Read The Insanity of Zero by Michael Offutt Online


When an unforeseen event brings about the end of the world, a powerful artificial intelligence is born. Its task: save humanity from extinction. To understand those it must rescue, the computer decides to assimilate human emotions. But what happens when an omnipotent computer begins to fear its own death?...

Title : The Insanity of Zero
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781301632503
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 14 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Insanity of Zero Reviews

  • Sarah
    2019-04-20 11:13

    11/08 - I'm not exactly sure how I came across this prequel novella, maybe when I saw it it was free on Smashwords and that stood out. Even now, almost a year since I 'bought' this, I still consider myself pretty new to online/kindle books and am not really willing to pay more than $2 for a book that is nothing more than some 1s and 0s on a hard drive, a book you can't hold in your hands or display in your library, a book that, if your computer crashes, could be lost forever.It's depressing to think that humans could never be trusted with alien technology, and that even as we can see this trait in ourselves, we can't change it. Even on an alternate, mirror-Earth (which hasn't had all of the experiences with corrupted power in all its forms that we have) we cannot help but corrupt it. If there's a new technology we must use it for evil, even if it was originally meant for good, it's like we can't help ourselves. I can't see the attraction in living forever (even as a teenager I wasn't attracted to the vampire life), especially if you are forced to do something so abhorrent as to drain new-born babies of their life-force to rejuvenate yourself.From reading some of the other reviews it looks like most are from people who've already read Offutt's full length novel Slipstream and in reading this, have gone back to learn more about where the characters/plot originated from. I have a different point of view, in that, I'd never heard of Michael Offutt before reading this and so I'm reading The Insanity of Zero with fresh eyes. I had no expectations of what this was about (especially as I had actually forgotten the premise, it is so long since I got it from Smashwords). This was a tantalising taste of what Slipstream will be like and now I want the full meal. I look forward to the full books in the series.

  • Patrick
    2019-04-07 12:30

    This is a good primer for the events in Offutt's novel "Slipstream" and its eventual sequels. It's the story of an apocalyptic event that unleashes ZERO, a sentient machine to care for the damaged alternate-Earth world of Avalon. Like most sentient machines (HAL-9000, SkyNet, the Matrix, Megatron) ZERO finds it difficult to relate to humans. He finally starts to merge his thoughts with some humans, with disastrous consequences.Since it's a short story it moves at a brisk pace, without the typos or other gaffes you see in a lot of self-published fiction. It's recommended reading before you tackle "Slipstream," as it helps ease you into that world. And believe me, there's a lot going on in that book, so some easing in is very beneficial.Plus at least for the moment it's free and only took me about 20 minutes to read. So it's not going to take much time or money to read.That is all.

  • Cindy Borgne
    2019-03-26 08:19

    An interesting short prequel to Slipstream.In this is a short story, the reader learns about an artificial intelligence called Z.E.R.O. who restores a world called Avalon after an apocalypse. Later, this A.I ends up merging with a human mind, which causes it to develop a split personality brought out from a fear of dying. The dark part of his personality “Shadow” will do whatever it takes to survive. The world of Avalon turns dark in more than one way. I enjoyed all the details that go into this world and the history of how it unfolded. I feel it’s a good read before or after reading the novel Slipstream. Readers who love complex and unique world building will especially be interested.

  • Michelle
    2019-03-25 13:19

    This fast-paced, gripping short story introduces Z.E.R.O. an artificial intelligence born of a need to save humanity from extinction.Within this fascinating and complex alternate world, an important factor in the AI understanding of those who need to be rescued, is the merging of human and non-human minds! But it gets even more complicated. When the AI eventually assimilates human emotions and develops a split personality, things spin out of control...I enjoyed this prequel, and I'm looking forward to reading Slipstream, which is the first book of the series.

