The Pinocchio Chip

Rick Moskovitz

Publisher: Fluke Tale Productions Pages: 142 Price: (paperback) $7.49 ISBN: 9798990163805 Reviewed: May, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

In his intriguing crime drama novella, The Pinocchio Chip, Rick Moskovitz, seeks to answer the question: “What does it mean to be human?” The novella, centered on an advanced AI-powered android, is meant to be the conclusion to the Brink of Life trilogy but functions well as a stand-alone story.

Photina is an advanced AI—artificial intelligence—housed within a body that’s nearly indistinguishable from real humans. Corrine has been her mentor, teacher, and caretaker for 20 years. After Corrine dies of old age, Photina is adrift and unsure of what to do with her existence. Things are chosen for her when she notices a strange addition to her programming, and then a series of visions precede murders. She’s framed for those murders and forced to go on the run, where she crosses paths with other rogue AI and groups eager to use her situation to advance their political goals.

As the heart of the narrative, Photina is characterized with an endearing mix of naïveté and optimism. She’s driven to understand the situation, not to protect herself but to stop others from being hurt, even if it means powering herself down. She misunderstands some aspects of humanity, for example comparing crying to humans leaking from their faces or being confused by “sight for sore eyes,” before realizing it’s a compliment; both reactions are humorous and heartwarming.

The story also contains some fascinating philosophical discussions and intriguing science fiction. Unfortunately, its short length sometimes works against it. For example, Photina’s hallucinations are due to a more advanced clone her creator made, hoping to bridge the gap between humans and AI. When Photina and the clone become entangled in an almost spiritual way, the reason for this, and how Photina and her allies seek to fix it, feels rushed.

Regardless, readers will find this novella, following an endearing android and examining the lines between humans and AI, entertaining and thought provoking.

Also available as an ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Sarasota, Florida
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