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Renaud, Bernadette.

Victoria, Press Porcepic, c1984. 83pp, paper. $5.95, ISBN 0-88878-230-6. CIP

Grades 8 and up
Reviewed by William F. Benson

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

Bernadette Renaud has attempted an interesting idea, i.e.. the computer as a human, but ended in failure. Possibly this is due to the author's not having read enough science fiction. The idea itself has been carried off very successfully by a number of the world's better science fiction authors. The trick is to balance the humanizing of the computer with the realistic details concerning its design and operation. The author did not handle this well and seemed to have trouble clearly deciding whether she was telling a story or writing a computer description.

The actual computer details she has included in the book, to educate the readers as well as entertain them, include several mistaken ideas. At one point, she has the computer crashing. In all the years I nave worked with them, I have had only one crash on me. Two students knocked it off a table. I have had a number of software programs crash on me, but that is a different story. She has a computer repair person replace items and then tell the inventor there was nothing wrong. It must have been an incredible computer repair person because finding a heat-sensitive flaky chip is a very difficult business.

Combined with the flaws in the details of the story is the problem given the computer, SAMCO, to work on for most of the story, a cure for depression. The author concentrates on this for a depressing length of time. A miraculous cure for cancer, a trip to Mars, any of these would have made for an exciting interesting story. A cure for depression is not on my list.

This is definitely not a must have book for most libraries.

William F. Benson, Alexander Park P.S., Golden, B.C.
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