Klara and the Sun
by Kazuo Ishiguro (Goodreads Author), Sura Siu (Narrator)
I did not love this. The beginning was promising, but I was throughly bored by the mid point and skimmed to the end. Not for me.
Klara is an AI, or rather an AF, an artificial friend. Supposedly she is very intelligent, it‘s being mentioned repeatedly. In reality she was a pretty dull and childlike character without personality. Ok, you say, isn’t that what you would expect from an AI? She had no redeeming features. Granted, she had an uphill battle from the moment she left the shop, to more or less become an automated companion for a child. She had to learn through observation, because her makers did not exactly supply her with many survival skills. Even walking outside was a task fraught with perils. She did not show signs of advanced intelligence or higher reasoning and I did not notice that she learned from her careful observations. She sounded the same throughout the book and did not develop at all. There was no understanding. Was that intended?
The world is a dystopian one, where people can be genetically enhanced and those that choose not to enhance their offspring have started to be relegated to the fringes of society and the children are disadvantaged. Brave New World comes to mind. Something that is not explored much either.
The story telling is flat and just seems to meander along aimlessly. It all seemed pretty lifeless. Maybe this is an interesting read for someone who hasn‘t read any SF dealing with the topic of AIs. It doesn‘t cover any new ground. It doesn‘t even explored the ground it does walk on in a satisfying manner.
The only interesting bit was how Klara saw the world — I think this is based on a computer technology called object detection. Think computer vision and image processing. Again, this wasn‘t explored and led nowhere.
Bottom line, this was boring and lacklustre. Many valid topics were touched upon and then left behind. Luckily I refrained from the temptation to get the hardback and was able to return the audio and get my credit back. The audiobook narration was decent.