Free Radical

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A fan-made novel drawing from ideas and characters which appeared in the 1994 classic System Shock from Looking Glass games. A cyberpunk story which explores the nature of intelligence and AI.
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Price: Free!

Published: Jan. 18, 2012
Words: 139,920
Language: English
ISBN: 9781465907714
About Shamus Young

Shamus Young is a programmer specializing in old-school graphics techniques. He's the author of the blog Twenty Sided. He's the creator of the webcomics DM of the Rings and Stolen Pixels. He's one of the hosts of the videogame commentary series Spoiler Warning. He's tired of writing about himself in the third person.

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Reviews

Review by: Machiel Bijl, van der on Dec. 30, 2013 : star star star star star
page turner, in the tradition of neuromancer and turing evolved.
Enough IT to make it credible, not too much to make it boring, well written.
(review of free book)

Review by: Max Savenkov on March 17, 2012 : star star star star star
When I tried to play System Shock, I didn't like it at all. It was too dark, monsters were too horrible etc. I hate horror movies and games, and System Shock had too much of that genre.

So, I stayed away from Mr. Young's novel-sized fan-fic of that game for a long time. But after The Witch Watch, I just had to try it.

I liked it. No, I LOVED it. To my surprise, it is written about as professionally as the second book, and it looks much more like a labor of love. Maybe it's because Free Radical is a case of "Write what you know": Shamus is a programmer by trade, and inner workings of a sentient AI are more his thing then Victorian era adventures with magic. Or maybe it's me. Anyway, I found action in this book to be far superior to anything found in Witch Watch, with more details and more suspense. While humor is nearly lacking in here, the story still glued me to the screen of my old, beaten-up PDA.

But the biggest plus I can give, I give thins book for its ending. If you are wondering - it's not the same with the game. Also, it's not what I would expect of most authors. Some may find "happy end" forced, maybe, but I think it is just... Sweet? A bit like GLaDOS redemption in Portal 2. Maybe it's a perversion, but I have a thing for non-murderous AIs who actually like humans. There are so few of them in all works of fiction...

Anyway, give Free Radical a reading. Even if you're not video games fan. It's a VERY good book, only a little spoiled by novice mistakes, like repeating phrases (I think Shamus mentions "remains of some long-burned fire" about 4 or 5 times through the text).
(review of free book)

Review by: Paul Spooner on Jan. 19, 2012 : (no rating)
A flowing narrative through through a surprisingly optimistic cyberpunk future. The grit is still there, but it's smooth grit; Grit composed of perfect tiny marbles; Spheres whispering in the mind. I've read this book twice, and the second time was just as good.
(review of free book)

Review by: Eddie Jones on Jan. 18, 2012 : (no rating)
I haven't read this but I love techno thrillers. Plus it's free.
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