Most recent review on Amazon:
In an artificial intelligence lab in a university in California, Justin Smith is running an experiment in something like synthetic evolution. The initially rudimentary intelligences start with little more than the ability to detect food a small distance away, and the ability to move to get it. In a bit more than 12 hours, a thousand generations of the AI species are born, learn, reproduce and die. Throughout the book, we get tantalizing glimpses of what is going on in this virtual world.
That’s NOT the main story, though. It’s a good enough hook that it kept me reading, and that’s as good as you can get for a minor plot line, so extra bonus points for the tiny tiny people plot.
“In the world outside the mainframe, terrorism has taken a huge turn for the worse, with the availability of ‘lost’ Soviet era nuclear weapons for anyone with money to spend. New York is destroyed in the first scene….
And on the campuses of colleges and universities, everything that is not forbidden is compulsory, or close to it. Under the guise of empowering the disenfranchised, anything that might be regarded as a threat is hunted out and killed. This means that any research which may demonstrate that everybody is not exactly the same is actively persecuted. In the name of diversity, total conformity is required.
Enter…..wait for it……THE NERDS!!!! That’s the thing about people with brains: they tend to use them. And, in the case of a young post-doctoral with little to no awareness of anything outside his lab work, wonderful things can happen. Specifically, he discovers a window into another world. And that makes all the difference.