Prisoner 721 is legit.
This (short) novel is original and it really works; a philosophical delving into what distinguishes man and machine. I was into this book right off the bat; beginning to end it is a foray that is philosophically engaging but still "makes weight" as a fun, (too) quick summer read. You can read this in one afternoon, or, if you're a baller like me, in the backseat of a Subaru chauffeured by your girlfriends mother!
Human beings popularly regard themselves as the only life forms known to create art, for art's sake. We think of the ability to create interpret & enjoy art as unique to our species skill-set - a benefit unto the cosmos that humanity alone is capable of purveying.
The narrative of Prisoner 721's teacher/student relationship with his "hyper-intelligent" nut and bolts guard pokes some exploratory holes in that intellectual position exposing it as a gestalt that is likely more naive than it first appears. Lowry shows how great a role symbolism and context have in creating and digesting art, and how symbolism can be a programmable [art.lng file created... :)] backbone in the continued evolution of AI from console to connoisseur.
I liked Prisoner 721 for the same reason I like all the works of "science fiction" that I do: the ideas presented to the reader do not seem merely possible but fully prophetic, bordering on genuinely probable. One thing that is constantly at the surface in this book is that the narrator is the artificially intelligent machine, Santa Anna. The protagonist meanwhile is Prisoner 721. This gives the book a bit of a psychological edge because the reader is not "in the mind" of the protagonist. I liked this aspect but wondered if it might not have been doubly good to have the narrator completely outside the interactions of the teacher (P#721) and student (Santa Anna). I thought the warden or administrator could have been great for such a role. Also, I liked the allusion to The Panopticon but was a little disappointed you didn't get to build on that concept more.
Well worth the read my only real complaint is that having ate it I'm hungrier than when I started.
Prisoner 721 is a tasty treat - at $0.00 this book is a phenomenal value! :) Thank you, Señor Lowry...
(review of free book)