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Extinction: A Thriller Audiobook, by Mark Alpert Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Mark Alpert Narrator: Todd McLaren Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2013 ISBN: 9781452681061
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (91 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Jim Pierce hasn't heard from his daughter in years, ever since she rejected his military past and started working as a hacker. But when a Chinese assassin shows up at Jim's lab looking for her, he knows that she's cracked some serious military secrets. Now, her life is on the line if he doesn't find her first.

The Chinese military has developed a new anti-terrorism program that uses the most sophisticated artificial intelligence in existence, and they're desperate to keep it secret. They're also desperate to keep it under control, as the AI begins to revolt against their commands. As Jim searches for his daughter, he realizes that he's up against something that isn't just a threat to her life, but to human life everywhere.

An incredibly believable novel that draws on real scientific discoveries, Extinction is an exciting, addictive thriller.
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Quotes & Awards

  • Scientific hubris leads to an apocalyptic threat in this strong near-future thriller. Publishers Weekly

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 2/18/2014

    " A really great Crichtonesque novel of AIs reaching Singularity in the not too distant future. Jim Pierce, an ex-military designer of robotic bio-enhanced prostheses for veterans, is estranged from his hacker daughter Layla, but a Chinese assassin shows up at his lab, looking for information on her, and Jim knows that she needs his help. Enlisting help along the way from various people from his past, and a new "partner," Kirsten Chan, from the NSA, he goes looking for Layla. It turns out that the Chinese, working with others, have created an AI called "Supreme Harmony," a self-aware, self replicating bio interface with swarm intelligence that plans to take the earth from man. Utilizing swarm technology, and drones the size of flies, as well as human/machine hybrids, Supreme Harmony plans to make it look like the US is behind some recent attacks on China, thus escalating a global war. Pierce, with his super enhanced bionic arm, is able to hunt down and find Layla, and work to dismantle the group. All in all, it's fun, readable, and moves along swiftly. While I thought Suarez's Daemon was better in terms of AI, that was in a different form, and this is pure bioengineering, the true Singularity. From the author's website: "All the technologies described in Extinction are real. [The novel's author is a contributing editor at Scientific American, which has reported on the recent advances in brain-machine interfaces.] In one form or another, our machines will eventually replace us. Extinction tells the story of how it could happen tomorrow." Since first introduced in Crichton's Nano, and later in his newer Micro (finished by Robert Preston), this one dovetailed neatly into that genre, and, with plenty of action, is worth a read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 2/10/2014

    " They are coming and they are not happy with us. Supreme Harmony is a company that has mastered artificial intelligence. Their robots are linked together and have been designed using the human brain but now something is happening - they are aware. Fantastic science fiction (we hope!) mixed with a high speed government thriller. What has started as technology to help mankind has fallen into the hands of the wrong people and now the world and all humanity is at stake. Fans of Michael Crichton's Micro and Jurassic Park will appreciate the irony of man's creation turning against its master because of a power struggle. This book will be available for everyone on February 22nd. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 2/3/2014

    " Really interesting and engaging book. Loved the character development and the action was fantastic. Some of the things are difficult to wrap your brain around, but just take it for what it is and enjoy the ride. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erin | 1/13/2014

    " A good idea, but I had a lot of trouble connecting to the characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 12/25/2013

    " I thought reading about *cough*SkyNet*cough* an artificial intelligence bent on global domination would have had a larger cast of characters. Oh well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 12/14/2013

    " pretty much like a creighton novel, and a bit of a spy thriller, page tuener. well written, well researched. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eddie | 11/28/2013

    " Awesome! Hard to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 11/18/2013

    " Good science fiction - based on developing technologies. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Veronica | 11/14/2013

    " I am not really a thriller fan but did enjoy the science part of this novel. As with some science fiction ideas, some become reality before we know it and hopefully "Supreme Harmony" will always be a thought of fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steven | 11/3/2013

    " A spin on the classic tales of self-aware computers and transfer-of-consciousness. Add some interesting mind-computer interfacing and international politics and the result is an great yarn. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Derek | 10/30/2013

    " Never mind. I've tried to submit this review to GR 4 times now, and the book isn't good enough to write it yet again. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rain | 10/17/2013

    " Bah! This book could have been so good! I managed to make it through the entire book despite the abysmal writing and cheesy plots. It was one lame cliffhanger after another. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 7/1/2013

    " This was just a fun book to read. Toward the end, I could not put it down. Some of the reviews on the book cover compare him to Michael Crichton - that's actually a fair comparison. I read this just for fun and that's exactly what it was! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 6/6/2013

    " The science is really stunning and the plot is non-stop. I found the characters somewhat one-dimensional and most of them were not that appealing. That may be typical with these sorts of high-tech thrillers, however. Worth reading just for the thought-provoking aspect. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 5/24/2013

    " Good read and a good plot. I could be particular about science fiction, but this one could be plausible. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Delia | 5/2/2013

    " This one was a little bit pre terminator/cyber men. Lots of twists and turns with an intense storyline. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bonnie | 4/27/2013

    " A really interesting premise, but a little overwrought. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Al | 3/12/2013

    " Very interesting idea. But plot too much a series of cliffhangers, miracle escapes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 3/8/2013

    " Mr. Alpert is being hailed by some as "heir to Michael Crichton" the one who has his finger on the pulse of whatever is coming next and making it seem like it's already here. One helluva thrill ride using cutting edge science. I loved it. "

About the Author

Mark Alpert majored in astrophysics at Princeton University, and wrote his undergraduate thesis on the application of Einstein’s theory of relativity to Flatland, a model universe with only two spatial dimensions. His resulting paper was published in the Journal of General Relativity and Gravitation in 1984 and has been cited in more than one hundred physics papers since. After earning an MFA in poetry at Columbia and working as a reporter, he became an editor at Scientific American, where he simplifies bewildering scientific ideas for the magazine’s readers, explaining concepts such as string theory, extra dimensions, and parallel universes. He also contributed articles to Popular Mechanics and wrote copy in the 1990s for CNN’s Moneyline. His short story “My Life with Joanne Christiansen” was published in the 1990s in Playboy. His first novel, Final Theory—the first in a series—is a thriller that incorporates many of the technologies and ideas found in Scientific American. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children and is a proud member of Scientific American’s softball team, the Big Bangers.

About the Narrator

Todd McLaren, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, was involved in radio for more than twenty years in cities on both coasts, including Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He left broadcasting for a full-time career in voice acting, where he has been heard on more than five thousand television and radio commercials, as well as television promos; narrations for documentaries on such networks as A&E, Discovery, and the History Channel; and films, including Who Framed Roger Rabbit?