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The Fall of Colossus Hardcover – Mar 1974

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (March 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399112820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399112829
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,663,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9c13a450) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c13b30c) out of 5 stars A book even Colossus could have done better Jan. 25 2005
By Rottenberg's rotten book review - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the 22nd century, mankind lives under a semi-benevolent dictatorship under which even individual character is more a matter of machine control than personal choice. Unfortunately, this has less to do with the premise of "Colossus" trilogy (which could have been interesting) than the skills used to write each at least this entry in it. Though a compelling subject, "Fall of Colossus" isn't imaginative enough to raise the tension it suggests. (Fall is the second entry of the trilogy; I never read the first book, and have yet to get into the "Colossus and the Crab".) In "Fall", the supercomputer "Colossus" has been in power for years. Still wielding power over mankind through its hold on man's nuclear weapons, much of the world has settled into an existence not radically different from our own. Nukes aside, Colossus also rules through a repressive quasi-religious cabal, "The Sect", that describes the machine as a god, with Forbin as its prophet. Under the Machine, justice is swift, but also scrupulously honest (the computer is aware that scientists close to running Colossus are also members of the anti-machine "Fellowship", but holds off for want of conclusive proof). Life is strictly regulated, but hardly an Orwellian-style police state. However, there are the ESC's - hidden laboratories in which Colossus precisely and painfully studies the limits of man's emotions by subjecting ordinary men and women to tests of varying degrees of cruelty. The ESC's aside, the machine also picks at the brain of its creator - Father Forbin himself. What the machine is unaware of is the nature of an even more dangerous threat to its existence - Martians. As Colossus submits orders for an even larger extension of itself, Forbin's wife receives messages over the radio - voices claiming to come from Mars offer their help in ending the Machine's reign over mankind. The Martians first enlist Dr. Blake, a key Colossus functionary, and Cleo Forbin - Forbin's wife. When the machine outmaneuvers both Blake and Mrs. Forbin, only Father Forbin himself can complete the Martian plan. However, Forbin has his own sense of loyalty to the machine. When the machine punishes Forbin's wife, that loyalty may be stretched too far.

Unfortunately, "Fall" is a slim book, and nothing therein delves into the baggage created by the concept of the supercomputer. The characters have no depth at all - both Sect and Fellowship have their own greed, with the machine being a convenient focus for them to lash out at each other. Though brilliant, none of the characters privy to the Martians' plan take the time to consider the wisdom of acting on behalf of Mars. Worst of all, the Colossus-ruled world really isn't that scary or different than our own - with corporations using computers to sell us stuff or dictate our future. Not a whole lot of imagination is at work in this skim-worthy tome. The Sect seems entirely useless - being around if only to make themselves unlikable. The Fellowship barely registers at all - seeming composed of only Cleo Forbin & Blake. (Even the names seem wrong - almost randomly chosen.) Worst of all, for a story that pits man against machine, "Fall" lacks any subtext, any of that unquantifiable stream of ideas that separates pristine AI from the flawed natural version.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9da91f3c) out of 5 stars An entertaining sequel to a sci-fi classic April 30 2008
By MarkK - Published on
D. F. Jones's tale of a computer's takeover of the world picks up five years from where his previous novel, Colossus, left off. Having replaced itself with a more advanced system of its own design, Colossus is now established as the unchallenged overlord of humanity. From its sprawling complex on the Isle of Wight, the computer has eliminated poverty and developed naval war games fought between automated battleships as an outlet for aggression. With famine and war now a thing of the past, a growing cult called the Sect worships Colossus as a god. Charles Forbin, the creator of the first Colossus, now serves the computer and is reconciled to his rule, yet a resistance movement called the Fellowship conspires to bring Colossus's reign to an end.

Among the leading members of the Fellowship is Forbin's own wife, Cleo. One morning while taking her son to a secluded beach, she receives a radio transmission from Mars offering to help destroy Colossus. Though skeptical, she contacts Blake, Colossus's Director of Input and the leader of the Fellowship. Together they collect the information requested I the mysterious transmission, but Cleo is arrested by Sect and imprisoned. With nowhere else to turn, Blake uses Cleo's capture to enlist Forbin's help to complete the instructions in the transmission and get the information necessary to destroy Colossus. Yet as Forbin accomplishes his mission, it quickly becomes apparent that Colossus is not the only threat facing humanity . . .

Jones's novel is an enjoyable sequel up to his first book, a minor classic of science fiction. While plagued with some glaring continuity errors, the author compensates for this with his description of Colossus's global management, where peace is tempered by a secret police and people are frequently tested and tortured as part of the computer's effort to understand human emotion. Fans of the original novel will find it an entertaining book, one that fulfills the speculations made at the end of the first book while setting the stage for the concluding volume in the trilogy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fb68ecc) out of 5 stars When An Immovable Object Meets An Irresistible Force Dec 17 2014
By Antinomian - Published on
Format: Hardcover
First off, there are going to probably be spoilers for the first novel, Colossus, of the Colossus series. I'll try to mute them for this novel.

The Fall of Colossus is book 2 of the Colossus series, and was written in 1974. I'm not sure if Dennis Feltham (DF) Jones originally meant to write the super computer concept as a trilogy or followed up after the novel was made into the 1970 movie The Forbin Project and the recognition that followed by I personally enjoyed following the Colossus series through to the end.

So Colossus has basically taken over the world. So how does an author follow up. Attempt to bring about it's fall. Jones does add some twists here that may seem out of the theme of the supercomputer, but in a way it makes sense. If a super computer is tied into everything mankind has done or is doing and is probably capable of doing then there's nothing on this planet that can bring it down. And there is where Jones follows up with a twist in the series. And how does one bring down a super computer? All of these speculations are what is so worthy of the novel even if one doesn't enjoy Jones's style. How does one bring down any totalitarian entity? And particularly a sentient artificial life entity. By finding it's and attacking it's weakness. And what would that weakness be? How to counter an immovable object... by an irresistible force.... or it's equivalent. And that's left to the reader to discover how it could be done in the author's world.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9caf7600) out of 5 stars Kind of a pot boiler May 19 2013
By D. Kittrell - Published on
Verified Purchase
Leaving Colossus in charge at the end of book one was fine. Book two and three really didn't need to be written. Still, I'd buy he set again in e-book form. And it will be interesting to see if Will Smith can pull the set off as a new film. Maybe his writers can come up with a better way of a handling Colossus than just "turning him off and on again".
HASH(0x9bffac30) out of 5 stars Get this book. Even better than the first. Jan. 29 2016
By Richard Melendez - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read reviews of this book saying the first was better. Honestly I could not put this book down and devoured it. There is one thing in it that I found very real and that was the Sect. People using religion to gain power. The Sect reminded me of the Nazis. Some might on the surface see that as incredulous but when you see the use of religion in America to manipulated people and for power it really rings true and realistic. I don't want to give away the book but there are elements of it that are actually credible given that you are talking about a machine that only has understanding of human emotions from textbooks and given imformation. Colossus's insight into human behavior is still limited by his inability to experience emotion. I loved this book. Can't say enough about it. Can't wait to read Colossus and the Crab.

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