Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Book review - Fuzzy

Title: Fuzzy
Author: Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger
Genre: Sci-fi
Similar books: Eager by Helen Fox
                     Scrap City by D. S. Thornton
good fun

Summary(provided by publisher): From the minds of Tom Angleberger, the New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Origami Yoda series, and Paul Dellinger, an adult science-fiction writer, comes a funny middle school story with a memorable robot title character. Reluctant readers and robot lovers in elementary and middle school will enjoy this fast-paced read that shows just how strange a place middle school can be, particularly when the new student is a state-of-the-art robot.
When Max—Maxine Zealster—befriends her new robot classmate Fuzzy, part of Vanguard One Middle School's new Robot Integration Program, she helps him learn everything he needs to know about surviving middle school—the good, the bad, and the really, really, ugly. Little do they know that surviving sixth grade is going to become a true matter of life and death, because Vanguard has an evil presence at its heart: a digital student evaluation system named BARBARA that might be taking its mission to shape the perfect student to extremes!
With a strong female main character who will appeal to all readers, Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger's new novel offers readers a fresh take on robots. Fuzzy will find its place in the emerging category of bestselling books featuring robots, including Jon Scieszka' s Frank Einstein series and James Patterson's House of Robots.

My opinion: I like that this book doesn't moralize too hard. Yes, it shows the perils of artificial intelligence. Or, more accurately, of flawed intelligence. Barbara becomes a danger, to be certain, but this is the result of flawed programming, a bug rather than an inherent danger in A.I. since Fuzzy, endowed with far more capacity for intelligence and self direction, is no real danger at all. It also stress the importance of all kinds of life, the value of intelligence. Even Barbara, clearly dangerous, is not destroyed but re-purposed. The condemnation of standarized testing is a little heavy handed but not to the point of becoming irritating. An entertaining and thought provoking read, it might make a good selection for a middle grade book club.

More information: Fuzzy releases August 16.
Advance Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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