but his father, who died years before, sitting on his bed. Quinn-s -dad- proceeds to inform him that Quinn is -a multi-billion-dollar marvel of hardware and software-; what he believed were years of his life had only taken 45 minutes to transpire. Quinn-s -friends- are actually avatars of grad students, but only NYU student Shea, 17, seems sincerely concerned about Quinn-s well-being. As Quinn realizes he has been imprisoned by morally questionable beings, his frustration grows palpable. Granted internet access, Quinn is able to form friendships with Shea, supercomputer Watson, and others-including Nantale, one of a handful of teens who gets to meet Quinn after he is installed in a seven-foot-tall, -killer robot- body. A court case where the ACLU champions Quinn highlights the question of personhood under the law. Readers interested in ethics and issues of AI and the human condition will find this a thought-provoking read. Ages 14-up. (July)-

Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (4/1/20)
Horn Book (8/1/20)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 9-12

YA science fiction at its best. - Jay Kristoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Aurora Cycle and Illuminae A unique and engrossing yarn. - Pierce Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Red Rising Saga From acclaimed Morris finalist Len Vlahos comes a grounded sci-fi story about a boy who's more than human, perfect for fans of Westworld and LIFEL1K3 . Quinn thinks he's a normal fifteen year-old. He plays video games, spends time with his friends, and crushes on a girl named Shea. But a shocking secret brings his entire world crashing down: he's not a boy. He's artificial intelligence. After Quinn wakes up, he sees his world was nothing more than a virtual construct. He's the QUantum INtelligence Project, the first fully-aware A.I. in the world--part of a grand multi-billion-dollar experiment led by the very man he believed to be his dead father. But as Quinn encounters the real world for the first time, his life becomes a nightmare. While the scientists continue to experiment on him, Quinn must come to grips with the truth: his mom and brother don't exist. His friends are all adults who were paid to hang out with him. Even other super computers aren't like him. Quinn finds himself completely alone--until he bonds with Shea, the real girl behind the virtual one. As Quinn explores what it means to truly live, he questions who he can trust. What will it take to win his freedom . . . and where does he belong? Award-winning author Len Vlahos offers a perfect blend of science fiction and contemporary in this unputdownable, high stakes tale that explores big questions about what it means to be human.


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