Prison of Souls, by Xander Gray: A Review

Prison of SoulsStephen Hawking, Ray Kurzweil, Randal Koene: all these scientists believe, to differing degrees, that it may (or will) be possible to upload the human mind to a computer. And what then?

One answer – one terrifying and convincing answer – to that question is the central premise of Xander Gray’s complex and intricate science-fiction novel Prison of Souls. Based on cutting-edge actual and theoretical research in quantum physics and mind uploading, Prison of Souls challenged me to believe the science and its implications, and yet at the same time proposed a logical and frightening outcome. This duality – fitting for a novel based on quantum research – kept me turning pages long after I should have put the book down and gone to sleep.

Prison of Souls received top rankings in all the categories I use to review books. Gray writes very well: his prose flows naturally, and his skill in describing everyday scenes, and contrasting them with the unreality of what is happening to the protagonist adds to the sense that what is real in this book is fractured and fluid, not conforming to commonly accepted versions of reality, like the particle/wave duality of light.

If I have one reservation about Prison of Souls, it is that the science is complex and difficult, but Gray uses dialogue to explain it in ways that make it reasonably comprehensible. The moral questions raised in Prison of Souls are real ones, and if Koene and Kurzweil are right in their belief that the uploading of human minds to computer networks will occur in the lifetimes of those who are now under fifty, then they are moral questions for which we currently have no answers, and have barely begun to consider.

I’m giving Prison of Souls five stars; it’s an outstanding debut novel. Available from Amazon.

The author provided me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. The opinions stated here are mine alone.

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