  • Callie Leuck
    2019-03-31 08:35

    This short story by science-fiction writer Michael Offutt tells a gripping tale of the origin of the artificial intelligence called Z.E.R.O. that plays a critical role in Offutt's science-fiction series A CRISIS OF TWO WORLDS. This is a quick and fascinating short story that introduces the reader to Offutt's world and his writing style that blends scientific, religious, and mythical elements in a type of gritty sci-fi realism. THE INSANITY OF ZERO is a great short story to read before SLIPSTREAM, the first book of the series.

  • Sadie Forsythe
    2019-04-18 09:16

    Interesting religious retelling, but ultimately too short to feel substantial.

  • Jenny
    2019-04-05 06:30

    Very impressed with this short story. Will certainly pick up the full lenth novels soon.

  • Michael Offutt
    2019-03-31 08:36

    A great introduction into the world of "Slipstream." I also think it's a great science fiction story, but I wrote it. :)

  • Julian
    2019-04-12 08:13

    I've been meaning to read Offutt's novels for a while now (nothing like being a broke student and not being able to buy all the books I want :P) and came across this novella while looking at the synopses of Offutt's other books. When I saw it it was free on Smashwords I jumped at the chance to read it and I'm glad I did. If the novella is any indication of how good "Slipstream" and "Oculus" are, then I can't wait to read them.A common problem with novellas or short stories that serve as prequels or interquels of book series is that they are either vague about the setting (because the author prefers to leave those details to the main books) or are just vague about characters in general in a failed attempt at creating interest. In this novella Offutt avoids falling into either trap.After reading this I had a clear picture of the novella's setting, and at the end there was a prophecy that was, as prophecies usually are, vague enough to give me an idea of what "Slipstream" is about without outright spelling it out or spoiling anything.The only problem I really had with the novella was with the main character, Zero. I'll leave it vague to avoid spoilers, but basically my issue is that he doesn't resist the antagonist as much as I would've expected.I understand this is a novella so there simply isn't a lot of space to develop him further, but his lack of resistance does end up making him a somewhat boring character because he appears to only react to what happens around him instead of being an active part of the plot.If you are thinking about reading "Slipstream" or "Oculus" I would certainly advice you to give this a try. It's a great novella on it own and it'll definitively get you excited about what comes after it.

  • Tony Laplume
    2019-03-23 06:11

    For a short story (although it sets up two novels Offutt has since published), "Zero" is insanely (heh) busy. It's full of big ideas, but doesn't give any of them room to breathe. I thought this as I was reading it, and am now fully convinced, that it could have better served Offutt to have released it as an explanation to the books rather than introduction. Because for me, it made me "zero" interested (heh) in reading more. It ultimately makes no sense. Insane indeed.

  • Christine Rains
    2019-04-20 13:07

    An incredibly written speculative fiction piece of an artificial intelligence that has come to save humans from extinction. It's fast-paced and fascinating to watch the AI struggle with its program. Or is it something more? It's thought-provoking and full of wonderful little details.A must read for speculative fiction fans.

  • Cheyenne Blue
    2019-04-06 11:24

    Free Kindle download. It's apparently a prequel to a novel, but I'm not enticed to read the novel after reading this. There were some interesting ideas (liquid life), but the rather humdrum execution of the story didn't draw me in.

  • Jett Cat
    2019-03-26 08:35

    It wasn't what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it. Parallel dimensions, super computer programs manipulated by humans. It was a great short story that I downloaded from Amazon, and it was good enough to send me looking for more!

  • Bish Denham
    2019-03-30 08:31

    I didn't know what to expect and was delightfully surprised. I was totally pulled into the story and was able to somehow identify with a computer generated personality, to feel compassion for him. I also liked Mr. Offutt's writing style. I'll definitely be looking into reading more of his books.

  • Ron
    2019-04-04 10:36

    A very short set up for a subsequent novel.Hardly worth the effort.

  • Ashleigh
    2019-03-30 05:15

    This twisted my mind and made me think - no, made me realise just how messed up we can really be.

  • Devi Nair
    2019-04-12 09:20

    Typical Sci Fi YA about an AI who grows to develop human emotions and it becomes its undoingHardly 10 pages. Super Quick read.