Tiger and the RobotTiger and the Robot
Year: 2017
Author: Grahame Shannon
Length: 250 pages


In this era of smartphones and artificial intelligence (AI), it’s interesting to see a book start to explore the topic of AI without getting too bogged down in the details. With movies like Her (2013) showing just how integrated into our lives an AI personal assistant can be, this book’s approach almost takes the idea from that movie and fuses it with the “mute” AI from Person of Interest. Unfortunately, I felt the AI section of the book distracted by the endless sailing adventures. As someone who lives in a land-locked state, I didn’t understand much of the sailing jargon in this book (especially when it became technical), but I do think this book had some potential.

Despite containing a main character who comes off a bit like a creeper (and thus somewhat unrelatable), one of my main qualms with Tiger and the Robot was the disjointed plot. The first chapter was out of place in the narrative, and the “flashback” chapters felt like forced exposition and weren’t as natural as they could have been with a semi-sentient AI providing these details when they were needed. Of course, my main disappointment with the plot was the “realism” of the logistical challenges. Most of these sequences of events felt like they had to be explained step-by-step (almost in real-time), instead of giving a brief overview of what needed to happen and getting to the action.

While the villain of the plot was incredibly unrealistic, mostly in his motivations (who does that kind of thing after a single snub?), some of the twists were entertaining. That being said, most of the entertainment came from the AI, Saga (pronounced like the video game company). I would have liked a little bit more of a “ramp up” to her investigating skills, especially since the primary case the main character chose to solve made me scratch my head with more questions than answers. Why did they let this practically unknown guy help with a missing person case without asking for any certification? Part of me thinks Saga should ditch the main character and solve crimes on her own in future iterations of the series.

An interesting concept that created more questions than it answered, I give Tiger and the Robot 2.5 stars out of 5.

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