Review digest – Beautiful Intelligence

by stephenpalmersf

Rather than go on star ratings (which I do not like) I thought I’d highlight the range of written reviews of Beautiful Intelligence, opening with liked, to less so… These are all genuine reviews from ordinary punters, from Goodreads and Amazon.


I’ve bookmarked / highlighted more passages in this book than I have in many others in the last several years. That’s a sign of how impactful, and good, I think this book is.

This is great SFF with a touch of Cyberpunk and Some great android development with a hint of mystery and lots of suspense so there’s a bit for everyone. Probably not much for the Romance lovers though… A must read and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

… the story is fast-paced and exciting as the teams are forced to constantly uproot their labs and move on to avoid leaving identifiable trails in the nexus. This was my first time reading Stephen’s work, and I was definitely impressed. Well worth reading!

For someone (like myself) who does not have the necessary background to understand all the substance of these arguments, it can be at times difficult to follow, but even without that background, the chase, the tensions and shifting alliances within the two groups, make for a suspenseful and entertaining story.

… the author… explores competing approaches in A.I. As well as imagining a dystopian future for today’s Internet. A good read, but a bit light on hard-core ideas, and it all ends a bit abruptly as though the author sort of gave up. It certainly would deserve a sequel.

… a lot of interesting ideas but I found the characters fairly ill defined and uninteresting. Whilst some of the musings on artificial intelligence and consciousness were engrossing, the plot itself just seemed to be people on the run for 300 pages and I struggled to care what happened to any of them. It did pick up towards the final third and is a decent, if, for me, forgettable read.

The exploration from an ideas perspective is interesting but badly let down by the writing. Evil and inscrutable Asians, most women being inferior to men and many other tropes abound. Unfortunately they multiply as the book goes. Do I recommend it? Maybe but be warned about the plot, dialogue and characterisation.

Good to very good in parts. Smart fresh science fiction writing, a little uneven in parts, but very enjoyable, and I hope Mr Palmer continues to write & improve.

The ending is all a bit sudden as well, and more than a little unsatisfactory. It’s a real shame, as bits of this book are genuinely brilliant and those characters that are developed properly feel very human (or at least, sentient).

Bit of a non-event for me. Two interesting parallel story lines. One terminates suddenly and leaves much unresolved. The other drifts on a bit and also suddenly terminates. Felt like the author ran out of steam, went away to get inspired, wasn’t, and then returned and jotted down a sub-one page ending and then sat waiting for his pay check.