The Insanity of Zero

Rated 4.00/5 based on 4 reviews
When an unforeseen event brings about the end of the world, a powerful artificial intelligence is born. More
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About Michael Offutt

Michael Offutt writes speculative fiction books that have science fiction, LGBT, and paranormal elements. His first book, "Slipstream" has received some critical acclaim and was published by Double Dragon in the spring. The sequel, "Oculus" came out in November 2012. He has one brother, no pets, and a few roots that keep his tree of life sufficiently watered. By day, he works for the State of Utah as a Technical Specialist. By night, he watches lots of t.v., writes, draws, and sometimes dreams of chocolate.

Michael Offutt graduated from the University of Idaho in 1994 with a Bachelor's degree in English.

He keeps a blog and would appreciate a visit or two even if all you want to do is say hi.

Learn more about Michael Offutt


James Jenkins reviewed on Feb. 5, 2015

Unmemorable, I finished reading this in the last week and scanning back through the book, does not give me anything good or bad to say about it.
(review of free book)
Colin D. Gray reviewed on Feb. 4, 2014

A very futuristic setting and the internal strife of Z.E.R.O. that is well executed. I liked the liquid life concept. I feel it provides a view on the future of medical science and how it eventually will tempt man to using it despite the cost in lives. Reminded me abit of the movie Out of Time.

Personally I didn't like the direct parallels with the bible. I think this could've been avoided, but it may not be a problem for many people. (6 day work, 7th day rest; prophesy of a child to be born, etc) Hence 4 stars.
Thanks for the free book.
(review of free book)
Callie Leuck reviewed on Oct. 25, 2012

This short story by science-fiction writer Michael Offutt tells a gripping tale of the origin of the artificial intelligence called Z.E.R.O. that plays a critical role in Offutt's science-fiction series A CRISIS OF TWO WORLDS.

This is a quick and fascinating short story that introduces the reader to Offutt's world and his writing style that blends scientific, religious, and mythical elements in a type of gritty sci-fi realism. THE INSANITY OF ZERO is a great short story to read before SLIPSTREAM, the first book of the series.
(review of free book)
Cindy Borgne reviewed on Oct. 12, 2012

An interesting short prequel to Slipstream.

In this is a short story, the reader learns about an artificial intelligence called Z.E.R.O. who restores a world called Avalon after an apocalypse. Later, this A.I ends up merging with a human mind, which causes it to develop a split personality brought out from a fear of dying. The dark part of his personality “Shadow” will do whatever it takes to survive. The world of Avalon turns dark in more than one way.

I enjoyed all the details that go into this world and the history of how it unfolded. I feel it’s a good read before or after reading the novel Slipstream. Readers who love complex and unique world building will especially be interested.
(review of free book)
Donna Hole reviewed on Oct. 8, 2012
(no rating)
This short story is a perfect primer for Michael Offutts’ sci-fi series A Crisis of Two Worlds; in particular, the first novel Slipstream. Mr. Offutt states this short story was originally a prologue cut from the first novel; and I’d have to say this is a rare moment for me as a reader where I feel the prologue would have worked for the novel. This was relevant, but not duplicated, backstory information, and it does introduce the eventual main character.

My only critique would be for the author to put this in third person POV and consistent present tense.

I have read Slipstream, and Z.E.R.O.’s account of his origins – and the fate of the alternate world Avalon – is not a necessary read to enjoy and immerse yourself into the world. The author has excellent world building skills. However, If you’ve read Slipstream this will answer some of the questions that occur to the reader; and if you haven’t read the first novel, it is an enticing introduction to the overall series plot.

The Insanity of Z.E.R.O has great voice, time defying forward progress, a personality that grows and changes with the character’s self awareness, and is a mini-story all in itself.

I highly recommend this short story to those who have read any of A Crisis Of Two Worlds novels, and/or to those who want to be enticed into a world where science fiction and philosophy collide to build a unique world and plot concept. I give this story 5 stars as it stands alone or compliments the series plot building.
(review of free book)
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