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Publisher's Summary

HARLIE is the first self-aware intelligence engine. But instead of answers, he has questions—too many questions, and most of his questions have no answers at all.

First published in 1972, When HARLIE Was One was immediately hailed as a groundbreaking debut novel, examining the most fundamental question of all: What does it mean to be human?

Revised by the author in 1988, this expanded edition is available again. Despite all the progress in computer technology since then, When HARLIE Was One still has extraordinary power to touch the human heart.

Nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novel of the Year, its themes of love and discovery are even more important today than when first published.

Listen. Enjoy. Be inspired.

©1972, 1988, 2014 David Gerrold (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a bit of HAL 9000 here

I like when the classic scifi shows up and this was good, though it is perhaps a little dated. But not so much by technology as by all the computer intelligence references in pop culture, e.g. HAL 9000, DATA from pepsi generation, Matrix, etc. What surprised me was not that aspect so much because the story is actually about more than just AI, but that Gerrold rewrote the novel to update it due to tech advances and AI advances etc. and yet didn't incorporate an audio-visual input/speech device for the computer, but still had all communication done via keyboard. This is a minor thing but it does come to mind when you're listening. I also found it interesting that originally this was written AFTER 2001 & HAL 9000 and in a sense almost dated itself from day one.

Now, this being said, it is still a good novel and I like much about it, but it is not a whiz bang story and much more of a thinker posing ?s about what it means to be human as he tries to explain to Harlie various things. So that aspect of it I like very much and the idea of individual personalities and threats against them always affects me.

So while I can't say I loved it like Zanzibar recently, I am glad I got another classic in my head and there is a lot of very good corporate vs. science and humanity stuff that builds up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Computer, human or God

A beautiful performance by the author himself of one of my favorite books. I can be difficult to follow and I admit that it probably won't appeal to the majority of traditional science fiction fans but if you can get through lengthy discussions on the nature of life, reality and what it means to be sentient you will find a surprisingly touching story of a computer named HARLIE learning how to be alive and a man named Auberson learning to appreciate the unique friendship that computer provides.

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An interesting read about fundamental truths

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is an interesting book about what it means to be human. Written many years ago, the story still stands the test of time even if the technology does not. There are plot lines that made perfect sense when it was written that seem implausible today. It's still a great story with brilliant characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

HARLIE was my favorite. Nothing like a wise ass computer.. er.. silicone intelligence.

Which scene was your favorite?

The ending of course.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I've read the book several times and it would have been nice to listen in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

I so wish that a sequel would be written taking into account the advances in technology and social changes that have taken place.