12 January 2020

Review: THE PASSENGERS, John Marrs

  • this edition published by Penguin UK 2019
  • ISBN 978-1-78-503888-4
  • 406 pages
  • source: my local library

Synopsis (publisher)

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife - and parents of two - who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

My take
    House of Lords votes unanimously in favour of driverless vehicles on British roads within five years. Ban on non-autonomous vehicles within a decade.
Driverless buses introduced in Australia 2019
Within minutes of beginning their journeys in autonomous driverless vehicles, 8 Passengers notice that the coordinates of their destination have been changed, and a voice tells them that in 2 hours and 30 minutes they will very likely be dead.

Libby Dixon is not in car however. She is beginning the second day of jury duty with a panel that looks at vehicle accidents in which driverless vehicles have been involved. The previous day had made her very angry. The rest of the panel were permanent employees who all knew each other and were all dismissive of any contribution to discussion that Libby tried to make.

The panel uses video footage of accidents to make their decisions. Shortly after they begin on the second day, their video screens are taken over, and begin to show the 8 driverless cars on their way to the undisclosed destination, and a voice, the Hacker, tells they will need to decide who will live.

Video thumbnails from each of the vehicles are displayed on the screens and the Passengers are introduced.

An engrossing read.  Related to the role of Artificial Intelligence in our technologies. But also related to reality TV and the technologies like Twitter and Instagram that we use to assess public opinion.

There were several reference to the underlying theme of Marrs' earlier novel 4.6, THE ONE (that was the one about matching DNA) but that doesn't spoil the possibility of reading THE PASSENGERS as a stand-alone

My rating: 4.8

I've also read
4.6, THE ONE 

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin