About the author:
Peter Riva has worked for more than thirty years with the leaders in aerospace and space exploration. His daytime job for more than forty years has been as a literary agent. He resides in New York City.
About the book:
All life on earth is about to be terminated by an entity as old as the galaxy itself. To make matters worse, Simon has broken everything already.
In a future world that is run by computer systems and that is without want, how can a man find his role? Then, if the very computers he works on to try to make them more human suddenly try to kill him, revealing a secret so vast that it affects every living soul on the planet, can that man be a hero?
These are the questions that face the stumbling, comic, and certainly flawed Simon Bank. His job is to work with the System’s artificial intelligence, making it fit more perfectly into human society so that it can keep the country running smoothly. But when the System threatens the peaceful world he knows, Simon suddenly must rush to save his own life, as well as the life of everyone on earth. Forced to reassess everything that he thought he knew, he is caught within circumstances way beyond his control.
Simon’s only hope is to rely on intellect and instincts he didn’t know he had, and on new friends, not all of them human, to change himself and all humanity. And he doesn’t have much time.
I love reading fiction written in such a way to provoke deep thoughts about our current reality. Science fiction is a genre well known for advancing conversations on difficult and touchy subjects, and I feel like Peter Riva’s The Path contributes to such discussions.
One of the discussions this book contributes to is that of bridging differences. Although the difference that needs to be bridged by the main character is that between humans and artificial intelligence—something we don’t have to deal with yet—one can easily see the parallels between the evolution of the relationship between the two species and that of any two groups of people who think differently. The best part of it though is that Riva doesn’t turn his book at any point into a lesson or a sermon. Rather, the concepts flow so seamlessly throughout his story that one can also miss the parallels between his fictional world and our real world. While there are some parts that are philosophically heavier, again they add to the story rather than weigh it down, making The Path top-notch inspirational fiction.
Another discussion Peter Riva’s book contributes to is that of governance. Without giving away too much, the world in which the main character lives in is one in which individuals are given a feeling of freedom and happiness because of institutions that control every aspect of their lives for everyone’s own good. Where is the line though between institutional involvement in day-to-day life and individual initiative? And how far should institutions be allowed to go to protect the supposedly utopian society they have created for their citizens? What costs to other societies are acceptable to maintain this status quo? Again, these are questions that surround us in this day and age which Riva approaches in his book in such as way that, should you not be looking for it, you might miss the parallels.
Further to these important topics, Riva’s book is engaging and action-packed. I didn’t find it particularly comic though, as I was expecting after reading the synopsis describing the main protagonist as such. But there were definitely many smile-worthy moments which made this story all the more credible despite it’s futuristic setting. A definite recommend.
Thank you to iReads Book Tours for providing a
copy of this book for me to review!
First published on Sahar’s Blog on 14 April 2016